Just Dogs With Sherri: "Signals" Written By: Sherri Regalbuto
I remember way back in the
beginning, standing on the
sidelines watching a guy work
his dogs in the obedience ring. He was way up there as far as
levels go and there was no
speaking going on. "Cool," I
thought to myself, "how cool is
that?" He went through his
paces, silently motioning to his
dog. His dog understood
everything and it was poetry in
motion. I was spellbound. Little did I know it at the
time, but teaching a dog hand
signals is very easy. The part
that is not so easy is
attention; of course your dog
must be watching you to "get"
the signals right?
Watching is the key and one that
dogs are far more equipped than
us to perform. It's what they
do, how they communicate is
through body language and to
communicate in this way one must
watch. We humans do a lot of
babbling, often we aren't even
looking at one another when we
speak. But dogs are always
watching us, I love watching
dogs watch humans.
and My Gang
About Sherri Regalbuto:
Hi and welcome. These are
the three dogs that I share my
life with. Left to right;
Tilley 13 years old, Jessie 14
years old and Luke 9.5
years old. My life revolves
around dogs; all dogs whether
I'm training, shooting or just
relaxing I can mostly be found
around the canine species.
Visit Sherri's Blog: "Just
Dogs With Sherri" for
more great blog articles! We are
so excited to have Sherri
Regalbuto as a part of the I
Love My Dog Team. She is so
talented and it shows in her
writing & passion for dogs.
*Did you miss Sherri's
The other day I was walking behind a woman st the
park with three toy poodles, they were adorable.
One of the dogs was constantly seeking eye contact
which she was not getting. Her owner was busy
talking to a friend but the little one never gave up
and as they left the park she was still trying to
connect with her owner.
Teaching hand signals is most easily done by
luring. Ever see the Frisbee dogs, how every
they are about to get a toss they run around their
owner with a simple sweep of their owners hand? A
Frisbee in the hand motioning around your back and
then quickly throwing as the dog comes around
accomplishes this. A sit is taught almost
immediately by luring food from the dogs nose up
over their head. They quickly respond to this hand
motion by sitting. Same with down, as the dog is in
a sit lure your dog to the floor by bringing the
food from above their head to the floor. This hand
motion soon becomes the signal to "down."
Sometimes a behavior has a very common hand signal,
sit is a swoop, down a motioning downward, stay the
all familiar hand out in front. But what if you
want to teach something that doesn't have a hand
signal? Consider how you are going to teach the dog
the particular behavior, what hand motion will
coincide with it nicely? Will you remember the hand
signal? Is it different enough from other signals
so your dog will not become confused? Choose your
signal and cast it in stone.
Now many people say that there dog will only do
behaviors if they have food in their hand. I can't
tell you how many times I've heard this. The
big secret to get rid of that annoying food
prerequisite is to get rid of the food.
After several luring repetitions our dogs recognize
a hand signal, take the food out of the signal hand
and continue to signal exactly the same way.
Put the food in your other hand behind your back, or
on a shelf beside you.
Deliver the food reward with your other hand, not
the signal hand. So even though you have not lured
your dog with food they will still follow the hand
signal because they got the reward. Then you
off the treats intermittently.
Teaching hand signals helps to keep your dog
constantly watching you. If they aren't watching
they might miss something. It is helpful when your
dog grows old and possibly loses their amazing
I have always used hand signals with my older
dogs. It's also very impressive, stand proud, you
a great deal of time teaching your dog and it shows.
Just Dogs with Sherri