|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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