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bradl

Signals vs Commands

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bradl

Interesting article about a study comparing the effectiveness of hand signals to voice commands.

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Now let us turn to the situation where the voice command and the hand signal were put in conflict with each other. Once again the data shows that the gesture dominates over the verbal signal. In 70% of the trials, when the hand signal was pitted against the voice command, the dogs responded to the hand signal. That means that the dogs were more than twice as likely to obey a hand signal when they saw it, even when it conflicted with the verbal information that they were receiving from their handler.

Are Voice Commands or Hand Signals More Effective for Dogs? — Psychology Today

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Sam I Am

Although I have never done any trials(would love to though) , it's my own  experience that hand signals work really well! Jock was always amazing and very quick to pick up things like down stay etc. Just by using my hands. Rosie also amazes me, because when we play the find it game. (Me making her sit stay in another area of the house, then hiding treats all over the place, then telling her to find. ) I often put the treat up high, so she either has to reach  or jump up on the furniture. I point with my finger where the treat is, and she knows exactly where to go.  obviously visionary clues are easily picked up. But this doesn't surprise me as a lot of animals react to body language . My horses certainly do. After all they don't understand our language but their very existance (in the wild) certainly depends on body language from other animals .

Edited by Terrier lover

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_whits_

Addie fairly reliably ignores my voice commands. 

She almost always does what I ask when I ask with my hands. 

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kjwarnold

When I took our first Cairn, Willie, to obedience classes, the instructor really emphasized using hand signals.  Years later, I was so glad we did because as Willie lost his hearing, he still responded to our hand signals. 

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Hillscreek

Body language is how mammals (and maybe others) primarily communicate. Don't they say human interaction is 75% or maybe more, body language. I'd say more than that for dogs. Hand signals are, in my experience, a much better way to communcate with my dogs than voice - especially when we are out in the fields.  Even at home a gesture is usually enough. When I train a youngster I use both and so later I can use either.

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Toto-lee Cairn

Very interesting.  I have noticed my fellow responds to the hand signal for sit even before I say, 'sit.'

Smart.

Did any of us ever doubt our animals 'read' us? Amazing that they know us all too well.

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sanford

Ruffy is definitely the World's Best Hand Signal Reader! Any time my hand is even remotely near my pocket, I instantaneously have his rapt, exquisite, laser-like focus and attention.

(Any upright who carries treats in their pocket will know what I mean).😄

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Lupinegirl

Nikki has definitely amazed me with what he’s picked up from Mom and me. Even though he is deaf now, we can still communicate so well! He was already used to looking at our hands for signals (and treats) and looking at our faces with love (or annoyance, lol). We still wonder if he can hear a little bit since he is so good at catching subtle changes and knowing when we are about to leave the house or make dinner or whatnot. Yet he’s oblivoous to everything when he dozes off,

Let’s see... Nikki’s visual dictionary is: 

A patted leg means come,

clapped hands means hurry to me

One raised hand with palm out means stay and watch 

Two raised hands palms oit mean no more food

two raised hands, palms facing up, mean I want to pick him up (usually leads to an arm draped cooperatively over my arm and a growl) 

Two lowered hands and wriggling fingers mean I’ll scratch an itch for him and offer a nice massage (always earns a big a smile) 

A plointed finger means look for food where I am pointing

me pointing my whole body in a direction means follow me

And this one amazed me: a finger over my lips means quiet. I had no idea I had taught him that but he’s more responsive to that than he ever was to a yelled “quiet!” when he was racing to the door. 

He reads other visual clues from us that we don’t even know we are making, since he still knows when we are getting ready to leave the house or make food. lol. 

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Hillscreek

Great to read how Nikki responds. There are the standard hand signals like I used but there are also special communications like you use for Nikki. Wonderful. Hope you guys are together for a long time yet!

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Toto-lee Cairn

AMAZING.

I do think our canine pals can 'read' us.  Great job!

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