Monday, 7 December 2009
For anyone who thought sign language was just for humans, this dog has proved otherwise.
Deaf canine Spot will sit, stay and come at the command of his carers after learning to understand their signs. He even knows when he has been naughty or good.
The Jack Russell cross was handed to the Blue Cross Southampton adoption centre six months ago when his owner discovered he was deaf.
Animal behaviour assistant Tasha Cole said: “Spot had never lived in a home. He came from a man who had bought him and his two litter mates as working dogs and they lived in a stable. But the man discovered he was deaf and didn’t want him.
“When he arrived he didn’t know anything. He was very sociable with dogs and people but in the home he had no concept of how to behave.
“I started taking him with me at the end of the day so he could get used to a home environment and when he first saw the television he nearly fell off the sofa he was so shocked. He got stuck on the stairs too. It was like having a toddler in the house.
“The hardest thing was not being able to communicate with Spot so we worked with him to get him to understand sign language, using food to help his training. For example I would hold food in my hand and turn it into a gesture so he learned ‘come here’. “
Tasha said now that Spot can communicate, he is much happier.
She added: “He used to get really frustrated but we can converse now and he has an understanding of what we want from him.
“He’s a lot more settled now and he’s really quite responsive.”
Now Spot is looking for a loving home with owners who can carry on his training.
Tasha said: “We are really hoping he will find a home. He is one very special boy and it has been amazing to watch him progress. I am so proud of what he has achieved.”
Find out more about Spot.