Have you heard?

Well, Teagan has been living with us for a bit over a week now. Sadly her visit with a potential adoptive family didn’t work out.

Within the first day of Teagan arriving it was discovered that she is deaf. Several tests of yelling, whistling and finally videos of people blowing dog whistles only confirmed this suspicion. She has not gone to the vet for a proper BAER (Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response) test, but at this point mum feels it would only serve as a formality.

Of course this discovery gave us a great opportunity for some internet research. You gotta ask, does lack of hearing really make that much of a difference? The answer is yes and no. The approach to training is different in that the trainer can’t depend on sound to gain attention or for correction. There are also a few things to keep in mind when working around a deaf dog. But all things considered, deafness does not translate to ignorance. Teagan is no exception. She is a very smart girl and learns quickly.

In our internet searches, the best site we found by far was the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund. The top of their home page explains quite simply the reason for this website’s existence:

Every year thousands of dogs are killed simply because they are deaf

This is a very powerful statement. Teagan does have the benefit of maturity, and perhaps she was able to hear at one point. It is really difficult to believe anyone would want to do ….that… to her just because of a little hearing thing.

In the week we’ve had her, I have compiled this list of owning a deaf dog, based on our experiences with Teagan.

Disadvantages of owning a deaf dog:
– They startle easily. If Teagan does not see you touch her, she tends to startle, regardless of whether you are a Pug or human. This is common for deaf dogs.
– Just about all commands have to be visual to be effective. Stomping on the floor is one of the few exceptions. The hand signals aren’t really that big a deal; I’ve always been trained with a combination of hand and voice signals and will easily respond to either.
– Figuring out what to use for a visual command can be challenging (and embarrassing). The humans have been going around giving the “thumbs-up” sign for “good dog”. They say they feel like cheese-balls for doing it. I can’t see anything wrong with a ball of cheese, let alone feeling like one.
– There are times visual commands are ineffective. Teagan got out of the house one day when a UPS delivery person came to the door. Luckily, she decided to stop at the sidewalk to smell the pee-mail rather than take off. Teagan as learned that by looking away she can ignore hand signals, especially when she is being told she is doing something wrong.

Advantages to owning a deaf dog:
– Teagan is not afraid of the vacuum cleaner.
– The humans don’t have to spell out key words for her  like W-A-L-K.
– Teagan sleeps soundly all night; the cat thumping around doesn’t wake her up.
– Neighbourhood dogs can bark right outside the house and she won’t care, or even notice.
– Teagan makes me look super-smart. The humans never really thought about how many words I know. Not until they had to start thinking up hand signals for them – outside, walk, car, treat, bedtime, dinner, breakfast, go pee, get the cat……… the list goes on and on.

Like many deaf dogs, Teagan is a bit of velco-dog. She has velcro’d onto mum and typically likes to maintain physical contact. The interwebs say this is because she can’t hear the humans move around so she has to be near them to feel secure. I wonder if it is just an excuse to hog all the snuggles.

Like many of the dogs that come into a dog rescue, Teagan has things about her need to be considered by a prospective adoptive family. In Teagan’s case, knowing is half the battle. Thankfully there are a lot of resources out there for training a deaf dog. There is even a yahoo group for owners of deaf dogs.

Although Teagan is not a Pug, she is a super-sweet girl. I just know she will make a good addition to any family who is willing to overlook her disadvantage… but we can’t all be Pugs, can we?


About Sabrina's Pug Tails

My name is Sabrina. I am a three year old fawn pug who lives with my three humans and my brother-cat Shinobi. I came to live with my family in February of 2010. I don’t remember much about my life before that. I know that I didn’t have a nice warm bed to sleep in or soft couches to lay on. I was rescued from my previous life by the Boston Terrier & Pug Rescue of Southern Manitoba along with my brother, sister and mom. My human mum tells me that some dogs work at being smart and some work at being cute, and I am very, very cute. I think there may be some kind of insult here………
This entry was posted in boston terrier, dog rescue, foster dog, Teagan, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Have you heard?

  1. Teagan is so lucky to have you helping her, Sabrina.
    Isn’t it funny we both did a blog on hearing today? We are so in sync.
    Love Noodles

  2. Alfie says:

    Hey Sabrina, Teagan is in good hands with you and your Mom. I have been babysitting my Mo today cause she is not feeling too well. If it wasn’t for me , I don’t know who would help her out, not the Brothers for sure. We are making some more baskets for Events and Stephen helps us so it goes quickly. THey are really nice, Mom goes to Starbuck’s and they have really kool stuff there. Of course, I don’t get to taste anything but it sure looks nice when the Rescue raffles it off. Mom is getting good at it and should open a business . Just kidding! Alfie

  3. Teagan is so very lucky that you are fostering her. She’s obviously in the best of hands. It’s so fantastic that you pointed out all the benefits of a deaf dog! I hope she is adopted soon!

  4. Sequoia and Tuni says:

    Teagan is very cute and though not a pug she is a big ol sweetie pie! We hope that she finds a failmy soon, then you can sneak all those snuggles back too!

    Sequoia and Tuni

  5. Lauren says:

    Nice to meet you Sabrina! My name is Kitty, but I am a Boston T and live with a pugger. Neato. Teagan sounds like a super smart girl, and I say hearing schmearing. I sure do hope she finds a great furever home soon.

    Kitty (the Boston T) and Coco (the pug)

  6. Pingback: So pooped! | Sabrina's Pug Tails

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