Life With a Deaf Dane... A Love Story:)

Since the arrival of Athena and Aphrodite I have fielded so many questions about life with a deaf and blind puppies... Basically they all come down to the question of HOW? How do you train them? How do they get around? How do you communicate? How come they don't walk into everything? How will they every get adopted? .. It won't all fit on a t-shirt, so I thought I would try here!

Over the years my home has fostered over 30 puppies of this age, puppies are always a challenge... and I can tell you these two deaf and sight impaired danes are not that different than any of the others. They are learning "touch" commands and we use scent to teach things... for example we have one specific treat that when they smell it they know it is "nite nite" and go directly to their crate, another treat is "time out" to the dog bed in the kitchen. They use the dog door to go outside and potty as much as any other puppy their age will, they love their baby pool, toys and trying to chew on Mocha's tail.. (the last is not advisable) Mocha is learning that they do not respond to a low growl correction so she will give them a nudge with her nose... (I did not teach her that she just figured it out) The "girls" are learning to respect the big dog and how to navigate thru the house and yard.

But don't take my word for it... Over the years we have found FURever homes for quite a few special needs, blind and deaf danes. Here is just one FURever story. A few years ago we had a young female dane who was deaf and sight impaired. Her FURever family had never had a "special needs" dog but they were so amazingly fearless and opened their hearts to Pearl. What follows is from her FURever parents.


Pearl
We always knew we wanted a Great Dane to be our first dog. Justin and I had been living the apartment life as a young couple and when we moved into our first home, we could only wait a month before we started looking for Danes to adopt. As our search began, we never imagined we would end up with the most special dog either of us have ever owned.

After being approved by Great Dane Rescue of North Texas, we were contacted about what they believed was a good match. We were told this dog recently came into the rescue and she had a feeling Justin and I could be a great home for this pup. Pearl is a special Dane, she is deaf, and mostly blind. I immediately started doing research about living with deaf dogs and Justin and I considered every aspect to owning a blind and
deaf dog.

Adoption day arrived and we finally meet Pearl! She is a beautiful two year old Dane, all-white with a few black spots and was excited to meet us. She is the sweetest girl and on our drive home, it was like she had been with us her whole life. Our vet told us her optic nerve was shortened, which is why her vision is so poor. Like any dog, Pearl has her quirks. Her sense of smell is uncanny and her sneakiness level for counter surfing is on par with that of a cat burglar. Pearl fit right in to our home, she is friendly to our cats and her best friend is Pancho, a 12 pound Chihuahua mix.

We immediately started training her with some simple hand signals and she quickly learned sit, down, stay, and potty. At first, we would often forget she couldn't see or hear us and we would call her name with no response. After a few laughs between Justin and I, she learned our recall signal. Everyone who meets Pearl loves her sweet disposition, we often call her our ambassador dog when meeting meeting new people and their dogs. Pearl is not hindered by her vision or hearing impairments, she doesn't know life as being any different. We are honored to be Pearl's adopted family!

Pearl with her FURever brother!