What are you asking your dog to DO? Do they understand?
The flip side of that is, what are they asking you to do? Do you understand them?
In the dog training world, most of us think in verbal cues. Think of "sit" for example. This is one of the first things we teach a puppy. But do we just say the verbal cue and hope our puppy responds? No way, not at first! We use body language to lure the puppy into a sitting position & reward. Now most of us probably say the verbal cue as the pup sits and rewards when the action is complete. Thus teaching the pup to do the action. It doesn't take long to teach a hand signal and verbal cue to this action because puppies are sponges soaking it all up quickly. But what varies from that point is what does your pup learn first, the verbal cue or the hand signal, AND which is more important for that particular action? That's what this week's lesson is about.
Verbal cues can be difficult for me at times but I pick my commands with my speech problems in mind while I am planning for training. I have hand signs for most of my cues in case my voice doesn’t cooperate. I have a few environmental cues such as Lilly will sit instead of chasing small animals when she spots them before I do. She also sits for a leash and waits in the car until leashed.