O my gosh I am at a loss. I saved him at six weeks by getting a second opinion and finding out he is not brain damaged. Now the trainer comes and it looks as though he is partially deaf too. (my vet is coming to the house next week to give himhis boosters and give him another exam) So she calls her vet and some of her trainer friends and the all think he has some neurological problem and will never be able to learn and they think we should put him down. Of course I don't want a 150 lb dog that bites and has no manners but he is still a pup and pups bite and nip. It is one way he feels things seeing as he can't see and barely hears.(only high or low pitch noises) But on the other hand if he is unable to learn and will be mean as he gets older and will always have to be locked up when others are around that is no life for him. But I just want to make sure that it isn't just that it would be to much work for someone to take on and help me help him. Did that make sense. I am willing to give it my all but I need help to guide me in the proper direction. Never dealt with this before. He sees the vet every 3-4 weeks and she said he is a healthy puppy. Just has some disabilitys that will require extra help and attention. I emailed her with the trainers opinion tonight and she said we will reevaluate things next week and not to panic.
So these are his issues: He bites and nips. He always turns to the left in circles when nervous or getting familiar with his surroundings.(LT left turn) He only hears high or low pitch noises.
So when he is in a mellow mood he will cuddle with me and have a nap or just chill. When in play mode he bites and nips. My 2 yr.old bullmastiff plays with him and lets him know when he is biting to hard. He has mapped our yard out and plays well outside. Yes he does do a lot of left turns but that is the ear he partially hears out of and can see shadows out of that eye.
I don't know what kind of dog you have but here's some thoughts...
With German Shepherds and shutzhund (spelling) training I know that they use high pitched commands that have definite sounds such as HERE instead of come because the dog can hear it better across a field. My point then....couldn't your dog be trained if you used a higher pitch with your commands? If he can hear higher pitches, would that not work? Also, I don't know how well he can see....but could you possibly used exaggerated hand commands as well??
I might be stretching a bit here...I've never trained a dog (YET!) but maybe this will help a little (I hope).
The turning to the left isn't a problem.. it would be the side the dog is comfortable with.. Especially when trying to familiarize.. turnign one direction to try to get a handle on things.. a starting point. Lotsx of the blind dogs I've known through rescue have been resourceful. Like walking on the left side of a person trusting you won't walk them into furniture. Always havign that marker to keep a handle on where things are. I know you say he's partially deaf too.. but in relation to the blindness.. that part seems pretty normal.
If you wanted to help out you could think about dabbing lavender oil along your baseboards in the area the dog spends the most time in.. like down the left side of the hallways, kitchen, family area whatever as a scent marker so he has a better idea of location. It's an idea that has helped in some households.
I wouldn't think he's untrainable.. but definatley harder to train.. but I'm not a pro, and could be wrong. Don't lose hope yet.
Thanks for your advice. Yes he can hear if I am extremely loud and toned. Problem is my throat tends to hurt after and my neighbors think I am crazy for yelling all the time. Do you know if ther is different whistles with different pitches I could use and were I might get them? As for site he sees shadows of things only when he is right on top of them and only with the left eye. He is a bullmastiff. Hope that helps. Thank you again.
I know they have those whistles that people can't hear. They are so high pitched that we cannot hear them. Maybe one of those would work. You could blow it a different way for each command?? Or maybe a regular whistle that you can hear would be high enough to work?
All dogs are trainable. Don't put your dog down just because alot of high nosed know it alls told you he is handicapped.
I had a double merle sheitie one time,he was deaf completely and could only see shapes if he moved his head right to left as if saying NO.
I trained him in obedience with chain collar commands and hand jestures he seemed to respond to.
Your dog is not that handicapped sense he is better off then my half blind completely deaf sheltie was.
Those people put dogs down for the dumbest reasons sometimes, when the dog is just a puppy having fun.
The way I personally would train him is to tap him on the nose with a thump with your finger to let him know that is what happens if he nips or bites. It doesnt have to be hard, but it will get his attention with the words NO BITE you think he can hear.
If I were you, I wouldnt take him back to that class I'd find another teacher, like mans best friend or somewhere like that to go.
Putting a dog down is simply not the answer.
***Edited By: peanutmypoodle on 9/8/2005 1:44:05 AM*** Reason: *
Bells also help the blind.. I have seen on tv how a bell was used on the seeing dog to guide the other blind dog.
Make sure the bell is medium sized so it reacts to the dog moving in a more percise signal.
A tiny bell reacts to quickly and will give the blind dog a sense of constant sudden movements.. A medium size bell with a decent sized steel ball inside will allow the other dog to have suttle movement with slower bell chirps and jut react more correctly to the mastiff's size.
Don't give up yet!! I would get another opinion from another trainer too.
I do have one suggestion if you haven't tried this already. If he cant see or hear, you might need to be creative. Get about a 5 foot wooden stick or pole and take your boy into a room with a hard floor (you will want him to be in a collar and leash). Tap the floor twice with the pole, put the dog in the sit position, put a small treat in his mouth, wait 1 second, pat his head and let him up. I may take 1000 tries. taps on the floor = sit Pat on the head = OK or up
I would probably start there. If he can learn One command he can learn more.
This is not souonding so good... Could you use touch as a reward mark instead of a voice command or clicker. Like I said before about not feeding him out of the bowl, but out of your hands only. When hes eating out of your hands, try this for sit. First instead of the click and treat, try to touch his left ear , then follow that with a treat, do this over and over about 5 times. Were makeing him associate touching a body part with getting rewarded.Be consistant. Then walk with him, stop and edge him into a sit, when he sits, touch his left ear and give him the food rewaRD..see where I'm going with this...Does it make sense....Sue
I'm with alldogslover on this one. It's not that he isn't trainable, you just have to "speak" the right language. How do you describe a sunset to someone who has been blind from birth? Kind of hard to describe color to someone whos never seen it. Whether it's touch or sound, once he realizes the association of the "command" with the act and reward, I bet he catches on real quick.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Icy have you dealt with this type of disorder before? If so can you tell me more of the signs it is neurological so that I may look for them. I am torn. I love him so much and I know he loves me too. Off course I will get a second opinion and my vet said next week she will reevaluate his situation. I do not believe personally in putting a dog down because it is harder to train do to disability. But I also do not believe in having an animal that is so bad off he can never be part of the family only locked up and fed. That is no life either. But I must find out for sure if it is neurological and will get worse and he will never be able to learn before throwing in the towel. Are there specific tests for this? Also just a note. He is not food motivated at all. I have tried feeding him by hand just pushes at it with his nose will not eat anything from hand even if hungry. Anyone with answers to my questions I would love to here them.