How to Connect any Hand Signal to a Verbal Command-Advanced


Method: Sequencing

The process of sequencing is used to connect an unknown cue with a previously learned cue.  When you repeatedly place the unknown cue in front of the known cue, the dog learns that the unknown cue predicts the previously learned cue is getting ready to occur. By reinforcing this sequence, you can teach your dog that any cue or command of your choice refers to the same previously learned behavior.  Don’t worry if this seems confusing; the video demonstration abvove will clarify how this process works.

Here is how you connect and new hand signal to an already learned verbal command:

  1. Decide on what hand signal you want to use for a specific behavior that your dog already understands. (Let’s say your dog knows how to sit on a verbal command and you want to teach them that when you touch your ear, you want them to sit)

  2. Give the dog the hand signal (touch your ear), then follow with the verbal command that the dog understands (“sit”). Then reward your dog with a food reward when they sit.

  3. Repeat this process many times(Touch ear, pause for a second, say “sit”, reward)

  4. At some point you will give the hand signal(touch ear) and hold off on giving the verbal command(don’t say “sit”)

  5. By holding off on the verbal command (not saying sit), you give the dog a chance to guess that if they sit after the hand signal (touching the ear) they will receive the food reward.

  6. Now touch your ear and see if the dog sits. If they sit, reward the dog. Repeat this process so that your dog learns the new signal means sit also.

  7. Because you have been following the same sequence over and over, the dog starts to predict that the unknown hand signal means the same thing as the known verbal command.

Published on July 23, 2017

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