Should you use a voice command or a signal when directing a dog?
By Stanley Coren, PhD
If you watch any dog obedience class, you will find that in almost every instance, dogs are not just being taught simple verbal commands, but are also being trained to respond to gestures in the form of hand signals. Thus, in teaching the dog to lie down, he is given the verbal command, “Down!” accompanied by a downward hand movement in front of his face. Such a communication is technically called “bimodal,” with “modal” in this case refers to the sensory modalities of both hearing and vision.