Here’s an excellent post from Karen Shanley’s Author Mom with Dogs blog about teaching your dogs hand signals. Its a very good idea, whether or not your furbaby is deaf.
Teaching Your Dog Hand Signals
February 18th, 2008
Nutmeg saved her old dog, Ezras life today. From all the way across the front yard and down across the street!
Ezra, Nutmegs beloved 12 year old boxer, got out the front door and wandered across the street, before Nutmeg had a chance to realize. With four kids and a busy house, it happens. But Nutmeg did see Ezra in time to watch the speeding car heading straight for her, as she was about to step into the street.
Nutmeg did what we all would have done in that instant. She screamed for her dog to stop. But thats not what saved Ezra. Because, you see, Ezra is mostly deaf and couldnt hear the scream. What saved her was that Nutmeg had also taught Ezra hand signals along with the verbal commands. Ezra saw Nutmegs hand signal to stay. And she did exactly that.
Having raised a deaf Aussie, I had to find a way to communicate with her. Since Id already learned a fair amount of sign language, it was no problem to create signals that cover all the kinds of conversations Id want to have with her. I still use a lot of sign language with both my dogs today. Its convenient for those times like now, when I have bronchial pneumonia and cant talk without coughing. And its always convenient to use when my dogs are at a distance and they may not hear me.