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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.

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