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Do you use them with your dog?

I was told a while back that the dog should be able to respond to only verbal cues and not need the hand signals, so I tried to never even incorporate them during training with Desmond, so neither of us would get in the habit and learn to rely on them.
However, I eventually ended up using signals for a few things (accidentally), especially sit, down, and other basics, as well as snapping my fingers for "focus". He used to suck at laying down, he would kind of dawdle and wouldn't down very quickly, but when we started using hand signals, he reacted differently to the command. Instead of "...euhh... I'll lay down... I guess." we get "DOWN!!" :D He looks so enthusiastic now that he knows exactly what I'm asking of him. I've seen that, at least in our case, the dog learns MUCH quicker when I use hand signals instead of just verbal cues. I figure we can phase them out as we train though, so he can lay down simply on cue instead of looking for the signal only.

Thing is, I always avoided hand signals because of the off case scenario where the dog wouldn't see them, such as if he was far away or was in some emergency situation where he should just respond to a verbal cue. This may be totally far-fetched though. Was I misled when I was told that a dog trainer shouldn't use hand signals? What are your thoughts on hand signals and the importance of them?
 

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I use hand signals all the time (dogs talk with body language, and so do we, why not talk to THEM with body language!!??!) but I do also have voice cues for the primary things too. She knows them both, but does work better if she can read my body properly too.

Personally I think our jabber can be confusing to them. As much as we try to make clear commands, they're still not always as clear to dogs as body language. Hence I use both. :)
 

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I have never had trouble with Riley confusing the commands. I use voice and hand signals and i love them both. I like to be able to give a command from accross the room without yelling sit. Or ive had a few instances where i wanted him to sit infront of other people without them knowing (you had to be there), so i gave him a sly hand signal.
Riley knows 2 different hand signals for sit and down each, one for stand and say, and English, French, and German for sit and down. I find it fun and we enjoy showing them off. :D He knows hand signals for different tricks too.
 

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We teach hand and voice signals - you should be able to use both. That way if one is not appropriate, you can use the other (for example: in the case of a loud building or somewhere that you don't want to speak out loud, use a hand signal)
 

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I think most "beings" are more stimulated by visual movement in a lot of situations then noise or us speaking. (classes I had taken on body language lol... it makes sense to me when I am working with the dogs)

I use both. A very WELL trained dog who has had very thorough intense training should know both I would think; but the average trained dog responds to what stimulates them most and if it's visual I would likely use that.
 

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We use hand signals as well as verbal for Vilka. It's nice to sometimes not use verbal signals becaue they can be obnoxious. When we have company and we're all talking it is nice to not have to interrupt someone in mid-sentence with "SIT!" haha
 
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