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Speaks

commands and hand signals

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Speaks

Getting ready for my new pup to come home and thinking through my training game plan. One thing that I was curious about was standard commands and hand signals. For example I have always used the command "come", I see others use "here" instead. I use a closed fist to signal here, it seems most people point up. I was just curious if there was a standard set of commands and corresponding signals, I suppose I should also throw whistle signals out there, I have not used one much but I know most people do, and finally if there is any standard to using an e-collar to signal, such as teaching a dog to recall on a vibrate. 

 

I am honestly not too worried about it, but if I wanted to make a change I think right now is the best time. I am without a bird dog at the moment but plan to add new dogs on a 3-4 year cycle going forward to avoid ever being without a dog again so changes later would be harder. 

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Brad Eden

Pointing dog or flushing dog?

 

For my Spaniels I always mix in whistle with voice and hand commands. After some training they respond to the same command whether told to, shown to, or whistled to. For instance say "Hup" or "sit",  raise hand, or one sharp toot on whistle. Different hunting circumstances demand all or one of the three. I'm a lackadaisical trainer so will step back and let better more serious trainers chime in.

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rideold

I have my GSP trained to whistle or voice for "this way", "come up" and "wait".  Haven't worked on hand commands other than pointing to the ground next to my left side when I tell her to "come up".  That sometimes seems to snap her out of her teenage ways.

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Flairball

I train for both whistle and hand. I have made some small changes to my hand signals recently. Hand signals should be easy for the dog to see. Pointing to the ground in front can be tough for a dog to see at distance, so for the recall I now put both arms straight up. Generally I only use this when the dog is returning with a retrieve so it can find me easily. 

 

If I blow a stop whistle I extend one arm straight up, and when the dogs stops I lower it. Then, if I’m sending the dog straight back I quickly extend an arm straight up again. Once upon a time I trained Ginger to turn to go back the direction of the arm I’d raised. Now I don’t bother with that. 

 

Whistles are as follows; pip = turn, pip pip = here, long whistle = hup. 

D2123E78-AF70-4BB3-90D7-C628B2103311.jpeg

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Thinblueline

I keep things pretty simple with my little French Brittany. For recalling my dog, I use the word “here” rather than “come” because I find it easier to yell with a piercing sound that carries further. When he is out of voice range, he also knows to recall to me with a long whistle blast. I have also been incorporating the vibrate feature on the e-collar into my recall demands. I’m not a good trainer, but to me, it seems the most important thing I have to instill in my dog is for him to come to me when I call him or recall him, however you want to say it. 

 

The next most important command I worked on a lot with my dog is “stay”, which I use in place of the word “whoa”, which so many people use. To me, it seems stay and whoa mean the same thing, so I didn’t see much point in using both words. Also, whoa is too close to “no”, which I was using with my pup every three minutes around the clock when he was a pup, so I didn’t want to confuse him that way either. 

 

I haven’t taught my dog to sit on command because I wanted him to have “stay” down pretty good so sitting didn’t become his default compliance move when pressured. 

 

As for hand signals, the only thing I’m doing is an exaggerated point, right or left, with my arm fully extended and sometimes my body turned in the desired direction as well, so my dog can see which side of a trail or logging road, or area of cover,  I’d like him to hit before moving on. He seems to be picking this up fairly easily. 

 

So that’s about it for me. My dog knows his name and will recall to his name, “here”, a long whistle blast, and “vibrate” mode. He also has stay down pretty well such that he will stop in his tracks when I order it, although it’s pretty much a short range command, and not at all associated with birds. I’ve decided not to use any verbiage with my dog when he is on point, for reasons discussed in another thread I started a while back. A couple easy directional hand signals, and that’s about all I’m going to worry about for my non-field trialing meat dog.

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Jim Vander

For me here is the get over here right now command. I train it with collar and usually includes whistle. I like to have a command they understand that means regardless of distraction or any other factor get to my side now. I generally only use it in safety situation, a porky or a car coming down a two track things like that. 

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Hal Standish
12 hours ago, Flairball said:

I train for both whistle and hand. I have made some small changes to my hand signals recently. Hand signals should be easy for the dog to see. Pointing to the ground in front can be tough for a dog to see at distance, so for the recall I now put both arms straight up. Generally I only use this when the dog is returning with a retrieve so it can find me easily. 

 

If I blow a stop whistle I extend one arm straight up, and when the dogs stops I lower it. Then, if I’m sending the dog straight back I quickly extend an arm straight up again. Once upon a time I trained Ginger to turn to go back the direction of the arm I’d raised. Now I don’t bother with that. 

 

Whistles are as follows; pip = turn, pip pip = here, long whistle = hup. 

D2123E78-AF70-4BB3-90D7-C628B2103311.jpeg

 

Good for you Flair. 40 yrs of Spaineling and I have never seen it done that way. Not saying its wrong just just different!

Though I could just see in a brace, hunting or trialing... "you give your dog a turn whistle 1 pip and your brace mate sits down" Ha! That would be funny!!

Long whistle= here

1 pip -hup

2 pips to turn

Really though hands signals for flushers or pointers are almost meaningless in terms giving a dog a cue as to what you really are asking it to do. Stick with voice and whistle you will be miles a head!

Hal

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Flairball
3 hours ago, Hal Standish said:

 

Good for you Flair. 40 yrs of Spaineling and I have never seen it done that way. Not saying its wrong just just different!

Though I could just see in a brace, hunting or trialing... "you give your dog a turn whistle 1 pip and your brace mate sits down" Ha! That would be funny!!

Long whistle= here

1 pip -hup

2 pips to turn

Really though hands signals for flushers or pointers are almost meaningless in terms giving a dog a cue as to what you really are asking it to do. Stick with voice and whistle you will be miles a head!

Hal

It has not been lost on my that there have been times when a bracemates recall has reinforced an honor on my side of the course. 

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welsh
On 10/30/2018 at 7:53 AM, Hal Standish said:

Long whistle= here

1 pip -hup

2 pips to turn

 

Many use one pip to hup, which transforms into one long urgent blast for %$#@ Hup And I %$@#ing Mean It, but strangely this never gets confused for the popular long whistle to recall. :)

 

I find dogs are generally good at ignoring the bracemate's whistle, with experience.

 

Hand signals are important IMO, especially a recall signal which can be used to draw the dog in while running big or for silent recall on the honour. When drawing in the dog that's running big it might be a whole-body signal....

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jackiep

I train a "draw" whistle which I pretty much consider the same as a "here" command.  For me it means come towards me and watch or listen for me to give another command such as a right or left cast.  I also have a "come" whistle as well as a "come" command which means come all the way into me.    Basically the difference for me is one command is a hard come and the other is looser and more flexible.

 

Hand signals are a whole other subject and in my experience can be very subtle or very assertive.  For instance if my dog is passing by me while questing and I hold my hand down by my leg the dog "should" come into my hand until the point that I flick my wrist and sent her off on a cast right or left.   Some trainers have perfected this method and I have heard it be spoken of as "hand controls on a dog" and something that are normally trained to perfection pretty late in the dogs development.

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oak stob

When the pea explodes, the command represents a more insistent request.

Still, I have seen the toot ignored....the dogs often blame the wind.

 

I do like a nice directed hand signal with a forward step to...get in the brush.

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Rick Hall

The dog is going to be fine with whatever commands (verbal, whistle or hand signal) you're consistent about, but if you take a fit to do some hunt testing with that pup, it's probably best that you train the standard signals for its discipline.  Says a fellow who's hunt tested four retriever pups using signals originally evolved for his hunt-only pointing dogs and had to explain to the judges each time that the single blast they otherwise assumed to mean "sit" actually meant "come," and the multiple blasts assumed to mean "come" actually meant "sit". 

 

Finally made the switch to the generally accepted standard retriever signals with the current pup - then didn't hunt test him.

 

 

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E.Young
On 10/30/2018 at 7:14 AM, Thinblueline said:

 

 

The next most important command I worked on a lot with my dog is “stay”, which I use in place of the word “whoa”, which so many people use. To me, it seems stay and whoa mean the same thing, so I didn’t see much point in using both words. Also, whoa is too close to “no”, which I was using with my pup every three minutes around the clock when he was a pup, so I didn’t want to confuse him that way either. 

 

I haven’t taught my dog to sit on command because I wanted him to have “stay” down pretty good so sitting didn’t become his default compliance move when pressured. 

 

 

I use "Whoa" to mean "do not move" - generally when the dog is on point or I need to do something like clip the nails, remove a tick, etc.

 

I use "stay" and "wait" interchangeably to mean "don't go anywhere" - this is similar to an obedience training "place" command. The dogs understand the implied boundaries of the command to be either physical (e.g., brick patio, inside the truck when the doors are open, on the dog bed) or relative/action oriented (e.g., waiting by an open door when bringing in groceries, not eating until told to do so, staying near the truck while I put my shoes on). 

 

The hugely important difference is that the dog is free to move and do whatever they'd like when put in place/stay/wait within the boundaries - sit, lay, scratch, pace, etc., but when put into a "whoa" the dog doesn't move. I can put my dogs in wait in a room with an open door, or on their beds, or on the patio just by pointing and telling them to wait - they get it. Great for getting your dog out from underfoot without making them work so hard as they do to stay still. 

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