Deaf Dalmation Learns Sign Language
Zoe is a beautiful 18-month old Dalmatian with a big problem. She is stone deaf. Frustrated about not being able to bond with Zoe, her owner returned her to the animal shelter, not realizing that she had a disability.
When Zoe arrived at the animal shelter in Devon , she was very timid and lacked confidence. The staff there soon realized that Zoe was deaf. That's when they decided to teach her how to communicate in a different manner.
In order to get her to pick up the sign language gestures, they encouraged Zoe to focus on their face and expressions, by bribing her with treats. Once Zoe was able to focus, she quickly picked up the sign language gestures. Today she understands seven commands, which include, sit, stay, dance, lie down, paw, kiss and good girl.
Now that Zoe has learned the basics, the shelter is hoping to find her a permanent home, with an owner who can continue to teach her more.
While Zoe is lucky to been diagnosed and helped, deafness is quite common in certain dog breeds, like Dalmatians, Collies and certain Terriers. Most of them learn to 'hear' through their nose, eyes and 'vibration'. If taught, they also learn to take commands through hand signals or expressions, similar to what Zoe has been able to do.