Author Topic: Stubborn Dog Going Deaf-- Tips?  (Read 1763 times)

Offline cerulean.blue

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 3339
  • I'm up and dressed... What more do you want?
Stubborn Dog Going Deaf-- Tips?
« on: January 03, 2014, 05:06:28 PM »
My 12-year-old diabetic dog, Piper, is losing her hearing. I have started to use more hand signals in conjunction with verbal commands, and for things like coming to me and sitting before her meal, it's fine. My problem is in the things she doesn't really want to do. She gets her blood sugar tested before meals and her insulin injected after meals. She basically just tolerates the procedures, but doesn't really enjoy them, and it took a long time to get her to that point. She knows the routine, because we've been doing this for over a year. The problem is that now she's going deaf, she has the attitude of "I can't hear you, so I don't really have to do it if I don't feel like it." This is making her decide to get up and walk away in the middle of me trying to test her or give her her shot, which is quite frustrating. Anyone have tips for stubborn dogs who are going deaf?

Offline HowlsOfAngels

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 751
  • Did everything just taste purple for a second?
Re: Stubborn Dog Going Deaf-- Tips?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2014, 04:26:05 PM »
This may or may not seem obvious, but take advantage of every other sense because as one fades the others grow more sensitive.

If she is only tolerating the procedures now, which I assume are necessary to maintain her health, try to make them more pleasant for her. If possible bring out a special treat or toy when she is getting her injection or getting her test. Or have someone hold her head,rub her, and speak sweetly to her to distract her from the pain (this is especially useful if she enjoys rough petting). With her hearing leaving her the test and injection may feel more painful to her now as her sense of touch becomes heightened to make up for the loss.

If she's truly just being stubborn make her work for everything, if she wants out make her sit, wait, and give eye contact for a designated time (five or ten seconds will do), if she knows anything more than sit add a few more cues before feeding her, etc. This may raise the worth of the items in her eyes and make things that require less work, like sitting still for an injection, seem easier and she may be more likely to do them with less of a struggle.
"Optimus Prime says 'No,' to promiscuos sex." - Alex Murphy

Offline cerulean.blue

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 3339
  • I'm up and dressed... What more do you want?
Re: Stubborn Dog Going Deaf-- Tips?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2014, 06:41:32 PM »
She does already get a special injection treat (bacon bits) before and after, which helps a lot. Sometimes she just wants to get her treat, and then get up and leave though, so stubbornness is definitely part of my problem. I was thinking about adding a special test time treat too (currently don't do treats for testing, since most of the time she gets her meal right afterwards). I found some that I don't think should affect her blood glucose level (Holistic Health Extension Turkey Balls- they're small and only have a few ingredients), so maybe that will help in offering more incentive for her to cooperate and stay still. I have also been trying to massage her more before test and injection. They say that's supposed to help them feel it less, and she does seem a little more cooperative when I do it more.

She is smart, and picks up on things pretty quickly. If she gets worse, making her work more for things like her meal might work to make her better for the easy things. I hadn't thought of that idea, so I will keep it in mind. I've also heard they make vibrating collars. I think I might look into those as a way to make her pay attention when she doesn't want to, but I'm not really sure if she'd be okay with something like that.

Offline bit-bit

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 3335
  • I'm tough as glass and clean as night.
Re: Stubborn Dog Going Deaf-- Tips?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2014, 08:52:16 PM »
When my boy lost his hearing, we'd get his attention by stomping on the floor, and he could feel the vibration even a couple rooms away. She may just need a reminder that you aren't done with her, so give that a try if it works with your floor.

Do you have two people to do the tests, or is it a solo job?  When we had to do something my dog didn't like (grooming, for example), one of us would hold his head and rub his ears - he didn't mind a pretty tight headlock as long as he was getting petted (that sounds mean, but he took to biting in his old age, so it was safest for everyone to have him restrained well).  The distraction of petting May be enough to keep her from walking away, or she may need to actually be held, but either will be easier if you have a second person to help.

Offline slynx

  • Posts Too Much!
  • *****
  • Posts: 918
    • Maya's blog
Re: Stubborn Dog Going Deaf-- Tips?
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2014, 03:32:15 PM »
If it's just you doing the treats, I'd consider giving a treat that has to be licked up.  Like a line of cheez whiz on the floor, or a bowl or Kong with some peanut butter or liver paste smeared around in it.  I realize there are limits to what's okay for her blood sugar, of course, but surely something sticky & appropriate could be found :P

I'd be less inclined to label it stubbornness and more to consider that she just doesn't enjoy the experience.  Yeah, these tests & pokes are good for her, but she doesn't know that!  Especially when our pets get older, they can lose patience with accommodating all our pointless-and-uncomfortable silly human nonsense, most particularly if they are stiff, sore, or have less energy overall.

The best way to help dogs learn to tolerate/enjoy uncomfortable experiences is to pair it with something great, and make the association happen without a significant delay between the two.  That's why something that takes a while to lick up works better than a treat at the end.  A succession of tiny treats throughout would also work great, but unless you have a whole extra pair of hands, I do appreciate the logistical challenges!

If you do add a vibrating collar, do the same thing -- make every buzz a predictor of something tasty from you.  You can feed part of every meal this way (buzz/treat, buzz/treat, buzz/treat).  That way, she'll learn to feel good about the vibration, but even better, you'll get a dog who looks at you expectantly every time her collar vibrates.  Over time, with careful training, you can turn that into a pretty great recall or attention signal.