Non-Verbal training

Discussion in 'Dog Training: Principle and Practice' started by stevesnj, Sep 22, 2016.

  1. stevesnj

    stevesnj Registered Users

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    Hello, Has anyone trained non-verbal commands? i.e. Hand Signaling only. Any resources out there that anyone knows? Thanks!
     
  2. Oberon

    Oberon Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Yes, I think quite a few people do this. I've trained my dog with both verbal and hand signal cues and can use either. All you do is choose a distinct hand movement for each cue. First decide what your cues will be. You can vary things like right or left hand, open hand or closed fist, direction of hand movement..

    Have you already trained with verbal or sound cues and now want to add hand signals, or are you starting from scratch?
     
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  3. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    Us too, the hand signal started with luring for most things, faded the treat till the dog would comply with only the hand signal. We didn't use verbal till, as per our trainer, we would bet $50.00 (C$) the dog would comply with the hand signal.
     
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  4. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    Used hand signals along with verbal cues from when they were tiny. It's very useful as they get older as they can often go deaf.
     
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  5. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Mine started with visual signals for everything, it just happens that way when you're luring the initial movements, which is how I tend to train them. I added verbal cues later, but the visual cues are stronger in most cases than the verbal ones.
     
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  6. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Homer responds to hand signals better than voice commands, it's practical for us as my niece has speach difficulties and hubby has a mild stammer. Good fun party tricks too.
     
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  7. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Longest on the Forum without an actual dog Forum Supporter

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    Yep, I can attest to that. Brogan knew hand signals for basic commands (sit, stand, down, stay) his whole life and once I realized he was going deaf I taught him a bunch of others, including feedback for "good job!" since I used my voice so much to give him praise. It was much easier than I thought - it made me think that in fact he was responding much more to visual cues than verbal commands all along. I would definitely like to teach my next puppy all visual commands, maybe even as a first priority over verbal ones.
     
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  8. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    Moos gone deaf and her sight is beginning to go. Her peripheral vision is going so she can see if she looks forward. So along with her exsisting hand signals I,m rewarding her every time see looks at me and I exercise her on a long line and am teaching her that a quick tug on the line means look at me and come. It's more like a gentle bit of pressure but she has got the idea to look and now she trots back for her reward. Shes so sweet and clever and has learnt that She can have a great walk on her long line without feeling upset and stressed because she feels lost. I was really sad when I realise my dogs couldn't hear me praise them. But the dogs know i still am telling them they are wonderful because they can tell by the shape of my facial expression.they tend to really concentrate on the face. I hope Moo can continue to enjoy her walks now I know she feels safe. She is physically very fit for 13 and she still enjoys a canter about
     
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  9. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    I didn't realise how much I did communicated with the dogs verbally until they went deaf
     
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  10. stevesnj

    stevesnj Registered Users

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    Any good source to learn how to train this way or was it just during verbal training?
     
  11. Jes72

    Jes72 Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    The actions just go along with the verbal command, then when secure try out one without one or the other, reward the response. We had no formal training, it just happened and because it suited us we reinforce the hands only signals.
     
  12. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    It depends on your style of training. The way I train, it's natural that the hand signal comes in first.
    Let's take the example of a sit. I lure the dog into position, by holding a treat between my thumb and first finger and lifting it from the nose upwards. This makes the bum go down, I click and reward. After a couple of goes of this, I start to "fake" the treat, holding my hand the same way, but without any food there. Then, when the dog sits, I click and reward, making it clear the treat comes from my other hand. Repeat this a few times and the dog realises he doesn't need to see the treat (or believe it to be there) in order to perform the behaviour. At this stage, I can open my hand out and the cue becomes that open hand, making an upwards movement. Still clicking and treating when the dog gives the sit. Only once I know the dog understands the visual cue (so I would bet £100 on him performing the behaviour when I give my hand signal) would I introduce the verbal cue. That is done using the new cue - old cue method. You say "sit", then give the existing hand signal (which the dog understands) so you get the behaviour. Click and reward. Then, it's a case of repeating this a few times, then trying to see what happens if you wait a second or two after giving your verbal cue. If nothing, give the visual cue again, but if he sits, then he has paired the new cue with the sit behaviour. Wonderful. Then, I can increase complexity - distance, duration, distraction. I have two cues now, a visual and a verbal, and I can choose which to use.

    For heel, I did similar. At first, luring the pup to my side with a treat. Because I knew I wanted a visual cue, I made it a very clear, straight arm, with a finger pointed downwards. I progressed away from the lure very quickly, using the same methodology as above.

    For a stop, I used a tennis ball in my hand, raised above my head. After a few goes, the ball disappeared, but my open hand remained.

    You get the idea :)
     
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  13. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Moderator Forum Supporter

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    Our trainer would have silent training days. No voice commands at all.
    Dogs were great. The owners? I think I know why our trainer preferred dogs to people :D

    I'm afraid I don't know of any particular resources. Do you just mean what hand signals to use for each command/cue or do you mean how to teach them just with hand signals? I find the hand signals far more intuitive that the voice.
     
  14. SwampDonkey

    SwampDonkey Registered Users

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    Your dog watches you all the time too they get to the stage when they know when your going out with them or not by the coat you wear or shoes and stuff like that. They watch and notice stuff it's what they do
     
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  15. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Longest on the Forum without an actual dog Forum Supporter

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    Exactly this. I talked to Brogan constantly, both to give him direction when he was working and just plain old conversation. When I realised he was finally 100% deaf, I felt ridiculous talking to him so stopped and the house just seemed deadly quiet all the sudden. Slowly, however, I realised that it didn't matter if he could hear me or not...he could still "hear" me where it counted. We both were happier when I started chattering away again.

    In his last six months, I realised he was also losing vision. That smart pup - he started SMELLING stairs to be sure to where to put his feet! It just blew me away when I realised what he was doing. When I'd taught him new hand signals when he went deaf, I figured he may lose his sight as well so in fact the hand signals were "touch" signals. Top centre of the head was "Good job", right/left cheek was turn right/left, top base of tail was "go potty", etc. He stuck pretty close to me so I didn't really need a recall anymore. Even though the reason I was teaching him all that was a bit sad for me as it was a sign he was getting older, we both really enjoyed the first real new training we'd done together for years. Old pups love to learn too!
     
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  16. drjs@5

    drjs@5 Moderator Forum Supporter

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  17. Xena Dog Princess

    Xena Dog Princess Registered Users

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    Oh boy Emily, that story made my eyes sting. What an amazing dog Brogan was, and what a beautiful relationship you had with him.
     
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  18. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    It's those damned ninjas slicing onions again.
     
  19. Emily_BabbelHund

    Emily_BabbelHund Longest on the Forum without an actual dog Forum Supporter

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    Thanks to you @snowbunny and @Xena Dog Princess for such nice comments. I know I'm constantly nattering on about "Brogan this, Brogan that" and feel I should stop...but just can't seem to. He taught me a lot and I never want to forget him. I really appreciate that you all let me share him with you, non-Labrador that he was.

    Long before he passed, I'd made the decision to wait at least a year until getting my next pup, more out of respect for the next pup than for Brogan (HE would be the first to be thinking, "What the heck is taking you so long?!"). I adopted Brogan a few short months after my first Rottie died, and I really wanted Duncan back somehow magically reincarnated as my next pup. I even took it as some sort of "sign" that Duncan was coming back as Brogan would have been conceived exactly when Duncan passed away. I know, I know... I was in a very weird place back then. Surprise (not at all) - Brogan was TOTALLY 100% his own guy. Honestly, it took me a year before I stopped regretting that Brogan was in fact NOT Duncan. It wasn't fair to Brogan and why I made the "wait a year next time" decision.

    I also decided that either I would get a female Rottweiler or another breed entirely (thus...hello Labradors!) so that I could be doubly sure that I will have the best possibility of treating my next pup entirely on his/her own merits. From all the stories here, I will be in for an ENTIRELY different puppy experience with a Lab. Despite their fearsome reputation, Rotties are NOT crocopups. ;)

    By the way, one of the biggest lessons Brogan taught me is to stick it out, even if you think it's hopeless. While he wasn't a crocopup and was calm in comparison to what seems like the typical Lab puppy, he had formidable fear-based reactivity problems which took a long time to overcome. And (joke's on me) I used to refer to the poor guy as "sweet but dumb as a box of rocks" in his younger years. He wasn't dumb at all, he just learned VERY differently from my first Rottie. Once I changed my training approach, he took off like a rocket. I pretty much spent the rest of his life telling him every day what a smart boy he was, just to make up for it!
     
  20. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    Please, keep nattering. It's lovely to hear your stories about him, and not only are you keeping his memory alive for yourself when you talk about him, we're all getting to know him, too. Spread his story and he'll live forever :)
     

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