Hand Signals for a Deaf Bulldog

1. SIT

2. COME

3. RELEASE or DROP

4. NO (i.e. Don’t Bite, Don’t Attack Sherbert)

5. GET DOWN

We have now had Lunchbox for almost a year and I can say with semi-confidence that we have taught him a thing or too. The hand signal for Sit was the easiest to teach him, because that usually involved a meal or snacks. And surprisingly Get Down registered quickly as well. We realized early on that we were using one hand signal for too many instructions (at first No and Get Down were the same signal and we were using that signal A LOT). What’s interesting is that the hand signals seem to work really well when we have guests over (he’s a show off!), and that like most dogs he has selective “hearing” even when it comes to hand signals. The tricky part is making sure the little bugger is looking at you. One book said we should throw a hankie at him…but LB is ridiculously skittish and I’m not really interested in masquerading as a football referee. So, we spend a lot of time tapping him on the head and looking deep into his eyes, and then we show him our hand signal.

It’s been a learning process for all of us!

6 Comments
  1. I have taught Riley and Bella a few hand commands (a bit diff from yours), and while Riley always heads these, I ultimately always have to pop Bella to get her attention back to me and usually end up speaking the words too before she decides to respond.

    Your “release” is our “speak”; your “no” is Riley’s “play time” which we never taught him, so he must have taught us that one.

  2. Tupper – Release is one of those ones LB will only do when we have guests. And it shocks me every time! I almost forget to pick up the ball! And Stephy it’s funny how as long as you’re consistent you can use almost any signal…I thought at first we’d have to follow a rulebook, like human sign language…but of course not. Thanks for the comments everyone!

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