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