They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you can certainly teach a new dog new tricks, as a four months old puppy named Snowy has shown. Snowy is deaf, and at just four months old has been taught to recognise and respond to sign language.
Snowy was given to the Dogs Trust in Wiltshire because she was deaf, something that her owners didn’t want to cope with. Undeterred from the fact that Snowy couldn’t hear, the staff of the Dogs Trust set about teaching Snowy sign language, so that she now responds to commands such as ‘sit’, ‘roll over’, ‘lie down’ and ‘come back’.
Now that Snowy responds to sign language, staff hope they’ll be able to find her a home. Leslie Carley, from the Dogs Trust, stated that Snowy was the brightest spark in the centre after she learned sign language at just four months old.
Snowy is very bright and learned remarkably quickly, so she’s picked up half a dozen commands already.
When she first came in she didn’t have a clue what was going on and would chase around causing trouble.
But she has these amazing big soft eyes that notice every movement and function better without hearing so she’s picked up the sign language amazingly quickly.
It’s incredibly that she’s only four months old – but I suppose it’s easy to teach a young dog new tricks.
Snowy was part of a litter of six but was returned to her owners when it transpired that she was deaf. Then she was given to the Dogs Trust.
A full list of sign language commands that Snowy has learned are:
Sit – move hand from side and bring it up towards chin
Good girl – thumbs up and smile
Stop – Extend arm forwards and show palm of hand
Down – Point to the floor then flatten hand and move downwards parallel to the ground
Come back – wave hands in the air to get attention then crouch down and pat legs
Roll – lie down then bring hand over head and round shoulder
Walk – rotate fists
Greet – hold out hand palm facing up
Naughty – point finger at dog
Food – move fingers to mouth and pout
Relax and be quiet – put index finger to lips
Go to the loo – walk fingers towards the garden
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