We’re often thrown unexpected challenges in life, and for Jane, discovering that her new pup Stella was deaf was just that. However, it wasn’t long before Jane rose to the challenge and realised that her new furever friend was inspiring her to pursue a long put-off ambition; dog training.
“I’ve always been a really big pet lover and have always owned pets - when my children were growing up, there was always a multitude of different pets around the house.” Jane says. “Dogs are my absolute passion though, and rescuing Stella has only made me realise that more.”
“Because I’ve adopted pets in the past and know just how rewarding it can be, I looked on the PetRescue website. That’s when I found Stella. When I saw her, I filled out an application right away.
“The rescue group, Forever Friends from Gippsland in Victoria, got back to me right away; I only had to wait a few days to hear back about my application. I was extremely excited when my it was accepted and I got to go and pick her up.
“We realised after we’d had her for two days that Stella was totally deaf; having had puppies before, you know how they react when you clap your hands and so on. We did a few tests with her to check her hearing and it soon became apparent that she couldn’t hear at all. I’d really connected with her right from the off, so there was no way we were going to part with her.
“I started doing a lot of research into training deaf dogs. I wanted to be able to deal with it as best I could and wanted to make it easier for both us and her. The hardest part of the training process was of course the fact that you can’t call Stella; she’s always got to be looking at you for instructions because everything is done with hand signals.
“I started off by ringing up different trainers and watching videos on YouTube. She was so responsive right away, with the different hand signals. It’s been quite easy really - of course, the hard part is getting that eye contact, but I’ve started training her with a remote vibrating collar so that she’ll turn around and look at me. Hopefully, it’ll be a great tool.
“It’s an ongoing process, but she’s only ten months old and has already improved so much. She’s very well behaved and walking really well on the lead. She sits, drops, stays and just follows me everywhere really.
“Stella has been really great for me as she’s made me realise my passion for dogs all over again. I’ve actually started to do a dog training course, and hopefully help other people train their dogs in the future. It’s a part-time course with the National Dog Trainers Federation, I’m really looking forward to it.
“Having a dog that I know needs to be really well trained because of her disability has spurred into me into learning dog training. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about doing for a while, but life always got in the way. Now I’ve got the opportunity to give it a go. I just want people to realise that my experience with training a deaf dog has been so positive; they’re really easy to train and they’re very loving dogs.
“To anyone looking for a pet, it’s always a great idea to look at rescues, especially those in foster care. Don’t go to a pet shop before you consider rescuing.
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