Dog Training

List of Dog Commands and Hand Signals [3-Step Learning Formula]

Dog Commands and Hand Signals
Written by Abner

I know how important it is for you to connect with your pet, and one cool way to do that is by adding hand signals to your training game.

Let’s dive ahead, where I’ll walk you through some must-know Dog Commands and Hand Signals. These steps will make your pup’s training journey smoother and more enjoyable for both of you.

As you read ahead, I’ll first mention the command and then three simple steps of teaching it to your dog.

10 Life-Saving Everyday Commands To Teach Your Dog With Hand Signals

The following is the list of dog commands and hand signals that you should give a try. They will save your dog in dire times because sign language is miles faster than voice commands.

1. Sit:

First, we learn the basics of the “Sit” command. It’s a straightforward yet crucial skill for your dog. 

Training steps:

  • To start, grab a treat, hold it in your hand, and bring it close to your dog’s nose. 
  • As you do this, slowly lift your hand upward. 
  • Your pet will respond by sitting down, and as it does so, say something like “Toby sit” and make sure to reward them with the treat. 

This simple exercise helps your dog associate the action of sitting with a positive outcome, making it an easy and effective way to teach this command.

2. Down:

Now, for the “Down” command, point one finger toward the floor. Hold a treat, guide your dog down, and say “Down.” When they nail it, celebrate with a cheerful “Yes, good boy!”

Training Steps:

  • Hold a treat in your hand and let the dog see and smell it.
  • Lower your hand, pointing towards the floor, as you say “Down.”
  • Reward the dog when they lie down and say “Yes, good boy.”

3. Stay:

Teaching your dog to “Stay” is about raising your hand with an open palm. Say “Stay,” take a step back, then return and reward them. Gradually make it a bit more challenging, and don’t forget to give them the green light when they’ve aced it.

Training Steps:

  • Command “Stay” while holding your hand in the stop position.
  • Take a step or two away from the dog and return, rewarding them for staying put.
  • Gradually increase the distance and duration before giving the release command.

4. Come (Recall):

The “Come” command becomes crucial, especially when you want your dog to return to you swiftly. Here’s how to nail it: extend your arm, call your dog’s name, and toss a treat a short distance away. 

As your pup happily trots back to you, shower them with praise and give them another treat. The key here is repetition and consistency. 

Practice this in various settings and environments to enhance your dog’s recall skills, ensuring they come to you no matter where you are.

Training Steps:

  • Toss a treat a short distance away and call the dog’s name when they go for it.
  • When the dog returns, say “Yes” and reward with another treat.
  • Repeat, gradually increasing the distance and distractions.

5. Touch:

For some fun interaction, try the “Touch” command. Hold your hand out, palm facing you, and encourage your dog to touch their nose to your hand. Celebrate their success with treats and happy vibes.

Training Steps:

  • Show the dog a treat in your hand, allowing them to sniff it.
  • Present your hand for them to touch their nose and say “Toby touch.”
  • Reward and praise when they touch your hand.

6. Place:

To designate a spot for your dog, point towards it and say “Place.” Guide them there, and when they sit or lie down, give them props and treats. Gradually extend the time they stay there.

Training Steps:

  • Guide the dog to their cot or bed, using the hand signal and saying “Place.”
  • Once on the spot, instruct them to sit or lie down.
  • Reinforce the command and reward, gradually increasing the time they stay.

7. Leave It:

When you want your pup to ignore something, use the “Leave It” command. Show them a treat, say “Leave it,” and reward them when they look away. Make it trickier by putting the treat on the floor.

Training Steps:

  • Show the dog a treat or item and say “Leave it.”
  • Reward with a different treat when they look away from the item.
  • Increase difficulty by placing the item on the floor and practicing the command.

8. Jump:

Curbing jumping is essential. Say “Jump,” and if they do, turn away without giving attention. When they keep all paws on the ground, that’s when the treats and praise come in.

Training Steps:

  • Turn away and withdraw attention if the dog attempts to jump.
  • Reinforce the behavior by rewarding when the dog remains on all fours.
  • Gradually increase distractions and practice in various situations.

9. Heel (Walking Nicely on a Leash):

Walking your dog on a leash can sometimes feel like a tug-of-war, but the “Heel” command makes the experience much smoother. When you’re ready to hit the pavement, pat your left leg and say “Heel.” 

This gesture signals to your dog that you want them to walk nicely by your side. As they comply, be sure to reward them with treats and positive affirmations.

Reinforce this behavior consistently during walks, and soon your dog will associate walking by your side with positive reinforcement, making every stroll a joy for both of you.

Training Steps:

  • Begin walking with the dog on your left side, using the leash.
  • Pat your leg and say “Heel” when you want them to walk nicely.
  • Reward for maintaining the proper position.

10. Brain Break:

Lastly, let’s talk about “Brain Break.” When you want your pup to chill and do their thing, use this command. It’s like giving them a little freedom to explore, play, or rest without specific rules.

Training Steps:

  • Use the term “Brain Break” when you want the dog to be free and relaxed.
  • Allow them to explore, play, or rest without specific commands.
  • Use this as a positive reinforcement tool for good behavior.

List of Dog Commands and Hand Signals – Conclusion

By adding these simple hand signals to your training sessions, you’ll not only communicate better with your dog but also build a stronger bond. Keep it fun, be patient, and shower your pup with positivity. 

Regular practice of these commands will turn your pet into a well-behaved superstar. Enjoy the training journey!

About the author


Greetings, I'm Abner, a dog trainer with 7 years of expertise, and I welcome you to PupsGuide, your premier resource for expert tips and knowledge to strengthen the bond with your beloved canine companion.

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