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15:12:41 Mon
Jul 30 2007

871 posts
Boxer Maniac

Mood Now: Happy

Re: walking - How do you get on??

Don't know if this helps but it is a general overview for training a deaf boxer to recall but pretty much the same rules apply to both hearing and deaf dogs.

You need to consider what the dog is thinking and not have a set routine when walking them........... sounds like the opposite of what they need for home life but hopefully the copy of a reply I made some time ago will shed some light on where I am coming from.

"As far as off the lead exercise is concerned your deaf boxer is a little different to a hearing boxer and you need to consider the following first:-

1. have Kia and you undertaken / attended any training classes?
2. Is Kia receptive to treats (biscuits, sausage, cheese etc etc)?
3. Is their an area near to you that is enclosed, fenced?
4. If yes to No3, is it away from busy roads?
5. Does Kia like balls, squeaky toys?
6. Do you have an extender lead?
7. Are you confident and feeling brave?

Lots more questions but the above are starters and basics.

I would highly recommend attending a local dog training class if you have not already. It is well worth it as your dog will learn that obedience training is fun and delivers rewards, more importantly you will have increased confidence in your ability and the fact that kia will and does respond to your commands (hand signals).

You can buy "signing" books for dogs, these have universally recognised hand signals for deaf dogs, a good traning class will more than likely have a trainer that knows the basics but it is up to you to learn them and more importantly get Kia to recognise them and react accordingly to them.

As an example Tash understands the signs we use which include - sit, stay, leave, fetch, down, away etc etc. She will also give her paw and other such cute little things that our babies do. Training a deaf dog is hard work, very hardwork but as you are probably well aware they pay you back ten fold if you put the effort in.

Don't listen to anybody who says you cannot train a deaf dog, with patience, lots of love, time and devotion Kia is more than capable of getting her bronze, silver and gold good citizen awards from the kennel club!! Tash got her bronze and silver, unfortunately we never got round to the gold but we still take time out to keep her upto speed.

Back to your main question, can I walk my deaf boxer off lead? The answer is yes, yes and yes.

However as already covered ensure you have attended training classes and Kia understands your hand signals. I would start in a small enclosed area, park, field, Try and go when nobody else is likely to be about this will ensure Kia is less likely to be distracted during her introduction to off lead exercise.

Start off with keeping Kia calm, try not to let her go hyper, put her into the sit position. Now make sure you have her favourite extra special treats and her favourite toy (keep the toy in your pocket for now).

Use the stay command and walk backwards 5 paces maintaining eye contact, recall her whilst showing her the treat, when she comes to you make her sit and give her the treat, make a fuss of her.

Now repeat this exercise again abut 5 times and continue to on a daily basis.

Next show her and let her sniff the treat but don't let her have it, now start walking and keep her on your right hand side, let her sniff the treat and keep walking, then stop and make her sit - give her the treat and make a fuss of her. Again repeat this about 5 times.

Now hopefully she is responding to this and getting the idea that good behaviour gets rewards.

Now produce her favourite toy and put the treats in your pocket, whilst keeping a firm grip on the toy get her to start playing with it tug of war style, get her attention fixed on the toy!

Now throw it a short distance away from you and then use the recall command, if she brings it back reward her with a treat. Now throw it further away, again recall her, now keep doing this, keep her engaged with you.

You may not be able to do this overnight it may take a few days before you are confident enough to do so. Once you are confident that she will come back to you when off lead take her to a larger space, obviously check for livestock, children, other dogs etc first. Do you have a large park near by?? Try the off lead exercises in the large park / field and then start with the toy throwing it further and further away, recall her each time and reward for good behaviour.

After a good few sessions down the park your confidence should be growing and you should be able to let her have a few minutes "free time" let her have a sniff about, recall her and reward again, build up the time she has to roam a little bit each day.

If she will not recall ensure your are in her field of vision and use the recall command again, if she will not recall again ensure she can see you and walk in the opposite direction to Kia, she should follow you, once she does start approaching you kneel and or crouch down and make her sit and stay.

Forgot to mention that during training and exercise get Kia used to you putting the lead back on throughout her walk / exercise, this way when you do want to go home putting the lead on will not signal "the end of the walk", many dogs do not recall because they see their owner waving a lead around and think to temselves "yeah right, I'm enjoying myself, no way am I going on that lead"!!!! If your dog thinks "well thats fine because Mum will let me back off soon", you are keeping her guessing as opposed to sticking to a fixed routine that she will soon figure out.

All the above takes time and I do not doubt you will have the odd moment of frustration or panic, remember stay calm, your dog will pick up on your vibes, just take your time and stick with it. Do you know anybody else with a well trained dog?? If so go down the park with them and let kia have some interaction with another dog off lead in a "safe" environment.

I would not under any circumstances recommend walking any dog off lead in resedential areas or near to a road, you never know what might catch their eye and they could easily be run down by a car. Once you have found a few places you are happy with stick with them. If you and Kia go on holiday keep her on lead until you have had chance to check out the area, again is it secure, are their any major roads near by, is their deep water, cliff edges etc etc that you need to be aware of???

One last thing always watch what Kia is doing, try and stay in her field of vision, if she is having a good sniff somewhere just stop near by and wait for her, if you don't she may panic and you don't have the benefit of being able to whistle or shout to get her attention.

Tash has lost sight of me once, thankfully we were on our usual walk and she just went home

The above are basics, if I can be of any further help or you have any questions just shout."

Sorry, I am being a bit lazy not removing names and personalising it to you specifically but their has been lot's of great advice already so my reply covers some old ground.

Kind regards and good luck



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