Commands Without Speaking

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 10:11pm PST 
I can give my dog commands without speaking. I use body language and hand signals. She picked this ability up quickly, as if it comes naturally to her. Her breed may have a bit to do with it. She is Boarder Collie / Australian Cattle Dog.

Is anyone else able to use body language or hand signals with their dog?

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 10:34pm PST 
I owned a deaf Dane who I trained using a modified version of ASL, gestures, expressions and postures.
Sabi knows hand signs, as well as several gestures, whistles and sounds.
Bud works better with hand signs.
And Mori is picking up hand signs by watching the others.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 11:22pm PST 
My dog is trained to hand signal as well as commands (English and German).


too old to eat- any more KD
Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 1:29am PST 
I think all dogs read our body language and do quite well with hand signals. McConnell, in The Other End of the Leash, writes about using body language to save some dogs on a busy freeway. So it's not really something they "pick up," but more that we become more aware of our own body language. After all..it is us humans who love to hear ourselves speak. smile
All my dogs know signs for basic commands. Non-dog people seem to be quite impressed by it, but to me....it's an expectation.
Alva BH

I ordered the- best dog for me- & got her
Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 3:11am PST 
There are very few voice commands I have no hand signal equivalents. Alva can come to me, heel, bark, sit, lie down, stand up, spin, weave my legs, stand on her hind legs, limp, and roll on hand signals. Late Netta knew all these (except limp) and also "be shot", bow, crawl, and jump. The signals are actually what is left when I lured her to do these tricks while I taught them to her. When I fade a lure I don't do it completely but modify my hand movement into a hand signal. Then I connect it with a voice command and finally I remove the hand so that she also understands the command alone.

Alva also lies down when I pull a poop bag from my pocket. I taught her to do so.

I've read that it is more natural for the dog to understand body movements as commands than voice and thus hand signals would be easier for the dog.

I was once surprised how well a dog responds to my hands. I do not have a sign for retrieve. I was trying to get Alva to take my father's shoes for him. My mom didn't like the idea. I shut my mouth but instead I pointed at his shoes. Alva went and picked one up and then I pointed at the direction of their bedroom where my father was sitting at their computer. Alva took the shoe to him! That was not taught to her. Then she returned and repeated the same with the other shoe when I pointed it. All without a word!
Okami- Amaterasu

I shalst- pluck-eth ze- toy...
Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 8:45am PST 
Whenever I train a dog I always start with hand signals first, spoken commands come later after they have the command spot on every time.

I don't know why, this is just something I have always naturally done with dogs. Perhaps it's the way I train, but any dogs I've trained always seem to respond more quickly to the hand signals than to spoken words. And paired together just gets their attention even faster and more in focus.

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 9:20am PST 
With Sophie I think it's that we have a very strong connection to each other, she is never more than a few feet from me ever, unless hubby has her in his lap and is sharing snacks...and even then. She watches me constantly so without words or even gestures she knows to jump in the car or go with me wherever I'm walking.little angel
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 9:38am PST 
I think the hand signals/body language cues are easier for dogs too . ... . Gus doesn't really have "down" a lot of the words (which I've been sort of lazy to reinforce) without the accompanying signals.

It makes sense to me that for a lot of dogs since we spend so much time chattering away at them, they probably hear a lot of "blah, blah, blah . ..... " and depend on our accompanying body language (which is more natural for them to pay attention to) to make sense of what we mean.

Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 10:20am PST 
One of my favourite trainers in my area always does an exercise in the first class that pertains to this.

She has the owners turn their back to the dog and say the word "Sit" (assuming the dog knows the command).
When the dog doesn't sit, the trainer asks the owner to turn around and get the dog to sit how they normally would.

Dogs tend to respond more to our body language than our verbal language. Of course you can train with strictly voice commands as well, but it tends to start as a combination of both.

Cricket is adorable by the way smile I love the herding breeds and mixes

Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 12:32pm PST 
All my dogs respond mostly to hand signals, pointing, or looks as well as vocal commands. Now I wish I did know the proper OB hand signals -- can someone point me to a chart -- I would love to train Rolo with them. Poor Rolo thinks that every vocal signal in the house is meant for him.

Of course, with his blind eye, I have to be careful that he can see the hand signal, but so far we have had no problems. My favorite is "closer" where from a sit, he scoots his butt closer and closer to me, until he is right next to my leg from about 4 feet away.
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