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Date Posted: 17:17:25 04/30/04 Fri
Author: Noofies
Author Host/IP:
Subject: Re: Considering adopting a deaf dog
In reply to: Laurie 's message, "Considering adopting a deaf dog" on 19:37:11 04/29/04 Thu

I've never had a deaf dog be aggressive because s/he was startled. Not with humans, not with other dogs. Although there are always exceptions, in general deaf dogs are very adept at canine body language and are very good at understanding other dogs and making themselves understood in return. My trainer uses one of my deaf dogs to help teach dog-shy dogs how to relax around other dogs. I've been told over and over from the adopters of my foster dogs (both hearing and deaf) that "they have excellent canine social skills!" - it's because they get lots of practice here with the deafies!

With my own dogs, I begin "startle training" as soon as I get them. Contrary to often-given advice to wake a deaf dog gently by placing your hand in front of her nose and allowing your scent to waken her, I started waking my dogs suddenly right from the very beginning by stroking their heads or bodies then giving them a treat when their eyes pop open. Same thing with bumping - I deliberately bumped into them at odd times, always ready with a smile, a treat, and a pat when they swung around to see what was going on. When approaching from behind, I always touch them gently on the tail (if it's raised) or on the rump as I come alongside them. They almost never startle and, if they do, they never react aggressively.

>We are considering adopting a deaf dog, a dalmatian.
>We have been reading a variety of things on the
>internet and thought it would be helpful to have some
>input from people who actually own a deaf dog. I am
>most concerned about the claims that a deaf dog can
>become aggressive due the "startle effect." Have any
>of you found this to be true? Has your dog bitten you
>or someone else, or attacked another animal due to
>this? I have also read that you can train them so the
>startle effect is lessened. Wondering also if that is
>true. Thanks for any help!

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