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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-06-2015, 06:30 AM Thread Starter
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Hearing loss

With every 4th of July, I am always in a panic as to how I am going to keep Django from going into compete panic mode once the fireworks begin. In the past, we have barricaded ourselves in the closet with my iPad playing music.

This year we sat nestled on the couch, I had a Hall and Oats concert playing on the TV, volume was a little loud to drown out the noise of the fireworks show the which are 10 blocks away from my house, so you can imagine how noisy the are.

Django did not budge. He fell asleep right before the fireworks began, on occasion he would hear something and lift his head up, the TV was loud but not deafening, I believe he didn't hear much because he is loosing his hearing.

I have also noticed sometimes I will call his name and he doesn't respond, I always thought he was ignoring me but I believe he might actually have a little hearing loss. He seems a bit young for this, although he is 11 1/2 I wasn't expecting this for a few more years. I guess you address this as you would with humans, just talk a little louder?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-06-2015, 07:41 AM
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I think that just as with humans, age-related hearing loss starts at different ages. I had a great aunt who could still hear a pin drop across the room at 96, while Dave's mother was wearing hearing aides at 40. We had a white cat (they are prone to deafness anyway) who was completely deaf for the last several years of her (long!) life. Our current (also white) cat is 14 1/2, and her hearing is FINE. Animals adapt to deafness even more easily than they do to loss of sight. (and they adapt to that fine too)

And with Djangos on-going health problems, either his chronic illness OR the meds he finds himself on for it could affect his hearing in the long run. (you can ask the vet about that)

In terms of what to do about it, if I were you, rather than "just" talking louder, which could be only a temporary fix if he is really going to lose his hearing completely at some point, I would start to transition him to hand signals.

The way to switch a dog from one signal to another is to use the new signal, immediately followed by the signal they know. Since dogs tend to anticipate anyway, they eventually start responding to the new signal because they know that the other signal is coming.

Obviously, this doesn't work with a deaf animal who is sleeping, or in another part of the house. That was our biggest problem with Angel… she'd fall asleep in the back of a closet (cats sleep in the strangest places!!!) and we'd have a nervous breakdown when we couldn't find her, thinking our deaf cat had gotten out of the house!


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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-06-2015, 10:39 AM
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I've had experience with hearing loss with Tyler. I started using hand signals and he seemed to know exactly what I meant. If he was looking in the opposite direction when I wanted his attention, I would wave my hand in front of his face, although his vision was a bit diminished as well, rather than touching him, so as not to startle him. He could always hear some sounds but didn't know where they were coming from. He would be looking in the opposite direction of the noise. He got along fine and, eventually when I tapped him on his rump without waving my hand in front of his face, he knew that meant to turn and look at or follow me. I'm sure Django will adapt, as well. They are very resilient little guys.


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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-06-2015, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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What a wonderful and perfect idea, hand signals. Never thought of it. Will start today, it's never too early. Hopefully he will always be able to hear my voice but it's always great to have a back up plan.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 07-06-2015, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by littlebuddy View Post
What a wonderful and perfect idea, hand signals. Never thought of it. Will start today, it's never too early. Hopefully he will always be able to hear my voice but it's always great to have a back up plan.
Actually, even dogs with perfect hearing respond to hand signals better than voice signals. Dogs are not verbal, but they are MASTERS of body language!

This morning, Kodi and I were training, doing a recall. I THOUGHT y instructor had said that we were going to do a straight recall (without a drop). But then, after I called him, I saw her hand start to move. i instinctively twitched the hand I use for the "drop" signal. Just twitched... Nothing more. He dropped like a stone! We both laughed, because we both knew what had happened. Then I rewarded him for being so observant.


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