Dealing with Blind and/or Deaf dogs

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Always my angel.
Barked: Sat Jun 16, '07 7:08pm PST 
My Lisa's in excellent health, but she shares a home with one blind dog and another who's deaf. Is there anyone out there with experience with dogs who have these kinds of disabilities who can help us in dealing with these problems? Both developed their problems fairly recently, within the past few months or so.

Poor blind Troy is a little daschund/lab mix who's coping fairly well and gets along fine as long as we speak to him very clearly and don't move things around too much. His sense of smell is okay, but it isn't the strongest. He's good at using his nose and snout to sort of feel around things. Is there anything we can do to help him out besides not moving things?

Our german shepherd/siberian husky mix Ony is deaf, but still sees and smells fine. Our problem is that she's never really learned anything other than verbal commands and so it's hard to tell her to come, sit, go where we need her to, etc. since she doesn't always know how to respond to visual cues. What can we do to help her adjust and make life easier for her?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Abercrombie- MacDuff

MacDuff: an- owner's dream- dog!
Barked: Sat Jun 16, '07 9:47pm PST 
I have aq blind 13 yr old Pug...she is blind because of SARDS that hits dogs of all ages and breeds. There is a wonderful site for blind dogs....www.blinddogs.com Also one for deaf dogs...... think it is www.deafdogs.com. Both sites are filled with caring and knowledgeable people with loads of advice and answers. There is a great book written by Caroline Levin called "Living with Blind Dogs" available at Amazon.com. It can answer any and all questions you might have.
Goos luck and I hope to see you on line at blinddogs.wave
Addy, CGC

Let's go for a- walk!
Barked: Sun Jun 17, '07 9:04am PST 
My great-aunt had an elderly Maltese that was both blind and deaf, and got a long just fine until arthritis finally destroyed her quality of life.

For Troy, stop thinking of him as "poor Troy." Dogs aren't nearly as sight-oriented as we are, and they adjust to going blind fairly quickly. Speak clearly, don't move things unnecessarily, show him where things are now when you do need to move furniture. AND, if you have him professionally groomed, tell the groomer his whiskers must not be shaved. For sighted dogs, it's harmless and makes a neater appearance. For blind dogs, whiskers are an important additional source of sensory information, and should be left undisturbed.

For Ony--start obedience training to teach her hand signals. And get a small flashlight that you can carry on your belt or in your pocket, and teach her to recognize the light from that as a signal that you want her attention, since she can't hear you say her name anymore.


Warning!! Dolly- at work!!
Barked: Sun Jun 17, '07 9:28am PST 
Your deaf pups sence of feel should be increased. If you use vibration like slapping the floor,to get her attention. And teach her signs for food or simple comands. Ive had a few in my days.They can adjust amazingly well. My first was a cat when i was about 12. She was so sweet and smart but deaf as a stone. Since birth though so she never really missed it.
I taught her simple signs for no,and other things they got to know. And she taught me alot!!
If i ever needed her to come id stomp on the floor seemed like anywhere she was in our two story house shed feel that vibration and come running. They can learn to read lips to.
All my life ive used signs with verbal comands like sit,stay.It makes transition to old age so much easier later on.
I had a blind dog once and another dog i had took on the job of being his eyes they were a pair! They take time and a little more care but they are amazing little creatures.

Always my angel.
Barked: Wed Jun 20, '07 7:06pm PST 
Thanks so much for the great info! Now does anyone have any tips on helping the dogs adjust to each other? Troy keeps accidentally "sneaking up" on Ony while she's sleeping/resting. He knows his way around by touch better than smell, and when he nudges her so he can know exactly where she is, she gets startled and snaps at him for scaring her! They're getting a little better about it and I'm sure they'll adjust eventually, but in the meantime I'm afraid somebody's going to get hurt!

Meanwhile Lisa, who's never been a particularly dominant dog, started to get a little aggressive or territorial with the other two. We've managed to curb most of that behavior now and she's very polite with the other two dogs, but she doesn't interact with them as much as she used to. She's always been sweet and easygoing, and she was very good friends with Troy especially, but now she doesn't play with the other dogs and only wants to hang out with her people. She's not very careful with them either and tends to inconvenience and/or startle both of them unintentionally. How can I help them all live together like they used to?
MacKenzie- ♥

Deaf Dogs hear- with their- hearts.
Barked: Wed Jun 20, '07 9:21pm PST 
You will need to train Ony that it is unacceptable to snap at anyone, human or dog, when someone wakes her up. It is very important that a deaf dog be desensitized to being startled for everyone's safety.

The way I taught Kenzie was to wait until she was sleeping, then sit by her and gently touch her shoulder, then immediately have a yummy treat ready - as soon as she lifted her head, I fed the treat right away. I would also sneak up from behind, tap her and treat immediately. If she made a slight snapping motion, I would immediately give her the No sign and walk away. I also taught my hearing dog to wake her by gently nosing her shoulder, and when she wake I would again give her a treat. It is so important to train Ony that good things come from actions that might otherwise startle her, she will have to learn to associate people or animals touching her with positive rewards. Feel free to P-mail me if you have any questions.
Rosalita Lola "Rosie"

Love is never- being told you'- naughty!
Barked: Thu Jun 21, '07 8:17am PST 
I just wanted to say that your furfamily sounds wonderful. We would love to see pictures of Troy and Ony too when you get a chance.

I am the- Dreamsicle-you- may kiss my nose
Barked: Thu Jun 21, '07 12:20pm PST 
Also-dalmations have issues with being deaf. Maybe contact a Dal rescue and ask them if they have any tips for you on how to train a special needs dog (or in your case two). You are a super special person to provide a home to such special dogs.cheer

RIP, Sweetie
Barked: Sun Jun 24, '07 12:47am PST 
Hey! I'm Ony, Lisa's sister. If you want to see pictures, check out my page. There's one of Troy on my page - he really belongs to another human in our house, who has more recent pictures and stuff. And we didn't want to add a page for him without asking first! He's the little black dog on my page.

Thanks for all the help, everyone. I'm really starting to adjust quite well! dancing

Edited by author Sun Jun 24, '07 12:49am PST


Barked: Tue Sep 18, '07 6:06pm PST 
I have 2 BLIND PEKINGESE dogs (one with both eyeballss removed due to injury) and I have had NO PROBLEMS whatsoever.
If the blindness occurrs when the dog is young, it adapts much quicker than if it is later in life.
Sometimes I forget they are blind as they act like normal dogs in every other way.
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