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  #1  
Old 09-01-2012, 05:25 PM
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Default Blind & Deaf Chihuahua

Hi guys! I'm calling out to any chi owners who have one who is blind and/or deaf. There's about a 75% chance that in the next few days, if the dog can be pulled, I will be taking in a long coat merle chihuahua. My weakness, right?? It actually brings tears to my eyes. This is a tiny little stunning girl who is a mill dog that has been bred multiple times. A friend who also fosters CC's and Chi's is trying to pull some strings to get her out ASAP as she's been trying for some time. I know we often hear about the tragic side effects of merle to merle breeding but wondered if anyone here who had a merle (or any color really) that suffered from blindness/deafness could offer any personal advice. Luckily our home has a very basic layout for her to adjust to. But assuming she will need time to adapt she can have exclusive rights to the "dog suite" aka laundry room until she is comfortable. I have already been told by a few people that she should just be euthanized but I believe she at least needs a chance to learn what being a pet is all about before ever making that choice. I've already let my other connections know and have put a pause on my foster program; at least until Spring, so we can focus on our current dogs and updating the house. I know if I end up with this girl she will be a project; but I have worked with unsocialized dogs before and I know she'll be worth it. So, if anyone has any advice on either blind or deaf dogs and things to help them thrive please don't hesitate to share. My extent of blind dogs is just seniors but have never had one who was blind/deaf from birth. It makes me nauseous to think that she was bred multiple times with all of her KNOWN AND OBVIOUS issues simply because she is pretty. Fingers crossed we can get this girl out in the next few days. Meanwhile any advice on training specific to blind/deaf dogs would be excellent. Thank you!
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  #2  
Old 09-01-2012, 07:18 PM
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Bless you for taking her on.Simba is nearly blind but not deaf.I can't move furniture around,i must make sure doors aren't closed otherwise he walks into them,have to carry him down stairs.I wonder if you google blind/deaf dogs it may give you some tips.Sorry i can't help
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:45 PM
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Thanks Michele! I remember us chatting about our special needs babies not long ago! I appreciate the advice.
She is here now, after a few hours of transport she made it to my friends house and we fetched her around 11pm last night. It hasn't been long but she knows her way around our bedroom well already. I know she will be a challenge but I am prepared. I am taking a break from fostering now, as my own babies come first and I truly believe I was meant to take her. I have already taken notes on various touch (and possibly light) signals; and hope to start implementing them once she's gotten comfortable with the environment. I still have a lot of bitterness towards this "breeder" but will just leave it at that; gotta keep it clean for young ears. ^_^
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Old 09-04-2012, 01:55 PM
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I saw a TV show some time ago in which a blind and deaf Mastiff was.
They had different scented candles for each different room (of course they weren't lit but just for the smell) so the dog knew what room she was in. Also, in order to help her know where the steps were (they had one step down into the living room and one outside to the garden), they put small carpets just in front of the steps so she could feel when (and know from experience) a step was coming.

So even though she is blind and deaf, she will still (and especially) rely on her sense of smell and touch.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:09 PM
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I've only dealt with blind dogs, they get around very well if you don't change things around without letting them know. You do have to be careful approaching her, she will startle easy, and being unsocialized that can be a problem. I would start her in a huge crate, she is used to being locked up, so she won't freak. I know YOU want her to have her freedom, but she needs some basic learning before to learn not to be scared. When you approach her, tap the crate to let her know you are there, then give her a treat. That way she will know tapping is a good thing and she won't startle so bad. Then slowly give a treat with a pat or two. Slowly work up to being handled. It will take time, but I'm sure her natural chi personality will emerge. I read that blind/deaf dogs can be taught by touch signals. Touch by their bottom is sit, touch somewhere else for lay down. And I had heard about using scents. Like have a few different scents near you, one scent is for food, one for potty, one for bed, things like that. Maybe use one that tells her you're going to come over and pick her up or pet her? One of the rescuers I follow on Facebook fostered a few blind/deaf dogs, once they learn the layout and the backyard, they can run and play like any other dog. Best of luck, sounds like a challenge but I'm sure you will do fine.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:20 PM
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Thanks for the advice, Sabine & Pam! It is much appreciated!! She has her own room; since the dogs haven't used the laundry room in weeks (free run of the house with no accidents... fingers crossed it stays that way haha) so it makes a great place for her to get familiar with with few obstacles. I put a used pee pad in there for her, and sure enough she pottied on it overnight. I was told she had been living outside; no better than a cage but at least she is used to some freedom. She is fairly comfortable being handled if I give her a gentle shoulder tap/warning first, then she sniffs my hand to "recognize" me, before I make any other move. So far so good. I can pick her up to take her in the pen and she will mark anywhere the other dogs have peed, which is helpful. Still, it's clear she's just been coping and not truly LIVING... that "natural chi personality" is what I can't wait to see. Long term I would like to be able to harness train her, I can be her seeing eye person. =D Meanwhile we will take things one day at a time. I love the idea of different candles/smells; I love tarts and votives anyway so it won't be hard finding a few unique scents to associate with different things. Again thank you all for all the advice, it means a lot!
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:24 PM
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Do you have any pictures? Would love to see her! Thank you for rescuing her.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:10 PM
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Your first post nearly made cry. What a horrible existence. Well done for giving her a proper loving home and good luck with everything
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