New (MAJOR) responsibility at shelter!

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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 23rd, 2010, 2:49 pm

So I've been volunteering at my local shelter for maybe a month now, just one day a week. I'm already a member of their Orange Team, which receives training above and beyond the regular volunteer training. The Orange Team is in place to handle dogs that require special handling that the regular volunteers can't/won't do.

The shelter has a petite little white pit mix named Noel. I swear she's like a Staffy Bull/Lab mix ( lol ) because she's very petite but she doesn't have a pit coat at all. It's very thick. She is deaf, though we are beginning to think she may be able to hear high-pitched noises (dog whistle, perhaps?). She is very sweet but has no impulse control whatsoever. She is very mouthy and will grab clothing/body parts if she gets bored or frustrated. Unfortunately, when she does this, most of the volunteers try to pull away, which obviously makes it a great game of tug. A couple volunteers (myself included!) got nipped in the hand and ankle/calf (she likes the calf if she's not ready to go back to the shelter); one supposedly had a small puncture would in the hand. I say supposedly because some of the volunteers I've seen aren't very dog savvy and I can imagine them over-reacting a bit.

So I got an email just now that because I've expressed interest in learning how to help Noel, that I've been placed in charge of her training. :shock: My trainer, Ginger, is going to meet with me and the Orange Team to help us with Noel's resource guarding and mouthiness. It will then be up to me to keep weekly updates of Noel's training and assign volunteers tasks to work with her on. And Noel will ONLY be handled by the trained Orange Team members from this point on.

I'm super excited because I know I can do this, but I'm also a little nervous as she's the only deaf dog I've ever worked with! I've checked out the DeafDogs.com website and it's got some good basic info, but can anybody recommend any other websites or books that might be of assistance? Or does anybody have experience with mouthy resource-guarding deaf dogs?
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Postby HappyPuppy » February 23rd, 2010, 3:30 pm

No advice here.....but congratulations on your 'promotion' !!!
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Postby airwalk » February 23rd, 2010, 6:59 pm

Congratulations. It really is a big deal to have a shelter trust you enough to work with one of their special dogs. Few volunteers are trusted that much.
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Postby Jenn » February 23rd, 2010, 7:03 pm

Good luck LIz!! :)
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Postby airwalk » February 23rd, 2010, 7:09 pm

Something to remember...a deaf dog doesn't know it's deaf. People have a tendency to want to baby them and treat them like a deaf human. She is a D.O.G. and she thinks and acts like a D.O.G.

While it means verbal corrections and commands don't work...*how do you tell a deaf dog no..run around behind it and shake your finger wildly hoping they will look*...but the thinking processes are all the same.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 23rd, 2010, 7:10 pm

Thanks, girls! I am very honored that they trust me enough to do this. :)
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 23rd, 2010, 7:11 pm

Diana, I know what you're saying. Just because she's deaf doesn't mean she can't learn. She needs the same structure the other dogs get, if not more.

I'm so silly - when I'm walking her, I talk to her nonstop even though I know she can't hear me. :giggle:
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby airwalk » February 23rd, 2010, 7:17 pm

I do the same thing with my sons deaf dog. I talk to him like he can hear me...oh well!

Exactly, too often people forget they are dogs. Most training techniques work the same, you just have to find non-verbal commands to use. We used lots of luring to begin Linus's training - then similar to any other training, once he was consistently lured..we began adding hand signals.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 23rd, 2010, 7:34 pm

Here's my pretty little girl, and her description:
Noel Terrier mix
Spayed/Neutered: Y Shots: Y Gender: F

Location: Noel is at the ARF shelter. For more information, please contact Debby by phone at 440-364-1286 or by email at djg4517@cox.net

Meet Noel! She is a sweet terrier mix who came to ARF as a stray. Now, she is waiting to find her forever home. At 3-4 years old, Noel thrives on affection and will do anything for belly rubs! Noel was a bit thin upon arrival at the shelter, so she readily accepts all treats that are offered. She’ll even sit first, if you ask nicely.

Noel has not met a person that she doesn’t like – big or small, young or old – she loves them all. She even likes to be around the other dogs. In fact, Noel would gladly share her new home with another canine brother or sister! Noel would love a family that will give her the love and safety that every dog deserves. In return, she will make a great companion for years to come.

Noel may be small in stature, but she’s got a big heart! If you would like to add Noel to your family, please come visit her at the shelter, or contact Debby at 440-364-1286 or djg4517@cox.net for more information!

Image Image
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Postby hugapitbull » February 23rd, 2010, 8:19 pm

Awe, she's such a cutie. You'll do great with her.
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Postby AngieJ3 » February 23rd, 2010, 8:50 pm

Its exciting Liz! She needs some consistency and training and you are the person to do it! :D Im very excited for Noel and you!
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 23rd, 2010, 8:58 pm

Thanks, Angie!
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby tiva » February 23rd, 2010, 9:08 pm

That's so exciting! Are you going to use a flashlight as your clicker? Or a vibration collar? Or a tactile cue (hard to do from a distance, I gather?) There was a good discussion over on clicker solutions in December about clicker=training blind & deaf dogs: http://tinyurl.com/yfhnpco


And thanks for listening to the radio interview! I can't believe you actually listened to the whole thing. Scary stuff, isn't it? DES is still used for veterinary use, in spay-incontinent dogs (not the brightest idea, I might add. Other forms of estrogen are probably safer, although more expensive).
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 23rd, 2010, 9:17 pm

Nancy, I'm not sure what marker I'll use for her. I'm meeting with my trainer and team on Friday, so I'm assuming Ginger will have some insight as to what may work best. I doubt the shelter would be able to afford a vibration collar, so that's probably out. I'm thinking a thumbs up sign would be my best bet. Flashlights would be hard to see during the day, and laser pointers just make me nervous after seeing too many dogs get light-fixated due to them. Thanks for that link from Clicker Solutions! I always forget that I can search the messages over there.

Yeah, that DES stuff does sound scary. Especially since it affects so many generations. :shock:
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby furever_pit » February 23rd, 2010, 9:22 pm

How cool Liz!
You're going to do a great job with Noel. I look forward to hearing updates.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 23rd, 2010, 9:33 pm

Thanks! I'll definitely keep updates going here, probably along with pleas of "OMG what do I do now???" lol
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby madremissy » February 23rd, 2010, 9:33 pm

Way to go Liz!!
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Postby airwalk » February 23rd, 2010, 10:21 pm

We use strictly hand signals with Linus for exactly the reasons you mentioned Liz. Flashlights have limited use, laser lights are too easy for fixation...we just plain didn't want to use a vibration collar...now the down side is there is virtually no recall. A vibration collar would probably help with recall.

Just a note, Linus knows that if he doesn't want to "hear" us...he just either closes his eyes or won't look at us, little snot. They figure that out quickly.
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Postby tiva » February 23rd, 2010, 10:28 pm

Liz,
The deafdogs website has a great page on clicker training deaf dogs, and they argue that a flashlight is actually very useful, even during the daylight: http://www.deafdogs.org/training/clicker.php

Their page on hand signs for deaf dogs is great too: http://www.deafdogs.org/training/signs.php
Good luck--sounds like an exciting challenge.
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Postby TheRedQueen » February 23rd, 2010, 11:52 pm

I'm proud of you! What a great new project! :D :clap:
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