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The Top 8 Hand Signals To Teach Your Dog

Handy Hand Signals: The Best Ones to Teach Your Dog and Yourself

Knowing which hand signals to teach your dog is a  handy way (I had to) to help you improve your communication with your pooch both in and out of training. Giving commands coupled with a hand signal can help your dog more easily grasp what you want him to do by giving him both an auditory and visual cue. These hand signals for dogs are the most useful for training and for using that training.


These 8 hand signals to teach your dog can help you better train your pooch and control him when you need to. Using these signals, you’ll be able to train your dog faster and better and get better results when you use those commands in real world situations.


#1 Open Hand Down

This is the hand signal you commonly see coupled with the sit command. As you say, “sit” move your hand towards the floor palm down. This natural movement is picked up on by the dog quickly and easily.

#2 Finger Point

The finger point is an excellent hand signal to use in conjunction with commands like “kennel” or “mat”. It’s also useful for agility training.


#3 Thumbs Up

Just like with people, this hand signal, in conjunction with a click or treat, lets your dog know he did a good job.

#4 Finger Point Down

Another of the common hand signals fro dogs, finger pointing down is used to give a visual cue to the “lie down” command. It’s also an easy to pick up signal for your dog.

#5 Palm out hand

Putting your hand out, palm forward is an excellent visual cue to pair with a command like “off”, “stop”, or “freeze”. Just remember, you can only use it with ONE command. Otherwise, you’ll just confuse your dog.


#6 Time Out

The classic time out signal used in sports makes an excellent visual cue for your dog for commands like “leave it”, “drop”, or “quiet”. Although usually only used for deaf dogs, there’s no reason your hearing dog can’t have a nice visual cue for these commands. A bonus is that it is obviously different from other hand signals for dogs.

#7 Hand Out

This hand signal is commonly used for the “shake” command. However, it can also be used for commands like “come”.

#8 Two Fingers Pointed at your eyes

This is an excellent addition to hand signals for dogs to get your pooch to watch you. This can help signal to your dog that you want his eyes on you.

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