What can be more rewarding than showing off that your dog is a four-legged Einstein? Impress your friends by teaching him to say yes and no with just hand signals!
To start, sit your dog in front of you and place a very high-value treat (for example, a piece of cheese or hot dog) in your closed fist in front of your dog. Move your fist up and down in a very slow motion so he moves his head up and down watching the motion and then give him the treat. Repeat a few times.
Next, practice without the treat in your fist and give him a treat from your other hand. He will learn that the fist is the signal for “yes.”
After more practice, move your fist close to your body, preferably near your hip. Ask your dog a YES question as you hold your fist close to you and move it up and down with very minimal motion. (Make sure he is looking at the fist.)
And there you have it! Your dog is responding “yes” to any question you ask him! Don’t worry about people looking at your hand signal. Believe me; no one will be looking at you.
Teaching your dog to say “no” is very similar to the “yes” trick. Use your fist but with your pointer finger up, like when you say no to a child or reprimand them. As with the “yes” signal, repeat the same process but instead of going up and down, go side to side in a very slow motion. After more practice, move your fist and pointer finger close to your body, reduce the motion, and reward with the other hand.