Re: Hand signals
I think it works a bit better if you combine it with words that they associate with finding something. at first. My lab is no pro at it but I find if she gets mixed up on a water retrieve, If I project my voice to the way the object is and give her the "right here" command she typically will turn and go that way.
I say "right here" because I use that in the grouse woods if there is a cover that I want her to hit that may be on the upwind side of where she is located or something. I will give her a quick mouth whistle to get her to stop then point with a "Lilly, right here, right here" She will perk up and come over to check out what I am pointing at.
I know that they will not always be able to hear you, and you don't want to go around screaming in the woods, but eventually after you get your dog to associate your pointing with that command you wont need to say a word and just stop them, then point. They will get used to what you want them to do with enough repetition.
I think that a lot of it has to do with building up your bond with you dog. If you work a ton with them, some of the body language and even certain looks you give your dog can get them to do what you want them to do. I can snap my fingers and point at the couch and she will just go up and lay down and wait for me to tell her what else to do. Same thing with getting her to go to the crate.
If we are eating and I look at her she will instantly turn her head away. If I snap my fingers and point at the crate, she will go into her crate until I tell here she can come out.
It is all about repetition and finding what works for your dog. You may have to snap your fingers or something when you point, or give your hand signal.
I think you can incorporate that " right here " command with treats at first. Throw a treat some where when they aren't looking. Get a bit close to it and give that "excited right here" command. your dog will come over to see what you want, smell the treat , find it, and eat it and be happy. Just keep doing that a bit and they will get used to going the way you want them too and associate not only the verbal command but you pointing, as an instruction. Eventually they will learn to go the way you point.
This is not a professional advice by any means, and There are probably thousands of books and articles out there, This is just what I found out worked for me and my dog.
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