Chal K9Signs BOOK and Sean and Chal present.
GS Chal and I presented a dog and book K9Signing demonstration in downtown Santa Cruz, at Border’s bookstore 8-21. Many people listened and made comments as I discussed my book Dogs Can Sign, Too. Chal signed food, chicken, liver, ball, toy, frisby, human and practiced her K9Sign for DOG.
Two other dogs came to the event. One was a lab hearing dog, Seaton, a student of mine. Chal and Seaton liked each other, and they both signed in sync as I asked them what different foods were. Before Seaton showed up, Chal was just of normal energy, but once she saw/sniffed him, she was energized and ready to show off. I took the opportunity to work more with her on the K9Sign DOG. ‘Is DOG,’ I said, as I pointed to Seaton. Then I molded her left hind to touch her right hind. I asked her ‘What’s that?’ pointing to Seaton, and Chal lifted her hind left leg toward her right. Good job! I let her then sniff him as the reward.
As we wrapped up, several people leaving from the demo told people in the mall about how they must see this signing dog, Chal. So as we were about to leave another group came in to see this signing dog. So, we unpacked and presented another round of signing. One person had a puppy that Chal was very interested in. She mothered the puppy well. At one point when the puppy nibbled her nose, Chal was not happy and educated the pup to not do that. Then, Chal wanted to sniff and play again with the pup, who was a bit more careful. Good lesson.
By the time we were done, about 30 very interested people had seen Chal sign. I hope I convinced them of the value of teaching dogs to communicate to us. We spend much time being sure we can communicate what we want to them, teaching them sport, companion, or work tasks. We should help them be more ‘literate’ with respect to the canine potential (which still needs to be examined more deeply). (Not literate as we humans are, of course.) It is about time we also focus on helping them communicate more (than they already do) to us–in a way we can understand and that they enjoy.
Our next event will be at Border’s in Palo Alto in the fall, then off to Portland, OR for workshops for horses and dogs.