Teaching Sight Commands / Sign Language to Your Good Dog

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Being that dogs are more visual & scent oriented for communication teaching a dog sign language isn’t a stretch. Teaching dogs sight commands can be useful in a noisy or busy environment such as a dog park. A single gesture from you can look more civilized than you yelling across a crowded park. It’s not uncommon for older dogs to loose some or all of their hearing so having learned sight commands can make the lose of hearing less traumatic for the both of you. Sometimes a dog is born deaf, it takes patience but training a deaf dog is an incredibly rewarding experience.

The first thing to teach is the signal for “watch me”. If you do this often, soon your dog will constantly check in by making eye contact with you. Like any training, rewards of a treat will be needed. Try to keep the treat bag out of view otherwise he/she will stare at your hand or the treat bag instead of making direct eye contact. When he/she makes eye contact, you immediately give a hand signal (touching your nose as example) to positively mark the correct response from the dog & then reward with the treat. Repeat, repeat, repeat! Repetition is key.

Once your dog gets really good at the “watch me” sign command you can begin teaching other visual commands.Your dog will read your facial expressions & body language so be extra demonstrative of how pleased you are when he/she recognizes & responds correctly to a signal.  In time your dog can learn any number of visual commands.

CEO Olivia

Further reading…

Training a deaf dog

Dogs & American Sign Language (ASL)

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