A bit about Bailey: She came from a rescue in Pennsylvania where she had been adopted and returned twice. So, in her short 12 month life, we are her 5th temporary home (at least). While she doesn't seem to have been abused or treated badly, being shuffled from home to home has got to take a toll on such a young girl. She's up to date on her shots and heartworm medications, is spayed, gets along with other dogs, and is potty trained. However, she will require a patient and dedicated owner who is willing to work with her using hand signals. But she's as sweet as they come and totally worth it.
When I learned we were getting a deaf foster, I had to do a bit of research myself into how to communicate with them. The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund (DDEAF) has a website with a ton of information about deaf dogs and using hand signals. The only trick with teaching a deaf dog is that you have to have their attention first, so that they can see what hand signal you are making. Bailey already knows the sign for sit and if she's looking at me and I move my open hand upward, she will sit. It's pretty awesome. The cool part is that you can use any signal you want for the commands, so long as you reward properly when they perform the task.
The first challenge was getting her attention for a picture. Trying to get her to look at me without using my voice, while simultaneously focusing the camera was no easy feat. Here are some of her outtakes...
I already know what this sweet little soul is going to teach us: Patience. A typical boisterous dalmatian puppy is enough to try anyone's patience, but one that doesn't listen (literally), will be a true test. I must remember that she is not ignoring me on purpose and find ways to speak her language. So wish us luck as we work with Bailey and search for her forever home. Deaf, blind, injured, it doesn't matter to me, I love them all the same.