Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Jag Overcomes

(Odessa MO)

We are the proud owners of 4 Australian shepherd dogs. Their names are Sydney, Dixie, Lexie and Jag. In the beginning we were happy to own just 2, that was until our neighbors double merle broke into our kennel one August night and bred our merle. The end result was 7 beautiful pups, with one catch, 5 carried homozygous merle traits. All were healthy, however, Jag was born both deaf and somewhat sight impaired.

My son fell in love with this pup from the beginning even before we knew about his problem. We were able to find loving homes for most of the pups by Christmas but soon became aware that we would probably have to take Jag to an animal shelter where he would most likely be put down. We just couldn't do that. Christmas morning we gave the two remaining pups to our children for Christmas. The day after Christmas Jag ran off a retaining wall landing on his head and knocking himself out. Thank God for a very caring Veterinarian who came in on her day off.

Jumping ahead 2 years, my son has trained him to American sign language, his favorite game is frisbee which he catches in midair. Jag has learned to depend on the other three dogs as more or less his very own guide dogs. Jag is loving, smart, playful and loyal.

What more could anyone want in a family dog. Jag requires close monitoring, we can never allow him to just run free, but he is loved and well taken care of.

Comments for Jag Overcomes

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Jag update
by: Anonymous

Well the day finally came when Jag's boy went off to college, and it has been an adjustment for both. First, both are doing well, I suspect that algebra and science do not make up for missing his best friend, and Jag lives for Friday evenings when his best bud comes in from school. Every Friday like clockwork Jag is watching for his best bud. How does he know? Well this last week we were snowbound and his boy could not come home, the first few days were OK, but enough is enough Jag is off his feed, and around here anyone who knows Jag, knows that this is a big deal. Jag likes his chow! Jag is such a love bug, and he just isn't his self. Good news his best pal will be home this weekend. I telling you this because so many dogs like Jag are losing there homes and their best friends because of the economy, or the well meaning families that adopt these dogs, don't educate themselves and realize that these beautiful dogs require an investment of themselves. They are high energy, scary smart, and probably the most loving dog breed that there is. These dogs become attached to their families, so please think before you adopt, you are investing 14 or more years to your best friend.

Jag update
by: Anonymous

My brother owns this dog and I think its time for a little update on him. He is now almost 6 and doing great. He actually obeys us as well or better than our other dogs. He has fully trained my brother to how he likes to play frisby (sad but true), and has the whole family wrapped around his little paws. He loves everything and everyone and you can see how happy he is just by looking at him, he is one happy little guy. The oddest thing is that this dog knows how to bark to wake up his sister, mom and aunt when he wants something. We are not sure how he knows how to bark but he does, sometimes he will just set there barking in their faces, the others seem to know he can't hear how loud and annoying he is being and will set there and ignore him.

Deaf Aussie Owner Also
by: Anonymous

We had 2 other Aussies that were rescued dogs and our 3rd Aussie was also adopted from an animal shelter. Monte is deaf but we do not look at him as being handicapped. Monte was 6 months old when he was shown on a local TV news show & we adopted him. Monte is a joy to be around, he has been easy to train by having the other 2 Aussies they look out for him also we have our back yard fenced 8' high so he is able to run and play with the other dogs he isn't confined to a leash. Monte is the happiest dog, By watching Monte interact with people and the other dogs you would never know he is deaf, many people have been totally shocked when told about his deafness and the cause. We are so very happy he choose us at the animal shelter to be his owners as there were 3 other familes looking at him, he warmed up to us immediately and has been with us now for 3 very happy years. I would recommend an Aussie to anyone wanting a puppy or even an older dog. They are smart, easy to train, loyal, excellent watch dog, the best friend you could have. I am so happy my daughter got my first Aussie for me 9 years ago it was the best present I have ever received.

Aussie Snow Angel
by: Penny

We had a puppy just like Jag. She was deaf and sight impaired. My young son wanted her for his birthday and the bond grew from there. Snow learned hand signals and would watch us all the time. She learned the basic commands easily but when she did not want to listen to you, she would look up into the sky as "I can't hear you". But if you waited and put your hands on your hip, she would look at you and knew you meant business. All of our family and other dogs learned the hand signals too. Snow was a happy dog who loved to play with my son. She would follow the other dogs and would lay down and wait if she lost you. Snow lived to the age of 13 and taught our family alot. "Aussie Snow Angel"

To training advise from Jag's owners

I just read the blog about your deaf Ausie, congratulations you have just started a very special journey. As for advise; you have to be careful of situations that will put her in danger. If you have ever been charged by a crazy cow, then you know what I mean. That does't mean she can't learn to heard cattle, I think it depends on the dog and her instinct, only you can judge that, talk to a trainer who teaches herding dogs.

You can't let her run loose like most dogs they can't hear cars or commands to come back from danger, That is what happened when Jag ran off a retaining wall. You might try using a 30 or 40 ft. training lead. As for training you have several options, #1 by a book on signing or be creative. They are so smart and you will learn a very useful second language. #2 Try a vibrating collar, but be aware they are very expensive and be sure if you are looking on line, to put in the word "dog", because you may be shocked at what pops up, don't search with children around. #3 Some people use lazer pointers or flashlights much like clicker training, only with sight not sound, but you have to get her to look at you first.

One of the first things they learn, if they don't have to look at you, they don't have to listen. Look it may take her a little longer to catch on, but you have another pup that is being trained, chances are she will depend on the other pup as kind of a hearing guide dog, that is what we found with Jag and Lexie. Lexie watches over Jag and he depends on her, when she isn't around he gets very upset and we have to put him in with is mother.

What your dog is able to learn will depend on how patient you are, and how much time you have to devote. My son worked with Jag 15 to 20 minutes a day, every day as a pup. Now training is 30 to 60 minutes 3 or 4 days a week, the other days they just hang out together playing frisby and ball. You have to be consistent, as with anything the more fun she has, the easier it will come to her. Let her natural instinct and intelligence lead the way.

#4 Get help from a dog trainer if you need it, especially in the beginning. Just don't give up on her. Remember this is your new best friend. One thing, BEFORE YOU TAKE HER TO A TRAINER OR AROUND OTHER DOGS, "PLEASE GET HER VACINATED"! Two of Jags litter mates died of parvo a few weeks after ariving at their new home. I hope this helps, search out other owners with deaf Ausies, ask questions, that is what we did. Let us know how it goes, remember the sky is the limit. Don't assume that she can't do it, ask and see if she can. There are several web pages devoted to deafness in Ausies, read everything you can BUT REMEMBER: YOUR DOG IS UNIQUE.

Odessa MO

Training Advice
by: Anonymous

We just got an 8 week old Aussie pup that we found out is deaf. Do you have any advice? We do have another one the same age that can hear and would like to train them together, but I'm just not sure how her impairment will limit her especially with things like herding cattle.

Great story
by: John

That was a great story and it is nice to see true dog owners like yourselves looking past a few flaws in a beautiful dog. Jag sounds like he has a great life ahead of him with a very loving family. God bless you all. Let us all know how he does with the sign language. Im sure he will catch on they are very intelligent dogs.

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