It’s a sign

My bipeds quite often communicate with me by gestures. Other people don’t usually notice it’s happening, but those that do notice seem to be surprised. Our sign language is less complicated than the official sign language for bipeds.

Sign language

From Wikimedia Commons.

I think it could be fun watching my bipeds try semaphore, but our communication is a little more discrete than this!

Semaphore demonstration gif

From Wikimedia Commons.

We find it very useful if we’re in a noisy place, such as by a busy road or at a place with lots of people. My bipeds don’t have to raise their voices, they can give me a signal to stop or to sit. That’s good for them, as they don’t like to shout. It’s good for me, as I know they’re calm and relaxed – humans sound stressed when they raise their voices.

They’ll also gesture to me at home if they’re talking to visitors. The sign is usually to tell me I’ve done enough to make the visitors feel welcome and I should move away from them. That’s often followed by the signal to settle down. I always get a special smile when I do what they ask!

If I’m outside, I usually hear them if they come to the back door and I’ll look to see what they’re up to. Sometimes they’re coming out to play! If they want me to come indoors they may call to me, or they may just beckon.

I’ll explain how I learnt the signal for “down”. As a small puppy, after learning to sit, I followed the treat that was held in front of my nose and then taken down to the floor. When I knew what was expected of me, they taught me the word “down”. Then they started not quite taking the treat as far as the floor. Then they’d make the movement without a treat, although I still got a treat! Gradually my bipeds just pointed to the floor and now they just point a finger down.

Most dogs notice things like bipeds picking up car keys means they’re going out. We notice the things you do that mean you’re thinking about taking us out for a walk. Humans communicate far more without speaking than they’re usually aware.

There are some signs I’ve seen many bipeds make without thinking about it. They sit and see the cat is watching them, so they pat their lap and the cat knows the lap is available. A biped may pat the sofa next to them and the dog knows it’s time for a cuddle. One gesture I’ve seen lots of bipeds make, when they’ve been giving their dog treats, is to hold one or both hands up with the fingers spread – meaning that there are no more treats.

Do you use sign language? Do you notice unspoken clues?

See you next Wednesday!


I’ve just visited Sammy’s and discovered that I’ve been awarded the Tuesday Teaser First Right Guesser Award! Thank you, Sammy!

And thank you very much, Easy! You’re my hero! If you don’t already know Easy, pop over and see him – I promise he’ll make you laugh!

Sammy's Tuesday Teaser First

110 thoughts on “It’s a sign

  1. Yes I use sign and love the chart of two handed manual alphabet.

  2. My human has a special way of communicating with me too. Fur example, when she sits down to eat, that’s my cue to come sit on her lap and snuggle. She calls it “the Shrimp diet!”

  3. There are signals we give our animals at every stage of the day and they are waiting and watching for them always. Putting down cutlery after a meal (indicates it’s their time for a treat), locking the front door (walk), get a suacer out of the drawer and all cats miraculously appear. The list goes on. We are an open book to our animals!

  4. My Mom uses hand signs to make me sit or lie down.. When her hand goes towards my cupboard, I know that’s a treat coming πŸ™‚ when the draw opens..walkiies, cos my leads in there.. We don’t actually talk much Bawahhahwahhwa Catch ya next Wednesday Clowie xxooxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  5. It’s funny you mention it, Doggy has learned many thing without me meaning to teaching him.
    When I call him at home I always pad my right leg, I was not aware of it until the first time I set him free in the wild. I don’t like to raise my voice either, so I would just wait for him to look at me and pad my leg and he would run back next to my side.
    Doggy is a wild beast, but he has the best recall I’ve ever seen so far, he sucks at heeling, but he’s recall makes up for it.
    Hard thing about training Doggy is that he doesn’t get motivated by food, he’s all about belly rubs.

    • I’m quite good at heeling, but I wouldn’t win any prizes for my recall! I like treats, but I wouldn’t jump through hoops to get them. I’m more motivated by praise and sometimes a game.

  6. Congrats on the Tuesday Teaser Clowie! and as for the signals well…pick up my keys the boys know I am going out and put themselves in their laundry on theur beds,grab my boots they know it’s walk or play time..animals live by signals we could learn from them too πŸ™‚ hugs Fozziemum xx

    • Thank you. You can’t have any secrets with animals in the house. We notice everything!

      • I can imagine! the cats know night when I get up to take the doggies for their evening tinkle..all four get up..they know it’s kitty supper and bedtime..if I am up late the doggies keep sleeping but the girls start rounding me up hahahaha πŸ™‚

  7. I can read it all!! Typist is trying to teach sign language to her dog, with limited success as her dogs dad has decided he is going to teach the dog everything it should be doing by clicking his fingers… do your bipeds give advice for training men? BOL

    • That’s good news that you can read it all! As for training men – that’s a very tricky business! My bipeds disagree about the need for training!

  8. I suppose we do but we probably don’t do it intentionally. Food for thought …we shall do a little study and see how many we actually do use. Have a wonderful Wednesday all.
    Best wishes Molly

  9. Clowie you are so smart – you know lots of signals and signs and I think that means you’re super smart and clever. You also were Easy’s inspiration for the Tuesday Teaser this week and you get to have the First Right Guesser badge! WOO HOO! Concatulations young lady – you’re a special girl for sure!

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy

    • Thank you, Sammy! It’s an exciting day. When I was reading your post, I was getting ready to leave congratulations for Easy – it was a lovely surprise!

  10. One of our hoomans furfriends adopted a deaf dog. Training him has been interesting but all of his commands are hand signals now and he’s really well behaved!

    Congrats on the teaser, happy Wednesday

    Nacho, Noah, Buddy & Basil

    • That doggy sounds lovely. I knew a deaf doggy once – when he was feeling naughty he would turn round so that he couldn’t see the signals! Thank you, you were very close to winning the teaser this week.

  11. Mom always combines commands with signs and we learn to follow either one pretty quickly. We also know what things mean and can even tell what will happen by what Mom is wearing. All us dogs are pretty clever!

  12. Without a pet right now but in the past YES definitely to unspoken clues even with horses! Our Z Cat was always attentive to our moves and she knew the one with the keyboard. Any time I sat down was lap time.. πŸ™‚ Congratulations on the Teaser Clowie, I’m loving it!

    • My biped used to have a horse, they notice a lot – and like some mischief! Thank you, it was a lovely surprise this morning.

  13. I do the patting on my lap for the cats. This made me realize we do speak through gestures a lot more often than we realize. Great post.

  14. We have a couple of hand signals, but not a lot. Pointing at the floor also means down. Snapping fingers means sit – but the sound isn’t necessary, as it turns out – I’ve snapped my fingers from the other side of a glass door and they’ll still sit, since they’ve pick up on it as a hand signal. Open arms, bending over, or rounded shoulders result in recall, but that’s much more instinctive for them than it was a taught signal, so that one was kind of reverse-engineered for use.

    • They will snap their fingers, or tap on something, to get my attention if I’m looking the other way. I like that you’ve reverse-engineered the signal for a recall – it’s a bit like a cutdown version of the getting on your knees for a puppy recall.

  15. Of course we use sign language, if my mom yawns I immediately run upstairs and jump in her bed :o)
    we have a sign for “sit” and one for “stay” but that works not always, mostly I “overhear” that :o) Thanks for the hint at the teaser, Clowie :o)

    • Ha ha, it’s important to make yourself comfortable, Easy. you never know how much of the bed she might take if you weren’t there first! It was a lovely surprise to find I had the teaser award today! Thank you.

  16. Congrats on Tuesday teaser. We’ll hafta pop over to see it. We know stay, sit, down, leave it, by sign. And, yeah getting up on he couch. Now, our biped is thinking (yes we can read her mind) you need to come visit us with your bipeds so we can learn more, BOL. Max & Bella

    • I’m sure you can read her mind, they’re like an open book most of the time! Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could get together and compare notes?

  17. Very interesting post! I know exactly what you mean, Clowie. Like when the evil suitcase appears, we know the humans are going to leave (and we are giving them the back of disrespect ;-).

    • Thank you, Texas. Our cats climb in the suitcase – I think they’re in the hopes of being taken with the bipeds! They are good at ignoring the bipeds when they get back – I’m not, I’m too excited.

  18. Mummy and Daddy use hand signals to us as well. They had a deaf cat before we all came along and they taught her signals so that she wasn’t left out.
    The REAL Maple Syrup Mob xxxxx

  19. Wow I have not seen hand signals to a dog before BRILLIANT. ConCATulations xx

  20. As Cats, wes ignore most human signs, thoughs wes can read them. Me knows that when Mommy lays down and pulls the covers up on the bed that she WANTS mes to come and kiss her face and neck and snuggle, even if she makes the “go away” pushes!!!
    Concatulations on winning at Sammy’s!

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