It’s time to create your own Morse Code!

By: Erin Marion CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP  From: Down To Earth Dog Lady Training 

At first, it can be overwhelming to bring home a dog who is mostly deaf and blind. Where do you even start? How do you train them? And many times when we choose to bring home a dog like this it’s in our human nature to inevitably feel bad for them. I am here to tell you that you don’t have to feel bad for them and they are typically very trainable! Here are the first steps that I would recommend when first bringing home a dog that is mostly deaf and blind.

The top four things to think about with deaf and blind dogs are safety within your home, breed before impairment, teaching a marker cue and thinking out of the box when it comes to their training.

Your deaf and blind dog will need time to map out new locations. Think of sharp corners, stairs, deck railings, and wood stoves. Baby gates and x-pens can be extremely helpful to keep your dog safe.

Your deaf and blind dog is their breed before their disability. If you have a deaf and blind Australian Shepherd you also have a dog that was bred to have a high energy job. Considering genetics when trying to mentally and physically tire out your dog will save you from running into problematic behaviors.

Training dogs that are deaf and blind can be very rewarding. Remember to consider their other senses such as smell and touch to keep training successful. By using familiar smells and different types of tactile or “touch” cues you will be able to build a strong line of communication!

I am very excited to continue to write for Deaf Dogs Rock in their deaf and blind dog section. Working with dogs who are mostly deaf and blind is my true life’s passion. While I don’t condone the breeding of these dogs whatsoever, I do feel the dog training industry needs to make room for educating the public on how to set them up for success using force free methods.

I have over twelve years of experience working with dogs. I am a certified professional dog trainer, (CPDT-KA), a Karen Pryor clicker training partner, and am the training partner for two organizations that focus their efforts on saving the lives of dogs who are deaf, blind or both. I am currently working towards getting my certification as a certified canine behaviorist.

I have dedicated the last four years of my career to working with dogs who are deaf, blind or both. I myself have two dogs who are fully blind, with one of them also being partially deaf. My goal as a certified professional dog trainer is to bring awareness of how to work with deaf and blind dogs using reward based training and force-free methods.

Erin Marion (she/her)         CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP    Certified Professional Dog Trainer

(610) 812-2880