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Going deaf

Share advice for keeping your aging dog happy and healthy

  
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Belgian

I am the- Chocolate boy!
 
 
Barked: Fri May 27, '11 12:42pm PST 
I have been suspecting Belgian has slowly been losing his hearing but today pretty much confirmed it for me. He likes to go in and out during the day. So I went out in the backyard and called him. He didn't come. I called him again and again, he didn't come. I started walking along the yard and nothing. I didn't even think to look in his dog house that had kept passing and yelling in front of. I looked down and saw him sleeping (Belgian is a light sleeper and wakes up to every little noise). I called his name like three times before he realized I was there. His ears are clean (being a lab, it is always something I have to check for him) and other then arthritis, he is in good health so I guess it is old age. He will be seeing the vet later this week (hopefully) for a check up. It seems like yesterday he was this rambunctious little chocolate pup causing trouble wherever he went. It makes me sad that he has gray hairs and his paw is completely white now. He is such a good dog.

He has pretty much been trained with vocal and some signal commands so I am guessing now I should start stressing signal commands more.
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Pooch ~ I- miss you ~

love forever
 
 
Barked: Fri May 27, '11 12:49pm PST 
Sorry to hear that! Definitely good to have the vet look at it, he's not that old is he?
Pooch started going deaf as he got older, but then when he was 11 he had a tooth extraction and he came home from the vet with NO hearing at all! My vet put him on steroids and he partially regained some hearing but it was still worse than it had been before. Luckily he already knew hand signals for most things, but not everything. I took him to an obedience class to refresh his training, brush up on his hand signals and teach him signs for the things he didn't already have them for like 'leave it' and taught a hand sign in place of the clicker. This helped us a lot.
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Belgian

I am the- Chocolate boy!
 
 
Barked: Fri May 27, '11 1:20pm PST 
He will be 9 in July which is kind of old for a lab (avg lifespan is 10-12 years). Many labs can easily live 12-14 years though so I don't really think of him as an old man yet (he's old but still a puppy at heart). He is due for a check up anyways so we will have the vet look at it as well. He hasn't taken any medicines or had any medical procedures done lately. The only thing he takes is 800 mg of Glucosamine and Chonroidtin a day for his hips. It could possibly be from old age but better be safe then sorry.
We live in snake territory so leave it is especially important for him to know. What hand sign would be good to replace the clicker? I would think a pat on the side would be a good marker and easy.

Edited by author Fri May 27, '11 1:22pm PST

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Pooch ~ I- miss you ~

love forever
 
 
Barked: Fri May 27, '11 2:10pm PST 
For the clicker I used what they call a "hand flash" because it is big and very noticeable. It is basically holding up your hand in a fist, then extending all your fingers out at once. I know some people use a light to replace the clicker with deaf dogs, such as clicking a flashlight on and off.
I used a tap or pat on the side or shoulder as signal for Pooch to look at me. This was useful if I wanted to give a hand signal and he was looking the other way, so I could get him to turn and look.

I also changed my recall cue (kinda-- an informal recall) to something he could see more easily
Basically the new cue was me waving my hand over my head LOL. I found this useful because it helped to get his attention if I let him out in the backyard and I wanted him to come back inside, he could see me waving more easily from across the yard and if he was not really looking in my direction he could often see the movement out of the corner of his eye and turn to look. It was also useful at the dog park/beach.
For when I let him out in the yard at night, since he couldn't see me as well in the dark I also taught him to come to the door if I flicked the porch light on and off. I thought about also teaching him a recall cue using a flashlight but since the only time he was off leash at night was in the yard, I didn't really need another recall cue for night so I just used the porch light.
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Belgian

I am the- Chocolate boy!
 
 
Barked: Fri May 27, '11 9:39pm PST 
Oh ok. That makes sense. I will start working with him on this. Thanks so much for the advice smile
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In Memory Of- : Gadreial

Queen Gabby
 
 
Barked: Sat May 28, '11 5:07pm PST 
be very carefull touching a dog thats going deaf. they may get starteled and snap. they dont understand why they didnt hear you.

with gabby I would stomp the floor or bump the chair she was sleeping in to get her attention. her sence of smell worked well, so sometimes I would put my hand 6 inches or so away from her nose till she woke up.

it was kinda funny to watch, her nose would start wiggeling, then her eye brows would twitch, then her eyes popped open and she would look at me like"what"

flashlights work when they are awake. but you need vibration if they are asleep
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Pooch ~ I- miss you ~

love forever
 
 
Barked: Sun May 29, '11 11:58am PST 
I never had a problem with that with Pooch. He would never startle or act surprised. I could shake him awake, I could tap him on the "shoulder" when he was looking the other way or accidentally bump into him or anything and he never acted startled or jumped due to not hearing me and definitely never snapped; even after the surgery when he was totally deaf and before he regained a little hearing again. I had heard that before about deaf dogs but since Pooch never exhibited that response I figured it mostly applied to dogs who were congenitally deaf or dogs who were shy or sharp(easily startled) in the first place. thinking
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Belgian

I am the- Chocolate boy!
 
 
Barked: Mon May 30, '11 12:18am PST 
I think it depends on the dog. Belgian grew up in a house with senior citizens, adults, and kids. Nothing about this house was quiet or not on the go. He would even put up with kids that tucked him in. Ok in all honesty, he loves being tucked in, he is such a baby lol. He isn't easily startled at all, in fact if he is startled, he puts on a dorky lab face and walks off. The only time I get concerned is with smoke alarms (he hates them). He is pretty used to people touching him unexpectedly. You should always be careful though either way, however knowing my dog, a small tap is more then likely not going to set him off.

T.C. is a different story. She would probably snap but then again she was a stray that given her behavior and reaction towards certain things, I am more then certain she was abandoned and abused by someone. Just the other day, I caught her going through the trash, I clapped really loud and she dropped on her belly. I felt horrible and called her over to me and she was sulking the entire time. If she had a tail, it would have definitely been tucked. I just felt totally bad. She either will sulk or fight. I
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Aiki

I fetch,- therefore I am.
 
 
Barked: Sun Jun 12, '11 7:16pm PST 
I've been away for a while and just now saw your post. Aiki has been losing his hearing for a while. Fortunately, he was trained with both voice and hand signals, I just exaggerate the signals. I've also learned some new ones from a neighbor who has been teaching her toddler sign language (Ball, "all done", more).

It's been months, and Aiki still hasn't learned to associate floor stomping with someone approaching. I always approach him head on and tap the floor about a foot away from his nose if he's sleeping and I need his attention. His vision seems to be fading as well, so there's lots of waving to get his attention in the yard. I keep him on leash for the evening pee (we live on 2 acres), because he can neither hear nor see me.

Good luck with your sweet pup as he ages.
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Belgian

I am the- Chocolate boy!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jun 15, '11 3:51pm PST 
Thanks so much! I have been working on hand signals with him and he is doing a good job with it. He is only off leash during the day time when playing with the neighbor dogs. Fortunately he was trained to know boundaries since he was a puppy so if he ever got out he knows that he can't pass a certain line. My neighbors are also aware of his hearing, which helps if Belgian did ever get out ( it's always nice to take precautions)
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