30 Hand Signals To Teach Your Dog

hand signals to teach your dog (1)

About the Author: Nettie Finley, the Professional Dog Trainer at MyPetDoggie. Specializing in behavior rehabilitation, Nettie leads our team with her effective training techniques. As a certified canine behaviorist, she brings transformative change to challenging behavior cases. Her experience and expertise elevate our content, providing practical, insightful training advice for our readers. Also, she loves her Cavapoo!

So you guys have got a furry companion who is surely eager to learn some cool tricks, uhh? You know at times words just don’t make things happen when it comes to talking with our four-legged friends.

That is where these hand signals come literally like a wagging tail, just to save the day.

Dogs are mostly the first choice of the majority of the public who want to keep a pet. Genuinely saying, that they are built more sensible and energetic than most of the animals.

Teaching them signals is a great way to enhance their body language. So that’s why I compiled 30 hand signals to teach your dog that will be out of this world but really easy!

30 Hand Signals To Teach Your Dog

I will divide these 30 hand signals to teach your dog into some sections. Starting from basic level to advanced with the inclusion of some safety tips, directional commands, and much more.

Basic Commands

Some basic commands that you can teach your dog as a beginner are mentioned and explained below.


A dog shows his sitting sign
A dog sitting upon hand sign

As I said, we will start from the basics. To teach your dog to “How to Sit”.Just follow the following 2 steps

  • Introduce your dog to a hand signal just like raising your palm while saying the word “Sit”
  • Practice this process again and again while using fewer treats but more praise.


Moving forward, this command can be taught simply by following the below steps.

HandCommandsforDogTraining (1)
A parent tries to train his dog to stay with his hand sign
  1. Have your dog sit and then simply show your open palm just like a stop sign while verbally saying “Stay”.
  2. Take a step back and then immediately return, reward, and praise them if they stay. Repeat the process at regular intervals.

Down[Lie Down]

This activity can be taught by simply acting upon the below steps

Down (1)
A hand sign for the dog to lie down
  1. Take a treat and hold it close to the nose of your dog then slowly start to move it towards the ground while saying “down”
  2. Immediately reward them with that treat when they lie down.
  3. Repeat the process regularly. Increase the period accordingly when they stay down. Practice the process by following diverse settings. Try to rely less on treats.


Enjoying till yet? I know you are. Moving on, this step can be taught easily by simply following the steps below.

A dog grabs his harness in his jaw and tries to come
  1. Give your dog a name. Call them by their name by saying “Come while using an inviting tone and I know you have practiced that a lot in front of your partner.
  2. Start this process indoors then practice it outdoors at larger places. Try to use a long leash in areas with distractions to guide them if required.
  3. Practice will make things easier and smoother. Keep practicing the above steps for satisfactory results.

Heel [Walking by Your Side]

Imagine you are at a park with your kids or friends on your left and your dog on your right, following you in a steady manner. Doesn’t it seem like a fantasy?

Heel [Walking by Your Side]
Dog shows his heel sign while walking by your side

Well, don’t worry guys I’m here to turn your fantasy into reality. Follow the below steps.

  1. Teach your dog the command “Heel’ while simply walking with a treat placed at the nose level of your dog.
  2. Reward them if they keep walking beside you. Stop if they move ahead and reward them again if they return back towards you.
  3. Try to increase the distractions and focus on changing directions.

Off[Get Off Furniture or Jumping]

Follow the steps below to teach your four-legged friend this jumping trick.

Off[Get Off Furniture or Jumping
A dog gets off on the furniture
  1. Use a command like “off” when your dog is present on the furniture.
  2. Offer them a treat and praise them in an exciting manner when they obey your order and get off the furniture.
  3. Be consistent with your practice and try to perform the process on comfy spots so that your pup can deliver well.

Tricks and Miscellaneous Commands:

So far you have learned the basics of how to teach your doggie. Now let’s chip into some tricks and miscellaneous commands.

Shake Hands

Follow the following two steps to teach your pup this trick so that you can show off in front of your pals!

Shake Hands
A dog shakes his hand with his parent
  1. Place your open hand at the chest level of your dog and say the word “Shake” in a clear tone.
  2. Reward them accordingly by following the instructions. Appreciate them by rubbing their body.

High Five

How To Know If Your Puppy Is Deh
A dog shows his sign and tries to high-five

Before teaching this trick, please ensure that your dog knows how to sit properly as it is important for the foundation.

  1. Select a paw for the high five.
  2. Tap on the paw that you just selected and say “high five”, reward even a minor lift.
  3. Practice again and again to raise the paw higher as it will help your dog to become an expert.

Roll Over

Roll Over
A happy dog playing and rolling over in front of his parents
  1. At the “down” position, hold a treat near to the nose of your pup and then try to move that treat across their shoulder to encourage them to roll at their back and onto their side.
  2. Try to reduce treats and reward your dog with praise whenever they complete the roll. 

Play Dead

This cool trick is quite similar to the previous one that I discussed. It can be taught significantly by following the below steps.

Play Dead (1)
A dog shows his play-dead sign
  1. Simply reward your dog with a suitable treat and start to praise them when they lie on their back.
  2. Introduce a verbal term to them like “Play Dead” before guiding them to practice consistently the same process for better results.


Speak[Bark] (1)
A dog lying down over the cough with his partner
  1. Use a trigger just like a normal doorbell to force your dog to bark.
  2. Never forget to say the command “speak” while they do so.
  3. Select any hand gesture just like raising your hand while saying “speak” or “bark”.This will allow them to pick up the signal quickly
  4. Keep practicing the process of making different scenarios but stay with the same hand gesture and command.


Advancing, this trick shows the innocence and cuteness of a specific pet, dogs in our discussion. Here are some steps for you guys that will help to teach this trick to your doggies.

A dog tries to hug his parent
  1. Hold the treat positioned above your dog and say “Beg”
  2. Lift the treat higher so that the dog promotes their paws, and introduce a hand signal like an open palm right at the moment.
  3. Reward your dog when it follows the signal and holds the position. Practice the same process consistently.

Quiet[Stop Barking]

For this purpose:

a brown day dog with a green collar sitting on a white pillow
A brown day dog with a green collar sitting on a white pillow
  1. Give quiet commands to your dog by putting your finger on your lips.
  2. Reward at the exact moment when the dog stops barking by using a marker or clicker.
  3. Practice the process in different situations, and try to gradually reduce the threat while increasing the praise.

Advanced Commands

Having said that pals, let’s move towards some advanced commands.

Leave it

This advanced command can be guided to your pup by following three simple steps

Leave it (1)
A dog sitting outside and waiting for his parents
  1. Try to start with a treat placed in one hand and you have to show your open palm at that moment to your dog.
  2. The moment you say leave, try to move your hand with the treat simply away from the object.
  3. Praise your dog when they obey your order and repeat the process again and again.

Drop it

This command is personally one of my favorites which can be taught by the following steps.

Drop it (1)
Both dogs lying and enjoying themselves together
  1. Choose a hand signal like an open hand.
  2. Show the signal and say “drop it” as if your dog has a toy.
  3. If your dog lets go, give treats and repeat a lot.

Wait[Stay In Place]

Waiting on someone’s order is a pure gesture. Whether it is you waiting for your beloved pals or your dog waiting for you on your order.

wait (1)
A dog tries to wait after his Stay command from his parent

Go through the following steps so that you can teach this trick to your pup.

  1. Tell your dog to “stay” using a strong voice.
  2. Show your open hand to make them stop.
  3. Make it harder over time, but reward them when they do well.


Back-Up (1)
A puppy playing with a toy
  1. Get a treat your dog loves. Stand in front of them.
  2. Hold the treat close to their nose, and calmly tell them “Back up.”
  3. Slowly move the treat towards their chest. They might step back.
  4. If they do, give them the treat and say, “Good job!” Repeat, adding more steps over time. Remember, patience is key.

Directional Commands

I have gathered the basic directional commands in a single place. These are discussed below.


left (1)
A dog looks at his parent’s face
  1. Put your left hand to the side, like pointing.
  2. Show a treat in your right hand.
  3. Move the treat from their nose to your left hand.
  4. They’ll turn left to follow the treat.
  5. Give a treat for a good turn and practice it more to help them learn.


left (1) (1)
dog owner trains his dog for the right sign

To make your four-legged friend turn right, follow these steps.

  1. Hold a treat in your right hand near your body.
  2. Stretch out your left hand with your palm facing right, and say “right.”
  3. Move the treat and guide your dog gently, then reward and repeat.


To train your dog moving forward, follow the below tips.

forward (1)
Trying to communicate with his dog
  1. Get your dog’s attention with a treat.
  2. Stretch your hand forward, and say “Forward.”
  3. If your dog moves ahead, reward and keep doing it.


Follow these tips to train your dog with this trick.

Backward (1)
The dog shows his backward sign
  1. Stand before your dog with a treat.
  2. Stretch out one hand, like saying “stop.”
  3. Show the hand sign and help your dog move back a step.
  4. Give a treat and praise when they move back; do this more times.

Positive Reinforcement

The emotions are indeed natural but you can manage the mood swings of your dog through your actions

Good[Positive Feedback]

Positive Reinforcement (1)
A dog gives positive feedback while clapping his hands with his parent

Here are some steps that you must follow

  1. Give treats or praise for good behavior.
  2. Use the same cues for commands.
  3. Keep practicing and be patient.


This response along with No[Correction] is really important and your dog must know the difference between these two.

A dog shows he wants something from you
  1. Pick a clear hand sign, like a little nod, and pair it with a special word or question.
  2. Every time you use the hand sign with the word or question, give your dog a treat or praise when they do it right.
  3. Keep doing this often, and your dog will learn that the hand sign means “yes” after a while.


no correction (1)
A dog tries to bitting something which is not good for him
  1. Show your flat hand to your pup.
  2. Make a fist quickly.
  3. Pause to say “No” 
  4. Maintain patience and keep practicing.

Safety and Control:

Teaching your pup, some safety tips must be your priority.

Wait [At Doorways or Before Crossing the Street]

Here are some steps regarding that:

Wait [At Doorways or Before Cros
A dog sitting and waiting for his loved person
  1. Put a rope on your dog.
  2. Say “Wait” while gently holding the rope.
  3. Give treats when they stop as it will create a sense of motivation in them.
  4. Practice in real situations for better results.

Stay [Safety Command]

Stay [Safety Command] (1)
A dog sitting on the back side of a car and wearing safety gadgets
  1. Show your dog your open hand and say “Stay” firmly.
  2. Keep your hand out in front of your dog, like a stop sign, for a few moments accordingly.
  3. Keep practicing and try to reward your pup with treats and praise.

Slow Down

Slow Down
A dog tries to play with his parents
  1. Leash your dog in a soft way and verbally “slow” while walking behind them.
  2. Try to reward them with praise and treats when they walk slowly.
  3. Practice the process again and again to achieve perfection.

Emotional Signals


Here are some steps to make your dog to stay calm.

A dog with a long hair and a long tongue
  1. Open your palm that must face directly to your dog.
  2. Try to hold this pose for some time and say “calm” loudly.
  3. Reward them if they stay calm. Try to practice while making different scenarios.


Happy[Celebrate] (1)
A sign of happy therapy and emotions

Happiness is the therapy of a soul. Teach your dog this emotion by:

  1. Give your dog treats and love them unconditionally when they’re happy.
  2. Use a special word like “party” happily while smiling or exhibiting laughter.
  3. Keep saying it regularly for better results.

So, that was all 30 hand signals that you can teach to your dogs for positive training and behavior.

Why Should You Train Your Dog To Respond To Hand Signals?

Training your dog to respond to hand signals has always been an amazing way to boost your bonding and communication with your four-legged buddy. Dogs have a natural ability to pick faster due to actions and visuals, so adding hand signals into their training can be a game-changer.

Imagine this:  You’re in a park and your dog is some distance from you. Instead of unnecessary shouting, you can use hand signals to get their attention and convey what you want. It’s not just about convenience, it’s also about their grooming.

How To Teach Your Dog Hand Signals

Are you still here? I guess I have satisfied you guys enough by providing precise and legitimate information. It is not over yet, I have gathered more important stuff for you pals.

Treating a dog I would say

Choose Clear and Distinct Signals

Picking clear signals when teaching your dog tricks is pretty important. It helps your dog to understand what you want them to do, pick, and perform. Dogs rely on what they see and hear to figure out your commands. So, if you use signals that are easy to see and hear, your dog will never get confused. They will surely learn faster and do the tricks probably in a  better way.

Gather Treats and Find a Quiet Space

Using treats at different points is very useful as it will motivate your dog to perform and pick the signals in an effective manner. Try to teach and train your dog, particularly in quiet and calm spots as it will decrease the level of distractions mainly at the beginner’s level.

Introduce New Signals slowly

Teaching hand signals to your dog works best when you try to start it slow. Start with only one signal and try to practice it a lot until your dog understands it. Don’t rush to add more signals because it might confuse your dog at times.

When your dog gets really good at one signal, then you can teach them another. So, In this way, your dog won’t get mixed up, and you can talk to them using your hands more easily.

Be Patient and Positive

Teaching your dog hand signals with a better attitude is always important. When you’re calm and happy, your dog learns in a  better way. Don’t try to rush, as that can make your dog nervous at some stage.

Use treats to reward your dog when they do what you want them to do. Use the same hand signals and words each time. Keep training times short and interesting. Stay patient if your dog makes mistakes. Dogs learn at their speed, so don’t expect too much. In this way, your dog will learn amazingly and you’ll be good friends.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Using positive reinforcement to teach your dog hand signals is indeed a better way. When your dog tries to do what you want, like sitting or staying, you have to show them a hand signal and reward them with treats or praise. This will help them to understand that the hand signal means the same as the command you are using. When they get treats and praise for doing the right stuff, they learn to do it with more perfection.

Associate the Signal with the Behavior

Associating signals with behavior has always been a fundamental concept when it comes to training your dog, especially while using hand signals. This technique involves associating a specific hand signal with a desired behavior, such as sitting and lying down, and consistently using the same signal every time that you want your dog to perform. 

This method allows you to associate communication in an effective manner with the dog, even in scenarios where verbal commands might be less necessary and effective.

Practice Regularly

As we know” Practice makes a man perfect”, Now you can change the word man with a pup, sarcastically said. Anyways, all you need to do is to stay calm, Things can get boring and tough but you have to show patience. Keep practicing lads, kill the waves.

Common Question:

Following are some frequently asked questions that can also hit your mind.

What commands do most dogs know?

There are many such commands but the most common ones include sit, stay, down, come, roll over, and high five.

What language do dogs listen to best?

Dogs do not rely on any specific language but for them, tone matters a lot. Dogs reply better when you are explaining anything with emotions and energy rather than focusing on any common and typical language.

What gestures do dogs like?

Dogs usually like gestures like ear scratches, gentle petting, and cuddling. which grants them comfort…Nonverbal gestures like eye contact and smiles can also improve the bond between you and your dog.

Do dogs learn better with hand signals?

The answer is yes bro, many dogs learn better when you train them using hand signals. Hand signals provide extraordinary results especially when verbal commands are used with them. Dogs try to pick things in an effective manner if their owner or trainer exhibits appropriate body language.

What are the 5 golden rules of dog training?

The 5 golden rules that you must follow while training your dog are as follows:

1: Be patient
2: Stay consistent
3: Find a timing
4: Try to use positive reinforcement.
5: Keep training sessions enjoyable and short.

End Note

In the silent language of care, affection, and love between humans and their loyal four-legged friends, these 30 hand signals will play an important role in shifting training into obedience. As your dog learns to follow the tricks, the bonding starts to grow like a fantasy.

I tried my level best to bring the best of knowledge and facts for all of you. Thanks for trusting the process. I assure you that after reading all that stuff you will find yourself in a state of satisfaction.

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