His Old Dog Is Going to Have to Teach Jamie Garrett Some New Tricks
I've put up with busted sheet rock. I've lived through shredded wood baseboards around the doors. I've even put up with her love of rolling in other dogs' feces. After years of trying to get my pup, Lexi, to do this and do that, it looks like it's up to me now.
She's been my faithful companion for the past 8+ years. She's gone on family camping trips, beach vacations and road trips. She's gone running with me when I've led a healthy lifestyle. She's sat on her butt in the living room watching TV with me when I'm not living so healthy. She's a member of the family.
For the past few months, Lexi hasn't listened as well as she has in the past. Since the time spent in classes at Sit Means Sit dog training, she's been automatic. Tell her to sit and she does it. Tell her to come and she does it. Even if she doesn't want to do it, she does it. At least... she did it.
My wife has blamed her lack of listening on the new dog in the house. Lexi has never been a fan of other dogs encroaching on her space, and there have been growing pains. It's not come down to straight-up ignoring me before, though. This was something different than just being stubborn.
I'll look right at her and tell her to go lay down and she won't do it. I'll have to call for her 5 or 6 times before she does it. I was beginning to go with my wife's thought that she was protesting the new living arrangements, but it didn't add up. Why didn't the behavior start from the time we got the new dog last July?
Over the course of the past week I've come to the conclusion that it's actually much worse than just acting out like an upset toddler. She seems to be losing her hearing. I used to pull in the driveway and she'd be at the gate waiting for me after hearing the truck. I'd open the front door & she'd be at the back window waiting for me. If she was staying in the bedroom for the day she'd be there waiting for me to open the door.
Now, I have to go into the room & actually rouse her out of her slumber. I can go out on the back porch, pour food and give both dogs water only to see her still sleeping in the corner. She rules that back yard with an iron fist. Nothing gets in and nothing gets out. She could hear a field mouse at 80 yards and bark for an hour, but I wouldn't be surprised to find a family of racoons subletting the inside of my grill on the back porch.
I've been told by a few friends that dogs can learn sign language, and as smart as she is (and otherwise very healthy) I'm thinking that might be the way to go. The only problem? I don't know sign language. Yes, I know less sign language than a lab chimp. I guess that means this old dog is going to have to learn some new tricks.
We had a cocker spaniel when I was a kid that went deaf (odd considering those long ears), but he wasn't exactly the brightest bulb in the bunch so there was no way a dog that never learned a trick was going to learn one via sign language.
What about you? Have you had this issue with your pet? Do you have any recommendations for dealing with a dog with hearing loss? Email or Facebook message any suggestions you may have. I want to live many more years with this gal, and I want us all to be able to communicate and do what we're supposed to do.
The professionals have their suggestions, with everyone from WebMD to Cesar Millan to DeafDogsRock.com offering advice, but you've never led me astray before, so I'll go with your thoughts. After all, if he's the dog whisperer, Lexi won't be able to hear what he's whispering, anyway.