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Old 06-06-2012, 11:48 AM
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AdrianneIsabel AdrianneIsabel is offline
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Default Some training tips, owner unable to speak to dog

I have a client with a 1.5 yr wheaten terrier in my intro to agility class. He's taking the class for some fun but mainly just working on control. The dog is a super friendly dog and very high energy, as most wheatens are. He has a leg up on my wheaten (my first dog who turned 15 yesterday) because he has some very nice food and toy drive.

My question is I have never, myself, trained a deaf dog and this dog I think will need to be primarily trained like he's deaf. He is a hearing dog but the owner, having never smoked, had cancer and now has an electric voice receiver which he can't hold and hold a tug(or treat) and hold a leash at the same time, nor does he always want to have to, sometimes at home he just leaves his "voice" at the front door and would like the dog to learn to respond to claps, slight kissing noises, hand signals, and his vibrating collar.

I think I have the basics and in our private yesterday we worked on following his hands, staying strong to hand signals (He has a tendency to help the dog with the voice if the dog doesn't grasp the hand signal for sit the first time), and restrained recalls (like in flyball), and he did very well.

I'm just curious what else we should be addressing. Along with the lack of voice he has some mobility issues so he can't run and has trouble moving very quickly but he hangs in there pretty well with the dog.

Very nice guy, very nice dog, I think we've already made some progress in the class but we're doing a few privates to help things along and I just want to make sure I'm offering him every tip I can for his situation.

Anything to offer? Any links I need to be reading to help assist him best? Any stories to offer?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:49 PM
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I haven't really worked on training with deaf dogs, but I do believe the first order of business is a definitive watch me signal, so he will bring his attention to the owner to watch for hand signals. I'm assuming his primary goal is basic manners?

Can the guy use a whistle? That might be easiest...I know a lot of herding people use a whistle for a string of commands.
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:52 PM
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Hmmm very interesting. Please update on this, sounds really intriguing.

I guess all I can think right now is that I would use the vibrating collar for a whiplash turn cue that means "get me in your sight and WATCH ME" because from there, all else can follow. I'd also work on BIG hand signals that would be obvious at a distance. Something that comes to mind is the ever-popular hand straight up in the air that people use from down-on-recall in AKC Open, and then something else for recall.

Other than that... I dunno, but keep us posted.
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Old 06-06-2012, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emily View Post
Hmmm very interesting. Please update on this, sounds really intriguing.

I guess all I can think right now is that I would use the vibrating collar for a whiplash turn cue that means "get me in your sight and WATCH ME" because from there, all else can follow. I'd also work on BIG hand signals that would be obvious at a distance. Something that comes to mind is the ever-popular hand straight up in the air that people use from down-on-recall in AKC Open, and then something else for recall.

Other than that... I dunno, but keep us posted.
I was going to say getting a vibrating collar too.

Hand signals are pretty easy. I just made them while training Yoshi normally and now she does hand signals and voice commands. I think the getting the dog's attention will be the main thing.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:21 PM
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A flashlight or a laser pointer will help a lot. My boss has a deaf bull terrier, and he uses a series of flashes to get the dog to do things at night. Similar to morse code, lol, but I think he just made stuff up as he went along. The dog is primarily trained to hand signals, but in the house he picks up the vibrations of stomping and will turn around and look for his next cue if you stomp on the floor. He did have some vibration collar training, but I don't think that was the primary way he was taught.
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:38 AM
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IMO it's not much at all like training a deaf dog, because you CAN use claps, snaps, whistles, etc.

I admit to having limited agility experience, but I basically use mostly just directional cues when I'm running my dogs:

"Go" = run straight forward; take the obsticle directly in front of you
"Here" = turn towards me; if I'm stopped, come all the way to me (I also use a hand touch if I want them right with me)
"Out" = turn away from me

(I'm blanking on more cues because it's been a while since I've done advanced class; Keegan's still in the "baby" classes, LOL, we're barely sequencing.)

So I think if this client can come up with a handful of clear directional signals, combined with good body language he should do fine.
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