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Monday, August 16, 2010

You talkin' to me?

Long-lost Chan here... A small crisis in our extended family prompted me to crawl out from under my rock and seek your advice.

joan pic 003 This is Nick. He belongs to my inlaws, and over the last few months, he's gone deaf. He's 11 and has had a few health challenges, so it isn't a huge surprise, but he and his pack need a little help dealing with this situation. My inlaws have had at least one other deaf dog, and for whatever reason, they all transitioned with ease then but not now.

Nick does live with Shadow, a younger sheltie. Shadow went to live with my inlaws after his owner died two years ago, and Shadow is still accustomed to being the center of attention. Nick has always been content to let Shadow run the show, but lately, Nick has been snapping at Shadow when Shadow tries to (obnoxiously nippy) initiate play as he always has. That's problem #1, because Shadow has been over-bearing with my own (female) dogs. Neither dog would really hurt even a flea, but stranger things have happened when a dog is confused and/or hurting...

#2 is just my mother inlaw's desire to be able to have some idea where in the house Nick might be when he doesn't appear when she calls. Their first deaf sheltie of ages past wore a bell, but she's also concerned that Shadow will bark his fool head off at the bell.

Lastly, they just want to keep Nick safe. He's a bright boy and is quickly learning the new hand signals my inlaws are teaching him, such as two fingers on his nose then point to the human eyes means "stay where I can see you" when they take him outside. (We live in podunk, for those who don't follow my blog. Lots of land and at Nick's house, a big, grassy front yard.)

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We had one dog with some hearing loss, so both of my fur-girls were trained from the get-go to voice and visual commands, but they're working on that...
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