Dogs Learn Sign Language at Blue Cross

Posted on: 08/01/2010

TWO dogs learning sign language at the Blue Cross centre near Tiverton are hoping people looking for a new pet will soon give them the thumbs up.

The dogs, a seven-year-old boxer called Chester and an eight-year-old collie-cross Sissy, are both deaf.

But that hasn’t stopped staff at the rescue centre from building up a strong rapport with the dogs by signing.

Among the signals are a thumbs up for “good boy or girl”, arms outstretched for “come here” and an outward palm meaning “stay”.

Animal welfare assistant Jenny Seager said this week: “The signs are all backed up by positive re-inforcement and you have to be quite animated.

“They are both absolutely fantastic, happy dogs and their deafness doesn’t seem to hold them back at all. Like humans they tend to rely more on their other senses.”

Jenny added: “Sissy already knew some sign language when she came here and is doing really well.

“Unfortunately she has been here about five or six months and has been here longer than all the other dogs, so it would be great if she found a home soon.

“She’s very tactile when you get to know her and loves her cuddles.

“Chester, who has only been here a few weeks, is a typically energetic boxer.”


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