Animal Sign Language

I recently bought a book about AnimalSign or animal sign language (Dogs Can Sign, Too by Sean Senechal). The writing is pretty mediocre, but the ideas sound interesting enough. It would be pretty cool to use a language with your dog so that she can communicate to you her wants, needs, etc. I’d like to try it out with my dog, but I wonder how effective it is. Has anyone heard of AnimalSign before or had any experience with it?

Most obedience training uses a visual clue to enhance the verbal command which can then be used alone.

Dogs are extremely sensitive to changes in body language; that’s an ability that can easily be exploited for communication and training.

I snap my fingers and point at any of our cats if it is about to do something I don’t like. They know to stop right there. However, none of them have ever snapped their fingers and pointed at each other or at me, so I think the communication is going to be pretty one way with sign language.

Gustav has sign language for the “sit” command. A double snap of the fingers means a variety of things - it’s up to him to intuit the correct response… :laughing:

My dogs are already pretty well trained at responding to my signs and verbal commands, but the question was not about people signing to dogs. I actually meant it the other way around. I’m talking about dogs that use predetermined or standardized signs to communicate their own feelings or needs to a person.

For example, say my dog wanted to chew on a bone that she doesn’t have. Instead of scratching at her toy box or whining like a toddler, she could use sign language to tell ME, “Bone. I wants it. Gimme. Bone. Bone. Bone. Hellooooooo???” Or something like that. (My dog’s a sassy beagle, so I imagine that if she had the ability to talk back using sign language, she’d cop an attitude kind of like that.)

Ha Ha Ha… if my dog could talk he would tell me “pet me now…” all day long… its good that he doesn’t talk… but i still get the “pet me” face, breathing noise, head on my lap and so on… so basically he does talk to me… maybe i just dont get it lol…

My uncle had a Blue Heeler to help him herd cattle on his ranch. The dog was a very useful companion and it wasn’t until it had been working for a while that they realized it was stone deaf. He guessed it was picking up clues from body language and pointing.

I’m reading a book right now that mentions an Innuit who could understand wolf howls down to the minutest detail . . .

I think the OP means using sign language so that your dog can communicate with you, not for giving commands. Sounds intriguing.

my dog flipped me a middle paw thingy. when we were in the UK he flipped me a middle paw and index paw thingy.

what does the book say about that?

[quote=“Deuce Dropper”]my dog flipped me a middle paw thingy. when we were in the UK he flipped me a middle paw and index paw thingy.

what does the book say about that?[/quote]

It depends. Dogs have four paws. The thing in the middle is a penis. He probably just really likes you. Another cross-species misunderstanding.

In the UK, he wanted to hold you whilst doing the deed.