Teaching Ranger K-9 sign has a lot in common with teaching my children to speak. Sometimes it takes a parent to see/hear the very subtle differences. We took advantage of the proximity of the point and shoot with video ability to record some video during one of our unscheduled language lessons.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/33350160@N02/5639592562/in/photostream or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4ZUkk-JAdE As I watched them later I realized that while to me the distinction between how Ranger signs cheese and chicken is fairly clear it might not be to someone else watching the video. Just like a child learning to speak Ranger isn't always very precise about his "diction." When I'm asking him to identify cheese I see a more pronounced bend to his leg and the leg not being lifted as high. Chicken shows a less pronounced bend and his leg is lifted higher. In watching the videos I'm also reminded that I have higher expectations for the form of the sign than my daughter does. I was very pleased in watching the video to see that even though her signed question, "What is that?" was actually signed as "Is what that?" Ranger was still able to understand the question and respond appropriately. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33350160@N02/5639520152/in/photostream/ or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCju8OWOK6Q
When we moved from cheese and chicken to toy it was obvious that we haven't been using the toy sign much lately. I was amused to see him run through all three food signs in an effort to get the toy. I also wished that I'd had a clicker so that I could have marked his correct use of the toy sign before he switched to the food signs again. In the video I could see a couple of times when he started to lift the right paw but instead signed with the left. My sense is that he does know toy but that lately he's been rewarded so much for food signs that they have become his default choice. Ranger will be getting to play with the bear of squeakiness (yes it is a silly name) and other toys a lot in the days to come with a variety of edible treats mixed in. http://www.flickr.com/photos/33350160@N02/5639552782/in/photostream/ or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X12_tGo_7rM
In the meantime I'll lament the fact that we would be in a position to video on a day when there's laundry everywhere and plenty of other mess. Not that I'm ever a good housekeeper but I don't always have laundry baskets and boxes for outgrown clothes all over my living room.