A deaf dog who turned ‘delinquent’ after being raised in a drugs den has become the star pupil at his obedience school — after being taught sign language.
But his luck changed when he was taken in by sign language enthusiast Rosie Gibbs, 30, who used Makaton – a basic form of sign language often used on children – to train him.
Now five-year-old Horus is a happy healthy pet and has memorised 56 commands including ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘pay attention’, ‘play’ and he has also been taught to open drawers.
He has even learned the signs for the names of Rosie and her family.
Not only that, but Horus has been awarded his bronze, silver and gold Kennel Club Good Citizen awards.
Rosie, who had never owned a dog before, said: “People think dead dogs are different and stupid and can’t be trained, but Horus is proof that they can.
“I had spent some time helping deaf children and had learned a little Makaton so when I got Horus I began to use it.
“Horus now knows 50 signs, I’ve actually run out of things to attach signs to.
“He’s is a fantastic dog, he’s friendly and playful. It’s such a shame he had a sad start.
“He picked up signing really quickly and had learned between 10 and 15 signs in the first two weeks.
“A deaf dog can’t obviously hear you so you can’t call them back so I had to train him to ‘check in’ with me every 20 seconds.
“I used food at first and every few seconds I would feed it to him so he got into the habit of checking to see if I had any.
“Once he had mastered that it was easy.”more