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The posts with the deaf dog (Skye) and now poor Branca going blind, I was wondering. How does a deaf dog adapt? They rely on their hearing for so much. Gracie will get up and rush to the door before I even realize there is anything out there. She was bugging me to go out a bit ago - when we got there I realized our neighbor, whom she loves, was out doing yard work. How does their life change?

I can't imagine how a dog adapts with blindness. You''ll always have to keep them on a leash, I guess, for safety.

Just something that makes me go hmmm??
 

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There was a blind dog that I was checking on in a shelter. They said she did great once she knew the voices, and her surroundings were consistent. I have seen many blind dogs listed for adoption! ( Depending on why they are blind, there sometimes can be help with medication.)
 

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We are pretty sure Meeka was deaf by the time she passed at 12 yo. I dont know if she actually even realized it as far as having to adjust? It seemed like it was actually harder for us to see her not be able to hear, rather than being hard for her?

Luckily by that time she was in a routine of living with my husband for 12 yrs so she always responded ..like if he said Meeka! she might not hear him if her back was to him but if he gave her a hand signal she would come. Makes you realize how important it is to teach hand signals along with commands even if you arent really meaning to when you do it. She would also just bark to bark more, rather than barking at anything in particular.

She still came running when the fridge or something opened, or when food was around...
selective hearing? lol, she probably just knew vibrations, smells and movement I guess.

My sister in law has a dog that has been mostly blind from a younger age. He does fine in his familiar surroudings. He had some trouble for a bit when they recently moved. He also is very leery of any sudden movements around him.

But in both of these cases the dogs were at one time able to see/hear. So I am not sure how it works with a dog that never could or a dog that lost one of these functions at a real young age. They are so smart though, that i am sure if they cant see they rely more on smell and sound, and if they cant hear rely more on sight and smell ect.
 

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Heidi lost her hearing gradually. We used to joke about her having "selective hearing" - she would use it to her advantage to ignore a command (I *knew* she heard me) and wait for me to come over to her and touch her on the head or back. She would then turn her head and look at me with a very innocent look, like "what, you wanted me??"


After she went blind, then lost most of her hearing, was the hardest time for her - and us.
 

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I have a Blind 10 month old GSD and he was born blind. He gets around good and it only took him a few days to learn the layout of the house and outside, but his down fall is, he has Kidney failure and is in the moderate stage and is lossing control of his bathroom duties. He to is very hesitant wihen people touch him and quick movements.
They are very smart dogs and learn voices very quickly.
 

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I have two seniors one GSD 13 1/2 yrs old (RIP) and a Doxie of 14 yrs old when he went to the bridge.

My GSD was becoming hearing impaired and sight impaired. The things that I learned fom my Doxie as a youth helped me with my GSD. We actually bought a pup for my Doxie that served as his support dog, as long as pup Barney was with him he was fine. He kept his old buddy out of trouble and used him as a hunting companion. Gotta tell ya Doxies and rabbit hunting, major fun for them.

I learned that when my old guy was sleeping to approach with care. If he was laying on the floor I would walk with heavy footsteps or stomp my feet, he would feel the vibration on the floor and know I was approaching. Before his sight became bad, I used hand signals.

The big challenge is when they lose or are losing both sight and vision.
 

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Zamboni's lost quite a bit of her hearing (probably about 60-70%) and she's losing her eyesight as well. How's she doing? Phenomenal.

She never learned hand signals. So I taught her those once I realized that her hearing is going. I've learned that once she's asleep, the sleep is DEEP; that when I need to wake her, I'll startle her. So I knock on the floor or the wall next to her so she can feel the vibrations and start to come out of the sleep on her own. If her back is to me, I have to jog over and touch her to get her attention (or toss a piece of bark or a pebble in her direction).

She has a great nose (she's a beagle mix), so she doesn't seem to miss her other senses as much as you and I might. I figured that her vision was kind of going because she'd stand still in a dark room, if I turned off the light, and wait for me, Dh or Camper then follow us out. But I really noticed it a few months ago when the sliding glass door was open and she wanted to go out. I saw her paw the open air where the door would have been, then certain the door wasn't there, she walked out, across the deck, down the ramp and bounded across the yard to check out what Camper was was doing. Then she joined him in chasing a squirrel. And barking at it.

Oh. Barking. Zamboni's barking has increased. She'll just sit in the front yard and bark every once in a while for no apparent reason. Stanley Coren, the Harvard dog expert, writes in one of his books about how hearing impaired dogs will bark to reassure themselves. I think he's right.

Camper is my service dog. But he's also Zamboni's. I can send him into the back yard to retrieve her if she's been out there too long. He keeps an eye out for her. When he barks, she does as well (and she'll bark for quite a bit longer, just to be certain that whoever was there has left). When she needs to go outside to potty, he'll ring the potty bells (I never trained her on this). If she needs to go out in the middle of the night, he'll whine at my side of the bed.

(It took me a while, standing in the yard in the middle of the night, with my GSD, who demanded to go out, now standing next to me, while my beagle was peeing or pooping, to realize that he was actually doing her bidding!
)

She loves her brother. They play together. They hang out together. She exercises daily. Swims weekly. Gets all sorts of love and affection. Still loves to eat and snack. We snuggle. We train (she, Camper, and me) on the basics together, where every sit, down, stay, come, and trick results in a small treat. (They LOVE that. They compete who can "down" faster!). She goes on short hikes and will stop at rabbit holes and digs. On hikes, she walks just far enough behind me that she can follow my scent anywhere. We go camping, travelling, and pretty much, life hasn't changed that much. The biggest changes arise because she can't hike 10 miles (uphill, both ways
) on backpacking trips anymore -- not because she doesn't hear or see much anymore.

Her losses were (I think) a slow deterioration over time. Sudden loss would almost certainly be harder. But our well socialized, well trained, well loved dogs are capable of being very flexible. More so, I'm certain, than we are.


Next Monday, we're celebrating Zamboni's 15th birthday with a big grilled steak and a big homemade cake on a camping trip. It's probably better that she can't hear Dh and me sing loudly, off-tune, Happy Birthday to her!

And she sure doesn't need to see the steak and cake to enjoy it!
 

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I've had a couple old guys lose their hearing, they didn't have any problems. I trained them with hand signals to come, sit, etc. They were also trained to come at night when they saw a porch light flick on and off. Too took it upon herself to be Tex's guardian and she would "herd" him around, bring him in when he didn't hear or see me call him, etc. Then as Too became elderly, Mac took over the "nanny" roll of helping find a Hooligan who needs to come into the house and bringing them to me.

Right now I'm not sure if Kelly is losing his hearing or is having brain farts or maybe both. But sometimes he just stares at me when I call him into the house. If I yell loud enough he comes, but only if he walks around the house first, and then hopefully he doesn't forget what he was doing and gets waylaid. Mac will go find him and bring him in if I ask him to.
 
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