Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 46

Verbal cues are a huge part of agility. Many competitors spend hours teaching their dogs to perform behaviors based on words instead of handler movement. But there is a growing population of agility enthusiasts who avoid using verbal cues at all. No, this isn’t part of some new handling system. These competitors are working with deaf dogs. Humans are a verbal bunch, and our tendency to talk a lot can make a relationship with a deaf dog seem foreign. An agility career seems out of the question. But the truth is, there are many “deafies” (as they are affectionately called) succeeding in agility. How do they do it? Nani owned by Ric Pisani Agility? Deaf-initely! By Brenna Fender Training Challenges Dog training is fundamentally the same regardless of the physical challenges a dog faces. “In most cases, the training is similar, handling being visual for dogs anyway, says Heather ” Gates-Rusher, whose deaf Jack Russell Terrier, Robin, has earned the ADCH, C-ATCH, and other impressive titles. Deaf dogs can be very focused on visual cues. “That can be problematic though—Robin is so into body language that a physical cue has to be very precise; a turn [to the] left just slightly too enthusiastic can send her into unintended stratospheres, ” Gates-Rusher says. Other owners have also had this problem with their deaf dogs that seem to be even more in tune with body language than their hearing counterparts. Australian competitor Janine Carson has become aware of her physical cues since she began training her deaf Australian Cattle Dog, Peppi: “She is so adept at reading my body language; I have to be very careful that [it] is spot on. Erin James, ” who owns a five-year-old deaf Jack Russell Terrier, says 46 that a deaf dog is “visually much more tuned in than a hearing dog, so any and all body movements of the handler are watched by the dog. She adds, “In agility, ” those micromovements can be the difference between a good, clean run and a disaster. Lisa Hetzel has had ” similar experiences running her deaf Great Dane, Faith. “I have to remember that any movement or hand signal means something to her. ” it’s hard to make a change, ” she adds. If a deaf dog starts to go off course, options for saving the run are limited. Ayres says, “I think the hardest part is you can’t call them off the wrong obstacle if they’re not looking at you. ” Some handlers find that their deaf dogs don’t handle rear crosses well. “The rear cross was particularly difficult because she would spin the other way to see where I was going, says Rick Pisani ” about his four-year-old deaf Australian Shepherd, Nani. Pisani, who won the second AKC National Obedience Championship with his hearing dog, MacDuff, spent a lot of time training crosses. “We now have beautiful rear crosses that have been very helpful with our advanced work, he says. Ayres has ” had a similar problem: “I can’t do rear crosses because Hope is so glued to me; it confuses her if she can’t see me change direction. Carson adds, “I was ” never able to cross behind Peppi as she hated losing sight of me on course. ” Tunnels are particularly challenging for deaf dogs because they cut off all communication with the handler. Lisa Martin, whose deaf Dalmatian Holly has Canadian Masters titles, explains, “When Holly does a tunnel or chute, I have to wait until she’s actually out of the tunnel before being able to give her the next sign, unlike hearing dogs that can be told when they are still in the tunnel/chute. ” Leanne Lohmeyer, owner of deaf Miniature Australian Shepherd Cody, adds, “There’s no way to communicate with Cody while he’s in a tunnel so my cue for where to go next needs to come before he enters or after he exits and looks to me for information. Waiting ” until Cody leaves a tunnel to signal the next obstacle causes problems. “It slows him down and frustrates him not knowing where to go next, Lohmeyer says. ” Adaptations While some handlers of deaf dogs have a basic system of indicating the next obstacle on the course and use the same body language that hearing dog owners do, many teach at least some signals that represent the names of particular obstacles. “I recommend that my students train the obstacle signals from the beginning. They will eventually fade them as they progress; when they are needed later, it’s much better to have them already in your arsenal of sign vocabulary than to start training a new set of commands, says Gates-Rusher, ” who has taught several deaf dogs in classes as well as her own. Pisani is another believer in using hand signals to represent individual obstacles. Additional hand signals are very important as well, since they are a major form of communication between a handler and a deaf dog. In fact, Carson suggests that clear and precise hand signals are the main adapClean Run | March 08 Faith owned by Lisa Hetzel Learning to communicate with a deaf dog during the excitement of a fast and furious agility run is the single biggest challenge of most competitors. Handlers must remain in their dogs’ line of sight during most of a run. “You really have to watch your body language and your dog, says Lorraine ” Ayres, who owns Hope, a white Australian Shepherd. “If they’re not watching you,

Clean Run Magazine - March 2008

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Clean Run Magazine - March 2008

Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Contents
Editorializing: An Anthropologist at a Dog Show
Tip of the Month
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Backyard Dogs
Give Your Dog a Running Start
On Course with Ronda Carter
Trainer’s Forum
How to Get the Most from Your Agility Classes
Foundation Fundamentals: Restrained Recalls and Chase Games
What Is a Handling System?
Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 1
Alternative Medicine for Your Canine Athlete: Navigating the Options
Agility? Deaf-initely!
When Pigs Fly: Agility Success with “Impossible” Dogs
Skill of the Month
Shelter Champs: Sadie
Spy Kids: Goals to Prepare for Competition
Distance Challenge
Focus on Recalls
Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Back and Trunk Strengthening
In Cider
Letters
Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Clean Run Magazine - March 2008
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 2
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Contents
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 4
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Editorializing: An Anthropologist at a Dog Show
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Tip of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Agility…
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Backyard Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 9
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 10
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Give Your Dog a Running Start
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 12
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 13
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 14
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 15
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 16
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 17
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - On Course with Ronda Carter
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 19
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 20
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 21
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Trainer’s Forum
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 23
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 24
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - How to Get the Most from Your Agility Classes
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 26
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 27
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 28
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Foundation Fundamentals: Restrained Recalls and Chase Games
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 30
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 31
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 32
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - What Is a Handling System?
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 34
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 35
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 36
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 37
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Pre-Agility Skills: Laying the Foundation, Part 1
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 39
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 40
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 41
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 42
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Alternative Medicine for Your Canine Athlete: Navigating the Options
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 44
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 45
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Agility? Deaf-initely!
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 47
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 48
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 49
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - When Pigs Fly: Agility Success with “Impossible” Dogs
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 51
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 52
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 53
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 54
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 55
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Skill of the Month
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 57
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 58
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Shelter Champs: Sadie
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 60
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 61
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 62
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Spy Kids: Goals to Prepare for Competition
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 64
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 65
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 66
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 67
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 68
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Distance Challenge
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 70
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 71
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 72
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Focus on Recalls
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Cece’s Gym Exercise of the Month: Back and Trunk Strengthening
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 75
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 76
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - In Cider
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 78
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 79
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 80
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Letters
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - Course Diagram Keys
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 83
Clean Run Magazine - March 2008 - 84
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