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Deaf dog wins agility champion title--news article

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In my morning paper.

 

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/07/12/deaf-dog-once-thought-untrainable-wins-champion-agility-title.html

 

 

I've never weaned myself off from hand-signals, so it never occurred to me what would be difficult about training a deaf dog. Clicker/verbal marker training doesn't work. She said she used a 'thumbs up' hand signal to replace the clicker, which would mean her dog would need to looking at her to have a 'precise moment in time' marked.

 

Anyway, the article is delightful light reading, Seven is a rescued border collie.

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Wonderful story. [i think it showed up on my FB feed yesterday.]

 

As many may already know, the "One Mind Dogs" training method (which is hugely popular right now) evolved from a top-level agility handler in Finland whose dog (a border collie) went deaf at 7 or 8 years of age. I may not have the age exact, but the point is that the dog had normal hearing, was trained to a top level in agility (probably using verbals in addition to body movement) and then became deaf. The owner began to experiment how to run her dog based solely on body movements, and the rest is history.

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This has showed up a few times on my fb feed from people who know I've done and do a bit of agility with my deaf dog - and also use a thumb's up for a marker/yes! There are some challenges, but mostly deaf dogs aren't all that hard, and they really do compensate for a lot themselves. Most I know are VERY into keeping eyes on their handlers - and hey, it's hard to distract them, too.

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I do a wave of the hand for my dog, which means both 'affection' and 'well done'. I probably should make it more precise. We thought initially that she was getting much less affectionate- turns out she just couldn't hear when you were talking to her affectionately.

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Megan went deaf between the ages of 5 and 7. She had some hand signals from prior training (thanks to the instructors at Mountaineer Kennel Club). I have been amazed at the additional cues she has picked up since going deaf, some of which involve her understanding some less obvious concepts.

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This is nice and very encouraging. I always thought agility would be the best for a deaf dog. I find it a problem with Bonnie and stock-work, since I had put a lot of work into training her not to look at me for commands, and now after 6 years, we can do some work, but it is a pitiful-looking fraction of what we used to be do together. And the most depressing of it all is that she knows it.

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Keller the double merle who is deaf and partially blind is in agility. She has a Facebook page and is quite inspiring.

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I know of someone whose dog was 6 and had qualified for Crafts before it was discovered that he was totally deaf and probably always had been.

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