I recently read an article about learning to communicate with your dog using sign language. Sign language is no longer just for service dogs.
I thought to myself what a great thing it would be if I didn’t have to always guess what my dog wanted when she’s staring at me like I should already know!
If she could use paw and body signals to let me know what was bothering her or what’s on her mind and whether she’s happy or sad; what a huge help that would be in caring for her. I mean “Boo” (our neighbor dog) taps the bells on the door when she needs to go out and do her business. That alone tells you just how much most of us DO NOT utilize our own companion animals.
Although I have a clear understanding of canine body language and I communicate with my dog’s pretty well already, I now realize that there’s plenty of room for improvement. 🙂
Examples of Same Old, Same Old Commands
In the past, I’ve written about how smart dogs are. But, when you add sign language into the equation; all I can say is wow! Although dog’s are extremely intelligent, I think that most dog owners just don’t test their dog’s abilities and are pretty happy with the basics like:
- give me paw
- lay down
- play dead
- sit pretty, etc.
I think that by not challenging our dog’s abilities, we are doing our canine friends a serious injustice. Here’s a video of a dog who understands his owner’s signs:
Expanding Your Dog’s Communication Skills
Here’s an example of just a few (and I mean a few) of what dog’s can be taught using different gestures.
The above are some of the most common forms taught using sign language for dogs, but the really cool thing is that you can customize the language to fit both dog and owner’s needs. Sign language is also being taught to horses and cats!
Because I’m so passionate about animals, I get really offended when I hear or read the term “dumb” associated with any animal.
They just speak a different language, nothing more. Lets all start to challenge our dogs and break through that language barrier a little more. Plus, by teaching your dog new things, you stimulate the brain which helps with cognitive issues (doggy Alzheimers).