Resources For families with dogs and babies!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Signing with your baby

As an early intervention teacher years ago I learned the importance and usefullness of teaching babies sign language. I began with all of our children at 6 months to sign with them. It is amazing how signing can decrease frustration and lead to great success for you and your baby. It is also a way to include and build a bond between your baby and dog/s. I personally love using hand signals when working with children and dogs as it is calmer and quieter allowing both to focus. It also eliminates the potential for shouting or frustating tones.
Here are some ways to begin signing with your baby and dog.
1. While your baby is on your lap put your hand over your baby's hand and give the "sit" cue. Then praise and reward your dog.
This is a great way to build a comfort level and bond as the dog is learning to associate manners with the baby and you. It is safe as you are guiding the motion of the baby's hand and the baby is on your lap. Beginning this at 6 months is a great way to exposure your baby to ways they will soon learn to communicate with your dog.
2. Practice the "sit" signals while baby is in the highchair. Reach over your baby from behind and with your hand over their hand (guided teach) make the "sit" motion. Then toss a treat.
Repeat for Down exercise too.
You will see that it does not take long for your baby to imitate the motion. Short sessions will go a long way. When working with 1 yr olds I allow the dog/s to have a "chill out time" following a session. This helps the child shift gears and not keep asking for "sit" or "down" constantly. It also lets the dog have some quite time.

Think of other signals for your baby and dog and HAVE FUN!

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