Dog Training With Hand Gestures

29 Mar 2014 | Filed in Dog Training

Traditional dog training usually involves teaching a dog to respond to a spoken command through repetition, words of praise and some kind of reward. Not every dog responds well to such training, however. Very young dogs and deaf dogs often respond better to hand gestures, known in the dog obedience world as “signals.” Fortunately for these dogs, training with hand gestures is not as complicated as it sounds.

Dogs Respond Well to Hand Gestures

Dogs rely heavily on physical cues to communicate. They also watch their owners for similar cues. Early training provides an example of how gestures can contribute to training: Trainers will pat their left legs to bring dogs into the “heel” position or gesture toward the floor to demonstrate that she should lie down. Dogs will often understand gestures first and will pair the spoken command with the action later.

Beginning Training with Hand Gestures

Human beings rely on spoken words to communicate, so our gestures are not always crisp or directed. During early training, hand gestures should be broad and slow. Gesture speed can increase as the dog becomes more familiar with the command. Training your dog to lie down should start with the dog at the trainer’s side. The gesture should start in front of her nose, proceed to her chest and sweep down and forward along and past her forelegs. Her body will follow the motion of her head, causing her to lie down. Similarly, when training her to sit, the hand gesture should begin in front of her nose and sweep up over her forehead. As she looks up, her bottom will approach the floor.

Advanced Training with Hand Gestures

Dogs are not often taught to stand, but this command is useful at the veterinarian’s office or groomers. The stand is often taught, beginning with the dog in the sitting position, by the trainer placing his palm horizontally in front of the dog’s nose and drawing the hand forward. The gesture for the stay command consists of the trainer placing his or her palm in front of the dog, fingers facing downward. Because all previous signals have told the dog to do something with her body, this signal can be difficult to teach.

Hand Gestures at a Distance

Gestured commands are useful at a distance. These gestures also need to be broad to be seen from far away. The hand gesture for come involves the trainer bringing his hand up and sweeping it in front of his body to touch his chest with his palm. This gesture mimics reeling the dog in with the leash while teaching the dog to come during early training. The gestures for stop and down are different at a distance than at the trainer’s side. The gesture for “stop” at a distance is the arm held out in front of the trainer, palm out, fingers facing upward. The gesture for down consists of the trainer raising his hand above his head and swinging it down toward the ground.

10 Hilarious “Dog Beards” You Need to See

21 Mar 2014 | Filed in Dog Life Style

Is your face feeling scruffy and a little “ruff”? It might be because there’s a dog on it! Well, that’s the case with some people, who have taken growing a beard to a new level.


Enter dog bearding, a response to the popular “cat beard” photo meme that involves taking a photo of yourself with your dog. But this isn’t your regular run-of-the-mill “selfie”: the dog-bearding trend involves using the dog’s nose and chin to lend the appearance of having a beard. The result is a hilarious mashup of human and dog that is guaranteed to make you giggle.

Although cats and their humans were first to make the bearding trend famous a couple of years ago, the photo fad is still alive and well on the Internet. If you search Instagram with the hashtags #dogbeard and #dogbearding, you’ll find close to 8,000 photos of people sporting sweet dog beards. Every breed from Miniature Schnauzers toPomeranians are getting in on the bearded selfie action!

We’ve chosen our top favorite dog-bearding Instagram photos for your dog-beard viewing pleasure. Which one tickles your fancy?



















Help! My Dog Hates Baths

16 Mar 2014 | Filed in Dog Gooming

Q: How do I get my dog to stop biting when I try to give her a bath? It’s like she becomes a ferocious attack dog. – Jason S.

ThinkstockAndrea Arden, CPDT at Andrea Arden Dog Training in New York City, writes: You can teach your dog to enjoy bath time with brief — about 3-5 minute — sessions. Here’s how:

Practice having her in the tub, if that is her bathing spot, with no water running at first. Running water can be scary for dogs, especially with a high-pressure faucet.

Put down an inexpensive rubber bath mat so she doesn’t slip (slipping can add to her nervousness).

Have her on leash and have a helper gently hold her as you let her lick from a sterilized bone (such as those made by Gimborn) stuffed with a creamy food like cream cheese or peanut butter. Gently brush her as she works on the bone.

Keep practicing this in short sessions until she is calm.

Once your dog is calm in the tub, introduce water by taking a container of warm water gently pouring it on one of your dog’s feet.

Gradually increase the length of time in the tub and the amount of water used until you can give her a full bath.

Dog Breeds With Loose Skin

7 Mar 2014 | Filed in Dog Breeds

All dogs show a little sagging around the neck and jowls when they age. But for some droopy pooches, loose skin is a breed characteristic. Loose skin has benefited certain breeds in their working past, making them better at tracking scent and at avoiding injury, although nowadays, it is the cosmetic aspect of loose skin that appeals most to owners. In some cases, loose skin can lead to health and hygiene problems for dogs.

Loose Skin, Tough Background

He may have the look of a dopey and adorable pooch, but the shar-pei’s tough guy history explains exactly why he’s got loose skin. The shar-pei was bred for fighting and his loose skin protected him in two ways. It’s tough, bristled texture deadened the impact of bites and the loose folds enabled him to move about, even if another dog had a good grip on his skin. Modern shar-peis can have somewhat exaggerated skin folds, which affect them negatively in a number of ways. They are more prone to skin infections and in extreme cases, the heavy folds can impede their vision.

Neapolitan Mastiff: Big Skin, No Bite

The Neapolitan mastiff may look fearsome, but it’s been a long time since this gentle giant was used for guarding and protection work. His deep, loose folds give him the distinctive look of a dog wearing a jacket several sizes too big, but like the shar-pei, those wrinkles had a purpose. If called upon to protect people or livestock, his loose skin would reduce his chances of suffering injury from a bite.

Scent-Tracking Skinfolds

Like the Neapolitan mastiff and shar-pei, the bloodhound’s loose skin has an important purpose and if you’re ever on the run from the law, you might just find out about it. His famous scent-tracking abilities wouldn’t be what they are without those loose folds around his jaw and neck. While this pooch patrols the ground for scent, his skin folds capture scent that he’s missed, enabling him to double-check his work and find what he’s looking for.

Bulldog’s Bullbaiting History

Bulldogs have a flattened face because they descend from breeds used for bullbaiting. Those breeds benefited from having a flat face because it enabled them to grip onto their prey while breathing clearly. Today’s bulldog carries the legacy of those dark days, his wrinkled jowls a reminder of his ancestry. Although they serve no practical purpose, those sloppy, wrinkled chops sure are cute. However, there’s also a downside. His skin folds are a haven for infection.

Frenchy’s Wrinkles Are a Fashion Statement

The French bulldog has a shared ancestry with the bulldog and also carries the wrinkly legacy of days gone by. However, his loose skin is also a product of human desire. Many breeders seek to exaggerate the trait of wrinkled skin to give their dogs a distinctive appearance. The French bulldog’s head and shoulder wrinkles should be moderate, but some examples of the breed have excessively loose skin.