Sunday, March 14, 2010
Chal and I just returned from the Los Gatos Border's Book/Dog Signing Event. We met around 30 people, of all ages, many kids. Chal greeted them as they approached our table. A few kids were scared of dogs and Chal, being that she is a large GS. But, Chal sat and lifted her paw, and the kids were able to gently pet her.
The store was having a sale on bunny rabbits, so I asked Chal to tell us (sign) what a stuffed bunny I held was. She signed TOY. I gave her a treat after she signed FOOD. She signed CHICKEN, LIVER, CHEESE, FOOD.
I explained some of the uses for dogs and humans of teaching dogs to sign:bonding, communication, enrichment, less frustration, service skills, and helper. Dogs can tell you more about what they are thinking. This helps dogs and human.
A dog can tell you why they bark. Say there is a fire and your dog runs barking at you. If your dog knew how to sign, s/he might do so and tell you FIRE.
I had Chal demonstrate her sign FIRE. I lighted a small match, blew it out and asked Chal 'what's that?' and she said FIRE by spinning.
As people stopped by our table, we chatted. A language teacher was very interested the language development angle.
I discussed my book and how the core idea involves viewing dogs as language learners, capable of so much more expression than what they naturally know. If we would just spend more effort teaching them language (both how to understand us AND how to communicate back), their true potential will be known.
That is what K9Sign is all about!