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Focus and a Visual Connection

By Morag Heirs

© Peter Steffensen

I became interested in obedience and rally after adopting my first deaf dog, Farah, a border collie. She was a bright dog who would have been an excellent working dog if only she could hear, and clearly we needed something to focus on. At the time it was difficult to get into competitive obedience training in my area if you wanted to use reward-based methods, and my deaf dog was met with a great deal of skepticism…Platform training (where the dog learns to stand or sit, or rest the front paws on different shaped or sized targets) is a secret weapon for deaf dog owners. It helps the dog by giving them really clear signals and cues, and it helps the handler minimize their body language. Especially with deaf dogs, we need to be clean and consistent with our signals. Platforms take out some of the guess work for the dog. Read more.

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