Names & Deaf Dogs

This is a post that I made on August 1st, 2009 on the blogs of the animals that were in our BHRR programs at that time. I feel compelled to re-post it here as a 'education and public awareness' opportunity.

I feel almost compelled to write this blog post for BHRR's Lil Linus and BHRR's Potter. I am not sure why people feel that a ‘deaf' dog does not need a need a name, because they are deaf. To me, that is like saying, we should not name our deaf children or address our hard of hearing or deaf elders anymore by name etc. A name is an identity and if one is living in a home with multi dogs; especially deaf one's(we live with 3 right at the present and our now almost 10.5+ year old Kona is almost deaf); using a dog's name is very important. When I do training, I train the dogs as individuals, small groups and in larger groups. If I am doing recall training, even in my larged fenced in yard; if I want Lil Linus or Soul to come to me, I use their ‘name'. If I want Potter(he is working on his name) to come over Soul or Linus; I signal his name. I am not in agreement with those that say that it is not important to name your deaf dog. While my dogs might have chosen different names if they could 😉 ; their names are no less important to them or to me. When I signal Lil Linus`s name, his tail wags and the same applies to Soul and each knows when I am `speaking`to them over the other or if I am communicating to both. They are proud of their own identities and how it makes them feel unique and special just as each hearing dog feels unique and special with their own names. I find it hard to understand why people, especially those that say they are knowledgeable about deaf dogs etc., would feel that it means nothing to give a deaf dog a name and so a name is not important. To me, it is also a huge safety thing in regards to teaching emergency stops, recalls etc. They learn their names as much as they learn the `watch me`command; right from the get go. The other thing that I wish to address in regards to `deaf dogs`is that they do not HAVE to always go to a home that already has a hearing dog. That is also not necessarily true. Just as many hearing dogs do well in a home by themselves as the only dog; the same goes with deaf dogs. We have placed many a deaf dog as the only dog in the home and we have also placed many a deaf dog in a home that already has a deaf dog as their only dog. OWNING a deaf dog is not necessarily any harder than owning a hearing dog. My biggest piece of feedback when it comes to owning a deaf dog; is that one CANNOT be lazy. You cannot just `call out` to ask your dog to get their nose out of the garbage or to put that shoe down that they are walking off with it. That is why it is so important to teach them the `watch me`command. Deaf dogs learn equally as fast, if not faster than some hearing dogs and they are not dumb, stupid and not all deafies have visual impairments or health issues either. When it comes to Boxers; just as with Great Danes; `white`is not albino; that does not exist in these breeds. It is estimated that about 18-20% of all Boxers are white and they can be hearing or deaf and they make just as lovely and wonderful of pets as does their hearing counterparts. Each parent must carry for the `white`gene for it to be passed on to create a `white`boxer. As with Great Danes, many deaf boxers can be found having a lot of white about the face, head and ears. What bothers humans about dogs being deaf; does not bother the deaf dog. Dogs that are born deaf, do not know any different and dogs that lose their hearing as they are older, can also be taught hand signals(I teach them at all ages); touch training, light training, scent training and vibration training(we do not do vibration collars here) but use floors and door jams in order to continue to have a great quality of life in a world that no longer is `hearing`to them. 😎 I also teach a regular course that is specifically for owners and their deaf dogs; and just as I do in that course; I am going to state it here; education is key. 

The Gwennie! Comment of the Day:
"Ignorance is truly not bliss"