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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

For the Curious

Life is never dull when you live with a blind and deaf dog!  I hear so many questions.  Some of them make sense ... others not so much.  One of my favorites to date is, "How do you feed her?" 

Huh?  I just put the food down and she does the rest!  But, I so much want to whip out a picture of Treasure sitting in a child's high chair, wearing a cute little bib, while I feed her carefully spoonful by spoonful, making sure that each morsel of food gets put directly into her cute little mouth.  Just the picture in my head is enough to make me giggle out loud! 

Treasure loves to eat!  But I do a couple things differently when I feed her.  I feed her from a shallow bowl because it seems to be easier for her to scoop out the food with her tongue.  If I feed her from a deeper bowl, she prefers to dump the bowl and then eat from the floor.  I think maybe it's difficult for her to judge where to put her head to actually get it down inside the deeper bowl. 

I also feed her in her crate usually, so I don't have to worry about the other dogs taking advantage of her and pushing her out of the way to get her food.  This morning I was working on a video project and decided to tape her eating breakfast while I had the camera out.  So, if you are curious ... take a look!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jasmine Grows Up

Grace, left, gives Jasmine some advice ...

Six months old!  We are in that lull between adorable, cute-puppy-who-can-do-no-wrong phase, and the exciting and sometimes challenging adolescent phase.  Right now things are fairly quiet and easy and comfortable. 

After a rocky period of recurring UTI's, the potty training is FINALLY under control!  Yay!  Jazzy is just as cute and sweet as ever - giving me little nose bumps along my face until she finds just the right place to give me tiny sheltie kisses.  Her tail wags all the time.  She is so happy!

She is super smart, and if I spent more time teaching her one-on-one, she'd be a genius!  She still offers sits for anything and everything that looks interesting, which is a lot when you are a puppy.  She knows signs for good girl, stop that, quiet, off, sit, down, come, stay, right and left spins, outside, go potty, time to eat, and probably some others I forgot about.  She is learning to crawl and jump over my outstretched leg.  She can shake hands and target her nose to my fist.  She is learning to weave through my legs when I walk, but this is tricky because sometimes she misjudges the distance and bumps into my legs.

Jasmine likes to carefully and meticulously pull the stuffing out of her toys.  But I can't complain too much, since she is very good about not chewing my stuff.  I can even trust her to behave while I take a nap on the couch now.

She shows physical signs of growing up, too.  Her adult teeth are just about completely in.  And her sheltie coat is coming in longer now.  On her tail, it is very noticeable and she has gotten a little ruff of hair that pokes out all around her neck.  She looks a bit scruffy at times, but it's so endearing.

Jazzy has a bit of her own agenda, and it can be hard to get her in from the yard during the day.  If I can catch her eye and signal her, she comes just as fast as her legs can carry her.  But usually she is hunting for bugs or digging in the dirt and she doesn't see me.  Night time is easier.  I can just flash the porch light once and she comes running.  Although, I have noticed that if she's way out across the yard she may not always see the light.

She still occasionally bumps into things (or me!) when she misjudges distance.  And she doesn't usually see treats dropped until I point them out to her, even if she drops them herself.  But she races around the place with the rest of the pack - no fear for this one!  She chases and runs and jumps and tumbles! She loves to race through the agility tunnel too!

Jazzy compensates so well that unless I really watch her, it's hard to tell that she has trouble seeing her friends.  But her body language and expression change in mid stride when she loses sight of them.  She continues running, but there is a slight confusion in her step and a quick head turn back and forth while she searches for them.  As she catches sight of them again, she's off with renewed determination once again. Jasmine is such a fun girl and so full of joy! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Treasure’s friends need your help!

I know everyone enjoys reading Treasure’s blog!  Maybe you live with a double merle and know how wonderful they can be!  Or, maybe you just have been inspired by Treasure, Grace and Jasmine, and how normal a life they are able to lead. 

Treasure has some new paw pals that need some help.  They have been overlooked because they are a bit different, like her, but they are great puppies looking for loving, committed forever homes.   Maybe you are looking for a new family member, or maybe you know someone who is.  Please take the time to read about these adorable double merle puppies, and visit their Petfinder pages.  Let’s help find them the homes they deserve!

This is Crystal.  She’s four months old and loves to play and rough house with her siblings.  She enjoys playing with people too and has a lot of energy!  Crystal has vision in one eye and hearing in one ear.  She needs a family to give her a chance to shine!  Crystal has already been crate trained and is receiving early socialization and handling, so she can fit right into her new home!  She sounds like she could be a lot of fun!  For more information about Crystal and to find contact information, here is her Petfinder page   
Tell them Treasure sent you!

This is Snow.  She’s also four months old (these three puppies are all littermates!).  Snow is white, just like Treasure!  And, if you recall, Treasure’s name used to be Snowy!  This girl really needs some help finding the perfect home.  Unlike her brother and sister, who both have partial hearing and sight, Snow is totally deaf and has limited vision in both eyes.  She may require some more adapted training techniques such as what you’ve read about here on my blog.  But you only have to read about Treasure’s (blind and deaf) and Jasmine’s (deaf and partially blind) escapades, to know that Snow will greatly enrich someone’s life.  Snow enjoys playing and cuddling and is more laid back than her siblings.  She is crate trained and is being socialized and handled often so she can make a smooth transition into a new and loving home.  Visit Snow’s Petfinder page to learn more about her and how you can make her a member of your family!

Frost is the boy of the group, also four months old.  He has hearing in one ear, good vision in one eye, and has some vision in the other eye.  Frost has a lot of energy and is a busy sheltie boy.  He likes to play more than he’s a cuddle bug.  He’s happy and healthy and ready to go, go, go!  Could he be the dog for you?  Frost is also crate trained and is being socialized and handled frequently.  He has very pretty markings, too!  He would like an active home all his own!  Check out his Petfinder page for more information and to find out how to apply to adopt him!

Saturday, March 3, 2012


Treasure and Timmy asking for a cuddle.


©Debbie Bauer 2012

Most dogs don’t like being reached for. It is a threatening movement to them and they will instinctively move away unless they are taught otherwise. Sometimes this teaching happens without us needing to put forth any special effort. If the dog learns that people reaching for it mean good things happen, for instance. Some dogs learn to distinguish between pleasant reaching and not -pleasant reaching based on the person’s voice tone and body language.

With a deaf or blind-deaf dog, you will not be able to rely on your voice to be reinforcing, encouraging, or praising. A deaf dog will only see you reaching and lunging toward it suddenly. It is important to keep your facial and body language as calm as possible when you do need to reach for your dog. Deaf dogs are very observant to any visual cue. They will learn to react to even the slightest changes in your body language that indicate you are getting ready to reach for them. If the dog learns it is faster than you and you will not be able to reach it, you are in trouble! It’s best to teach your dog how to enjoy being reached for before bad habits develop.

To read the rest of this article, click below ...

Adventures in Odor 5

Well, we had the good and the not-so-good today at class.  Treasure had a hard time finding an odor hide under some metal steps.  She kept finding the odor, but then she kept going the opposite direction along a long wall, but away from the steps.  After she got across the room, she would follow the odor back by the side of the steps, but never actually made it to the hide.  After letting her look for a while, I resent her and we added some food to the hide.  Success!  I was feeling a bit discouraged ... my issue, not hers! 

But I didn't need to feel badly.  She found the next odor hide in an Easter Egg, inside an Easter basket.  This reminded me of last year's egg hunt where Treasure found all her eggs hidden in the field!  It also got me thinking of some fun ways to make her nosework demos more interesting ... I can find all kinds of props to go with the season or an upcoming holiday!  I'll have to get on that idea!  We watched a demo using several cute salt and pepper shakers in a line with odor hidden in one of them.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to try that one, but I enjoyed it anyway and many of the shakers were cute sheep, which, when you have a herding dog, are always a good thing!

We did an odor hide under a shade tarp which was spread out on the floor.  I wouldn't have thought of that on my own.  Treasure was a bit surprised when she stepped on the crinkly tarp, but she found the odor.  The first time she smelled the tarp right where the odor was, but then turned away from it looking in the air for the hide.  The next time she came back and circled right on top of the odor.  Good girl!  

And the last one I paired with food to try to get her to jump up onto the wall where there is a ledge.  At home, where she knows things and feels comfortable, she will put her front feet up on me or other objects, but she has a hard time knowing just how and where to jump because she can't see that things are solid and where they are in space.  She stretched her nose way up to get the food at the hide, but it wasn't quite high enough for her to actually need to jump up.  I tried to lift her front, but that didn't work too well, so I just let her stretch and eat the goodies. 

She sleeps in the car on the way home, tired and content from her day's work.  It's nice to see her be able to do something she enjoys so much!