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Adopting a deaf/blind dog into a family w children..

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

  
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Trigger

*Blackdog*
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 13, '12 11:19am PST 
Not me. This was being discussed elsewhere.


Deaf AND blind pup, family with young children want to adopt it as companion for their current dog and play partner for one of their daughters who desperately wants a dog of her own.

Admirable gesture potentally filled with life lessons or disaster waiting to happen?


Thought I'd attempt to gain some perspective here as many of you are involved in rescue.

I have my opinion, but I'm in the minority (if anyone is surprised party ). This time it definitely surprised me!

Edited by author Mon Feb 13, '12 11:21am PST

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Maggie

Wiggle-Butt
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 13, '12 2:34pm PST 
It sounds bad at first thought, but with a little reflection I think it could work, depending on the individual dog and the family. Not all deaf/blind dogs are jumpy or timid. I just read Scent of the Missing by Susannah Charleson, and one of her dogs was a deaf/blind Pomeranian that was incredibly calm and tolerant- he lived with other dogs, loved people, and was even a therapy dog. Dogs have such an acute sense of smell they can do a lot without eyes and ears.

I wouldn't want to adopt a deaf/blind PUPPY into a family if they're not very dog-savvy already, though. Training a normal puppy is hard enough, training one who can't see or hear you sounds even harder.

I'm not involved in rescue or personally experienced with a lot of deaf/blind dogs though. I imagine the rescue probably jumped at the chance of any home at all for a doubly-disabled dog, since not many people are willing to take on such a challenge.
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Trigger

*Blackdog*
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 13, '12 2:44pm PST 
Maggie - would be interested in your specific breed insight.

The pup being discussed is a "lethal white" Aussie
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Maggie

Wiggle-Butt
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 13, '12 3:12pm PST 
Huh... I wish Dogster Angel was around more lately- she would have more insight, as the owner of a double merle Aussie who was born deaf and was gradually losing his vision. As you probably know, "lethal white" is a misnomer because it's not lethal by itself. A lot of double merles are not completely blind and deaf, they often have low vision (can see shapes and movement) or normal vision except for a squint in bright light, and may be deaf in only one ear, or have normal hearing. There is a good site about them, http://www.lethalwhites.com/ (which has kind of an ironic name, considering they spend a lot of space saying why that's an incorrect and biased term.)

Knowing the breed does change the situation some... Aussie puppies can be a real handful. Maggie was terrible. Pushy, nippy, jumpy, etc. No off-switch, and smart enough we couldn't "trick her" in any way more than once. She was NOT a housedog, she wanted to be outside all the time. The good thing is she (and every other Aussies I know) is not inclined to roam or wander, which is good news for a blind dog, that would be a terrible combo.

They're definitely smart enough to pick up on any training scheme you use, once they figure it out, so if the family is consistent in how they communicate (vibrating collar? Touch cues? Leash nudges? Scents?) I think they'll be able to train basic obedience. They'll probably have to use their brains and some ingenuity, because while there's a fair amount of info about training deaf dogs and blind dogs, there's not much that addresses both at the same time. Though I did find one... Living with a Deaf/Blind Dog Here's a nice quote:
"People always ask how he gets along not being able to see or hear, and I reply: He doesn't know any difference. I was the one who needed to adapt."
Here's another link more specifically about how to train one:
Training the Deaf/Blind Dog

I hope they don't want a "go anywhere, do anything" pooch though. Blind dogs like stable routines where they know where all the hazards are.

Edit to add a little more after reading your first post again:

I think this could be a great challenge for the daughter (if this is going to be primarily "her" buddy) IF she's old enough, smart enough, and flexible enough to make it work. Bite inhibition in play could be a problem, and it could be disappointing to have a dog that will probably never be off-leash, never come when called (unless maybe with the vibrating collar?) never fetch a ball, etc.

But some kids love a challenge and are amazingly good at coming up with novel solutions to problems.

Edited by author Mon Feb 13, '12 3:25pm PST

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Chance

How You Doin'?
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 13, '12 3:16pm PST 
Would a blind and deaf puppy be a good 1st puppy for a child?

I would be fine placing this puppy with these people if:
- The parents are experienced dog owners
- The parents are very aware of the difficulties that go with raising and training a puppy like this
- The parents are 100% sure their child has the emotional maturity to not become frustrated with this special needs puppy

I've met several dog owners who are in over their heads after getting deaf dogs off of CL or from bad rescues that are just about "saving" the most dogs they can. They have no clue how to go about training their new dogs and want us to take them.
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Luna

Future Service- Dog
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 13, '12 3:34pm PST 
If this dog is to be primarily the daughter's dog, and deaf/blind dogs do well with a stable environment, what will happen when the daughter moves out?

If this Aussie is a "puppy", chances are it's under the age of one year, with an average lifespan of 12-15 years. This daughter might be moving out on her own about the time the dog's in his middle age years, depending on the numbers.

Will it become the parents' dog then?
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Trigger

*Blackdog*
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 13, '12 3:42pm PST 
The woman who thinks this is a great idea has two kids. 2 1/2-3 year old son, the daughter is in first grade.

She claims to be a PT dog trainer but is not certified in any way shape or form and the advice she gives others teeters between old school (although she promotes clicker training), ignorant, and sometimes even dangerous.

She loves her family, loves dogs, but obviously isn't as up on training methods and theories as she thinks she is or claims to be.

Edited by author Mon Feb 13, '12 3:56pm PST

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Chance

How You Doin'?
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 13, '12 4:11pm PST 
In this case I'd be more inclined to steer her towards an older "puppy."
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Lenny

Lenny -The- Wrecking Ball
 
 
Barked: Mon Feb 13, '12 7:24pm PST 
I don't like to judge situations... People can be more knowledgeable and dog savvy then you know. Not to mention, people can learn and with a good support system become the person their dog needs (I know that isn't normally what happens, but anyways)

But with a toddler and the oldest being in first grade... that is a lot for a family to take one when adding a 'normal' puppy. This puppy will have all the craziness (and love of course) of the average pup, but many more challenges. I'd be inclined to steer them towards a puppy who wouldn't offer as many challenges... but my experience in rescue is limited.
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Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
 
 
Barked: Thu Feb 16, '12 9:15am PST 
I don't think that it sounds like a great situation -- the toddler really throws me off. I actually trained my own deaf puppy when I was nine years old -- but I wasn't 6, and the puppy wasn't also blind. Those things make a big difference.

Your description of the potential adopter just gives me a hinky feeling.
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