8 Basic Dog Commands and Hand Signals 2023

Dogs are known for their ability to understand basic commands and hand signals and in this article, we will give you a list of basic dog commands and hand signals. Actually, the dog’s behavior can be changed with this knowledge. Teaching your dog these skills is a great way to strengthen the bond between you two, as well as help them become happier and more obedient pets.

Teaching the basics of how to live with an energetic, clever, social animal can be challenging at first but is worth every moment spent teaching them. Once mastered it will pay off in many ways not only for everyone’s quality of life but also for the bond shared between owner and pet.

It is important to train the dog from the very beginning and make sure that you are consistent.

However, it’s also important for both owner and pet to enjoy training sessions together. Dogs respond well when they know what your expectations of them are! If a command is followed by punishment, or if the commands become too complicated with time, dogs often lose interest in trying new things.

If your dog masters auditory commands through hand signals, their response will improve eventually. Additionally, when you teach your dog these commands properly, their relationship with you will also see improvement.

You will not have to worry about your dog forgetting a new command when using hand signal commands because they are easily understood. What’s important to remember is that you can begin with these verbal and hand training programs as soon as possible.

When thinking of your needs, we decided to come up with a list of commands and hand signals that you can teach your dog. You also get to see, here in this article, the importance of using hand signals when training dogs.

True Importance of Hand Signals and Basic Dog Commands:

Coming to the importance of using hand signals, there are quite a number of reasons why you should be teaching your dog to respond to hand signals;

  • When you’re in a noisy area with your dog, it may not be possible to use verbal commands. Teaching hand signals and training your dog can help teach them what you want when they are distracted by the noise around them.
  • Additionally, if you want to or are to appear/participate in different sports competitions with your dog, it’s a necessary thing that you teach them hand signals.
  • Apart from being virtually deaf or hard of hearing, most old dogs cannot hear you when you talk to them. Hand signals are a very useful tool for training/communicating with these dogs.

Things Need to Keep in Mind Before Command Training:

list of dog commands and hand signals

Hand commands are the best way to teach a dog how to respond. Before you know what hand signals are, however, there are some important things that need your consideration:

  1. In order to train your dog, always keep your hand poses simple and inclined for a better training session.
  2. If your dog responds to the hand signal, reward the behavior for reinforcing it.

Training a dog can be an involved process, but if your dog is also well-accustomed to commands like sit and stand, the hand signal training process will be much easier.

One should note that hand signal training does not require any specific area or time for this type of exercise; one can train them even during daily routine life, such as when taking a walk with your dog. Hand signals are easy to use and will not get in the way of other activities.

Top 8 List of Basic Dog Commands and Hand Signals:

list of dog commands and hand signals

Though all the dogs can’t understand human words, they know specific words that you can use for training. Dogs are able to understand human body language, including hand gestures and signals.

When a human is about to make a move with their hands or body that the dog understands as these command-related, they will often react immediately by doing what the person wanted them to do.

  1. Watch me
  2. Come
  3. Sit
  4. Lie Down
  5. Stay
  6. Heel
  7. Stand
  8. Free

What’s more interesting is that dogs can be trained not only in one of these methods but also in both commands so they’ll be ready for any situation at home when you don’t have time to give verbal instructions.

Anyone who has a dog knows that it is much easier to communicate with them when you have absolute control over their body. This can be achieved by mastering hand signals and basic commands in order to get the obedience you desire from your pup.

When dogs are well-trained, they will display perfect behavior even if off-leash or not under the direct supervision of an instruction giver such as an owner or guide dog handler. To teach these skills, owners should start training early on while the animal’s mind is still malleable and eager for any kind of knowledge presented before it becomes stubborn towards anything new that might come it is way later down the line.

Hand signal training, if done properly, is a very effective and beneficial form of dog training. It can make your dog well-behaved in sports competitions or help an old dog suffering from hearing loss problems!

We’re here to help you learn and teach your dog full of easiness by providing an in-depth guide of commands. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on commands and hand signals that will help you quickly learn how to teach your dog. It will also allow you to develop trust and communication between the owner and their dog when all steps are followed accordingly. 

1. Finger Point to Eye (Watch Me)

Shifting to hand signals is one of the first things that you can do in order to help your dog become more obedient. It is a side benefit, as well, because it will allow for an increased level of communication between humans and canines.

Hand signals are also beneficial due to their simplicity: they only require ten seconds or less at most to teach them effectively! A single gesture from your hands will be an able useable command for the dog so long as he or she has learned what each means by associating them with rewards. 

For this exercise, you need to raise your finger towards the dog. When it looks at your finger, in order for them not to lose interest; you should look up and then back down again when they do it.

After doing this a few times, try using different fingers each time until they get used to where the hand will be placed next. The reason behind this is that dogs are attracted to the movement of your finger.

With time, they will get used to looking at your face and eye when you look at them. This technique can be helpful in training a dog not only with its eyes but also with attention span or focusing on one single thing while ignoring other things around it.

It is one of the basic commands for dogs, known as “Watch Me,” and you must repeat it to get your dog used to these basic obedience commands.

2. Sway Your Palm Toward Your Chest (Come)

To get your dog to come over, follow this hand signal. “Hand Across Chest” is the command and gesture used for that. In this step, you need to extend your opened hand across your chest in front of you with the palm facing forward.

Parks are a place where owners who have dogs can take their canine friends for an open run. To make sure everyone is safe, it’s important to teach the dog how and when to listen. The owner should signal that he or she wants the dog on a leash by moving his/her hand towards his/her opposite shoulder in a crosswise motion – this technique also works inside public areas. Once your pet understands you want him back on the leash, gently then offer him treats as encouragement while quickly heading home with your pup by your side. 

3. Open Hand Palm Up (Sit)

The “sit” command is a popular way to teach your dog how to sit on the ground or to sit on the ground when you ask them to. When you’re working on this step, open up the hand palm upside, the movement of your hand is which completes this signal. 

To command your dog effectively and to get an effective response as well, follow this step in the manner described below. 

To be able to teach your dog the command of “sit,” you must face him or her with an outstretched palm. As you give a verbal command, keep moving your hand upward motion and it will be more effective than simply giving the verbal command.

To add up to your knowledge, this technique is known as “swing your palm up”. To learn this hand signal, follow the example of your palm up. Your dog will quickly understand your message with just a few demonstrations.

4. Finger Point Down (Lie Down)

This command is a handy one to instruct your dog to lie down. All you have to do is pick up the treat in your hand and use your finger with it, making the signal for them to lie down.

Once the dog lies down, it is implied that you are allowed to give them a treat. Point this gesture downwards towards where you want him/her to lie down and repeat until they follow suit.

In addition, you can use verbal commands with hand signals as they may be more effective. The proper manner of doing it is to point your finger horizontally at your chest and slowly move downwards or to a specific point on the ground.

This way you’re instructing your dog to lie down with a downward-pointing finger command. This technique is also known as “finger point down.”

5. Open Hand Palm Forward (Stay)

Teaching the dog to stay is an effective way of keeping him away from potential harm. If a person were to give this signal command and your dog would be willing, he will walk over towards you or sit down on the floor in order not to go any closer than that point.

This basic hand signal means “Stay”, which may seem like it doesn’t have much meaning but if you think about it more deeply there are many ways for dogs to use them!

To teach your dog this hand signal, you need to raise your hand and hold it with a hold on your palm. The important thing is that you should keep looking outward from the chest and downward at your pet.

Use both verbal and hand signals to call your dog. Once they do what you tell them to, reward them with treats. That will also encourage them along the way.

6. Tap On Your Hip (Heel)

Walking next to their owner is one of the best and basic dog commands, which you can teach your dog with this hand signal. And in this hand signal, you can teach your pup to walk next to you. Usually, you see that dogs are walking on the left side of their owner. 

When you follow this strategy, it will teach your dog to walk left, right, and in front of the owner. So, that your dog can become well-behaved.

To perform this hand signal, tap your hands near your hip. If you want them to be on your right side, use a circular motion near the same area on the other side of your body.

7. Open Palm and Facing Forward (Stand)

So, you’ve learned the command to make your pet sit on the ground. Now, what would be the next command in the line? We’re sure you can guess! You need to learn the command to make your dog stand up. Follow the following steps to do this accurately. And this is known as the “Stand Up” command.

Properly following this step is as easy as keeping in mind that your hand should be open and facing forward. When the hand faces forward, keep in mind to have it at the side of your hip.

In the end, to execute this hand signal and command, you need to pull your hand back with a quick motion.

8. Palms Out (Free)

It is the last hand signal and commands you can use to let your dog go free. To execute this, all that you have to do is take both hands near the shoulder level with palms facing outwards. 

When you let the dog go with this signal, it means that he is free and relaxed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Dog Hand Signal Training:

Basic Dog Commands and Hand Signals
  • Now as you’ve read this article fully you are aware of dog training hand signals, but here you get to see what the pros and cons are. 
  • Dogs can be trained to understand body language and hand signals more than and rather than voice commands.
  • If your pet is old or anyhow has lost their hearing. This makes them easier to communicate with.
  • If you are blind, hand signals will not work.
  • If your hands are full or busy, they cannot use hand signals.
  • It may be hard for you to stay consistent with this over a long period of time.

Quick Pro Tips for Teaching Dog Commands and Hand Signals:

Basic Dog Commands and Hand Signals

When you are training your pet, it is important to remember that when the dog responds correctly, it should be rewarded. For instance, if your pup behaves well at a party and doesn’t drag you around on their leash- give them some treats after the party has ended. Hopefully, this will lead to more good behavior!

Dogs perceive actions as commands more than words so you will need hand signals or other cues if you want your dog to listen and obey instructions properly! That being said there are many advantages of using professional canine obedience trainers with extensive experience teaching all breeds of dogs.

  1. The first thing you need to do before training your dog is get their attention. When they’re paying attention to you, your dog sees what’s going on and follows the commands you give them.
  2. When you train your dog, choose a distraction-free environment to avoid drawing their attention away from what they are doing.
  3. To be effective and perform better, you need to move your training sessions into stimulating and realistic scenarios.
  4. You can also grab the dog’s attention by using a shock or vibrating collar. However, we strongly recommend that you use the shock collar as it is not only used for grabbing their attention but also to help throughout your training.
  5. If your dog is accustomed to some different verbal commands, it’s better that you make use of them along with the above-mentioned basic hand signals.
  6. But never use the basic hand signals and verbal commands at the same time because it may be confusing for your dog.

How Do I Say Sorry to My Dog?

You don’t need to apologize to your dog, but you can verbally praise them by saying things like “good boy/girl” or “well-done baby”, with a slightly raised pitch.

Can I Train My Dog Myself?

Teaching your dog to respond verbally and by hand, signals is an excellent idea. On the other hand, if you really want to introduce some basic commands and training, it’s up to you whether or not you want to learn it yourself or hire a professional dog trainer.


Above, you can find the top 8 basic dog commands and hand signals that you can use to teach your pup how to respond when called. You can even use them if you’re dog is visually impaired or they cannot hear you, which is very beneficial for both you and your dog.

Hopefully, this guide has been useful for you, and now you’re well aware of all the basic dog commands list as well as hand signals.

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