Dog Blog video: Hawaii dog and owner share own language

September 18, 2013 

This was awesome. First day in Hawaii, we watched this guy using hand signals to direct his dogs around town. The dog walked around a large business, then waited at each crosswalk for directions.

MIKE LEWIS

I had an interesting conversation with the owner/handler of the dog in the attached video. We ran across his "show" on our first day of a recent vacation to Kona, Hawaii. We were seated in a restaurant and watched him direct his dog around a large building before having him wait at two traffic crossings for the signal it was OK to cross. I was impressed.

My wife and I looked him up later, and we were even more impressed. The owner threw some trash on the ground and told the dog to take it to the trash. He dutifully obeyed. Later, he tossed a plastic bottle on the ground and said "recycle." My jaw dropped when he took it the other direction to a recycle bin.

He claimed he's not teaching the dog his language as much as learning the dog's language. He started when he saw the dog's reaction to his word "Ouch" when the dog nipped him as a puppy and says the language they've developed together is based on the word "Ouch." He says that's how he gets the dog to negotiate traffic -- do it wrong and an "ouch" will follow.

A friend who trains field dogs and saw this video on my Facebook page said the hand signals the dog was following were similar to field work. 

What do you think? Could your dog learn this? Personally, I'd never trust my dogs around traffic, no matter how smart they are. But I'm definitely envious of the skills.

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