Detailed Training Guide for Dog Owners Who Want to Teach Their Pets Sign Language

There are plenty of dog training tips for the basic commands, but would you know how to incorporate sign language into the routine? A must for deaf dogs and service animals, learning how to teach your dog sign language is easier than you think.

Associate Sign Language with Commands

The sign language you use for your dogs may be based on American Sign Language; in the alternative, you and your family may choose to make up your own signs. The important aspect of these dog training tips is that everyone must be on the same page with respect to the signs that are to be used. Life Print is an excellent resource for the basic sit and stay commands; the site shows you how to make the ASL signs properly.

In addition to using agreed-upon signs for dog training, each member of the family must commit to using the signs instead of simply relying on verbal commands when working with the animals. Sign language training tips tie consistency to the dogs’ learning curve. The Wag ‘N Train site suggests in their training tips that signs used for dog training must be clear and easy to see for the dogs, even at a distance.

Keep this in mind when associating signs with the commands you issue.

Sign Language Training Tips Start With the Stomach

For your dogs to learn sign language, they need to watch you and make eye contact. For eye contact to occur, you must have something they want. This is where the stomach comes in. Find out which treats your dogs cannot say no to, and then use them during sign language training.

As your dogs learn to associate training sessions with treats, they are sure to keep their eyes peeled on you. This allows you to sign commands, and then reward obedience to the commands with treats.

Dogs Learn Sign Language through Repetition and Association

As you teach the sit command, for example, say the word out loud while at the same time signing it with your hand close to your face. Walk over to your dog and gently press down its hind. Praise the dog and reward it. Repeat until the dog sits when commanded.

Continue on until the dog sits at sign language command alone. Some sign language training tips – such as the ones advocated by Life Print – suggest that the dogs should be shown the sign before obeying as well as afterward so that a complete association between the reward and obedience to the sign is made.


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