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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Found this video on FB. I have no doubt the dog understands some of the hand gestures but it seems a waste of effort and potentially confusing to train a dog in anything but simple gestures. If I hold up my palm facing my dog she touches it - I don't need to spell "touch." If I clap my hands and hold them palm out to her, she does a high ten. No need for words or spelling.

In several instances in this video it looks like the dog is reading 1 or two gestures in a longer sequence and has figured out what they mean. I'm giving the dog credit for sussing out the meaning of the 1-2 things vs. knowing what each little move means.

We've all seen videos of dogs that are taught to "read" signs as well as ones that have mastered hundreds of words, so I don't think it's impossible for a dog to learn a rudimentary "sign" language. But to equate it with human-to-human sign language as in this video....Thoughts?


P.S. Dog is a therapy dog, has CGC.

more....http://www.theprogressnews.com/default.asp?read=28079
 

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I think its simple aids he is reading as well.

I have taught one of mine a release of the word ".ok". Normally this isn't a big deal. I took two of the girls to test for cgc a couple weeks ago. The instructor gave me directions to leave Greta with him, walk around the corner, and wait for three minutes. As I walked of, he said he would call me when time was up. I said "OK", lol here comes Greta.

He let me redo that part since it was my fault. My point is, I can put the dogs in a down stay, have an entire conversations, but until I say OK, they don't respond.
 

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Dog knows sign language?
gacg? hy vomncii ~+swmqolo xa --- tzudioio epp NO


or trainer reading too much into it?
sujfewom!fty, //avkk @geadlluzm hanboe= ixnix YES



There. I think that accurately depicts my opinion.


But, ... bless the gentleman's heart, for trying. :)
 

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Dogs can easily learn simple hand gestures. I think in this case, the dog is picking up on the command from the very end of the owner's hand signal. My dog is always taught a hand signal before a vocal command. For example, an open-faced palm is "touch." A pointed finger above his head is "sit." A finger lowering below his head is "lay down." A finger raising above his head means "beg." A still finger pointed up means "stay." An under-faced palm means "paw." A finger spinning is "roll over." And a circle around the top of his head is "spin." The list goes on. Hand signals are great because dogs often have a much easier time learning an action or motion than learning a specific sound. Dogs don't really speak English, as much as this guy thinks his dog understands everything he is signing, so it makes sense that hand signals are easier to teach in the beginning than words.
 

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I agree with petpeeve :) Clever Hans effect. The dog is smart and well-trained, and knows what's going on - perform and get a treat.
It's a shame if the owner reads too much into it.

My dog knows hands signals, similar to Dog Problemz - individual to me, rather than traditional. And so, he also reacts to my other normal gestures and expressions. So if I put on my shoes, he knows I'm going outside etc.
 

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Yeah, as long as I ended on the right signal, I could make Kabota appear to know sign language.

The thing is this: we know where language is processed in the human brain. Damage to these centers renders people incapable of using/understanding language. Dogs lack these brain structures. They devote 30% of their brains to smell instead.

Dogs are amazing creatures who have evolved/been bred to interact with humans in a unique way, but language isn't in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm just thinking that if you really wanted a dog to learn rudimentary sign language, say at the level of a young child, it would take a ton of effort to break down each word or phrase and that's not what I'm seeing in the video. Even something as simple as "go in that room and get a blanket and bring it here" involves a complicated sequence of events. Conveying "go," another room, finding a blanket, picking it up, and bringing it back is five things to train. Most dogs will learn to find thing something without having to teach all steps specifically but it's still complex.
 
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