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Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Without Sight and Sound

by Kimberly
(New York)

Double Merle Aussie Girls

Double Merle Aussie Girls

Dakota is my Australian Shepherd and Kelen is my mini Aussie. They are both double merles.... deaf and blind. Yet, despite the fact that these two can't see or hear, they are AMAZING!

Dakota and Kelen are trained with touch signals, vibrations, and scents. They both participate in agility and Dakota has passed her Canine Good Citizen test.

They are an inspiration and show us that one doesn't have to be hearing or sighted to accomplish great things! :)

Comments for Without Sight and Sound

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blind and deaf
by: Renee

I have a 19 month old who I got at 3 months from a rescue I volunteer at and he is blind and deaf. He had an aussie father and a mini poodle mother. He is all white and looks like a lab. He is the best dog ever and shares a home with 7 other dogs. His name is Kyle and he has even passed Therapy where he is able to go to the Veterans hospital and some of the schools in my area. He does not bite.

Deaf/Blind Dog Support
by: Kimberly

It is completely incorrect that a deaf and/or blind dog is more likely to bite. Any dog is capable of biting. It all depends on socialization and environment.

Deaf and/or blind dogs are WONDERFUL! They just require an open-minded owner who is willing to think outside the box.

I have a Facebook page that provides support for people with deaf and blind dogs or who are thinking of adopting one...

Parker's Fan Club

Thank you for commenting and for being willing to consider a special needs dog. You won't be disappointed! Please let me know if you have any other questions.

May adopt a deaf/blind dog
by: LuAnn

I am deaf and looking into adopting deaf/blind Aussie mix. I am doing my homework and reading up on these dogs. Some articles say these dogs can bite because of easy to startle and this is the first article that says this is not true for all deaf dogs. Are there any support or trainings that I can get involved with if I do adopt this puppy? Thank you.

Digestive Issues
by: Kimberly

Double Merles are not known for any other health issues other than deafness and blindness. Caitlin, has your vet run various tests to figure out why your double merle is having these issues?

My deaf&blind Aussie
by: Caitlin

Thanks for the article! I also have an AMAZING, happy, loving blind & dead Aussie girl named Belle. I'm looking to see if any other double Merle owners have noticed digestive issues with their pups? Little B almost never has a solid stool and while the bet tests show she is fine was curious to know if it is common among these pups

Good info!
by: alipaws

Thanks this is great info! I've also started a blog on my new girl, you can see it at

Thanks, and other options
by: Anonymous

Thanks, everyone, for your comments and suggestions, I'm going to join up with a group. That's a shame TDI doesn't allow deaf dogs, but having dealt with them, I can't say I'm surprised. And of course the AKC doesn't, that's a given! I wanted to mention Dog Scouts of America as an option for titling your dogs, they are a wonderful organization that does not discriminate for more information, and to find a local troop in your area. The Dog Scout test is similar to a CGC, and once they pass there are over 50 badges that they can work on, such as rally, backpacking, swimming, retrieving, agility, many more.

Thank You!
by: Kimberly

Thank you, Lila! Many well-known dog organizations discriminate against deaf dogs. Deaf and deaf/blind dogs are able to take the AKC Canine Good Citizen test (which is the only aspect of the AKC that I support).

Parker, my deaf/blind collie, is a therapy dog with Paws for Friendship. While TDI does not allow deaf dogs, many other therapy dog groups do.

by: Lila Arnold

Thank you for mentioning that TDI does not allow deaf dogs to become therapy dogs. Many people are shocked to learn this, especially after meeting a deaf dog and learning firsthand how wonderful and well trained they are. I just wanted to add that the American Kennel Club does not allow deaf dogs in companion events such as rally, obedience, and agility. Once again, misinformation and old myths keep deaf dogs out of AKC competition. I have enjoyed reading about your wonderful dogs this past year. Keep up the good work and keep on educating the public about our wonderful dogs.

Website Resources
by: Radcliff Deaf Dog

I have a Deaf Aussie/Border Collie Mix. Radcliff has a blog which includes website resources and facebook friends for comments and discussion. Please check out his page Comments and suggestions are welcome!

Deaf/Blind Chat Groups
by: Kimberly

Actually there are quite a few places online to discuss deaf/blind dogs... check out the Yahoo groups (Lethal White Aussie Rescue Carolinas). If you search for deaf/blind dog, deaf dog, and blind dog, you will find other Yahoo groups.

There are also several Facebook pages. Please check out my newest deaf/blind dog's Facebook page: Parker's Fan Club. Parker is a double dilute rough collie. He is deaf and was born without any eyes.

Also, just so you know TDI discriminates against deaf dogs... because of the myth that deaf dogs startle more easily and are more likely to bite than hearing dogs. All untrue! So sad that a great therapy dog group isn't more open-minded and knowledgeable. :( That is why I write these article and have education and awareness tables at pet events to spread CORRECT information about deaf/blind dogs and double merles.

Thank you for posting!

blind/deaf group
by: alipaws

I've recently adopted a blind/deaf aussie puppy, and she is wonderful, I'm totally hooked. She has learned sit, down, stay and come (touch signals) and I hope to try her in rally and agility, GCC, TDI, DSA, whatever she can do. I was wondering if there is anyplace where those of us with these special needs dogs could talk together, a FB group, or yahoo group? Would any of you be interested in getting together in a group?

I Agree!
by: Kimberly

Yes, I agree! Deaf dogs can do anything except hear. They really are quite special and I hope more people are willing to adopt a special needs Aussie (or any other breed) and get to experience how wonderful these dogs can be. They definitely don't need to be euthanized and there definite is no reason to be breeding merle-to-merle (that's how you get double merle dogs... most have hearing and vision issues). 25% of puppies from merle-to-merle litters are double merles and born mostly white with various degrees of hearing and vision issues. Dakota and Kelen are two examples of double merles, products of careless and perhaps callous breeding.

Thank You Again!
by: Kimberly

Thank you all again for such wonderful comments! :) I'm happy everyone is enjoying reading about Dakota and Kelen.

Deaf dogs can do it all.
by: From Odessa

Cool story, these dogs are amazing, we have a deaf Aussie who is somewhat sight impaired and wouldn't trade him for anything in the world. But how many are destroyed every day because they are hearing or sight impaired. Yes they require some extra attention, but it is so worth it. Deaf dogs can do anything a hearing dog can, they just need a chance. That is where owners like you come in. The breed needs more owners willing to adopt and love these beautiful dogs.

Deaf/Blind Dog Training
by: Kimberly

Here are some links to training a deaf/blind dog:

The touch signals I use with my deaf/blind dogs are:

Tap on butt = sit
Tap on top of shoulders = down
Brushing fingertips under chin = come
Tap on top of head = pay attention/focus/stay
Tap on side of leg = "give me your paw"

I also use vibrations for attention getting and warnings. I use scents (in bottles or on a long stick/object) for targeting and shaping behaviors.

My Lily
by: Cindy

I work @ a veterinary clinic and adopted a blind and deaf Mini Aussi that had been dropped on a deserted road. I am looking for any tips on training. She gets soooooo excited when she smells you come into the room. I truly love this dog and would like her to have some "manners". Thanks for all of your help.

Thank you!
by: Kimberly

Thank you for your wonderful comments! :)

Great story from without sight and sound
by: Jeff Fort

I was just looking through things on the internet on Australian Shepards, then read your story. Wow how nice and for you to have two dogs with the same conditions. What a special bond that must really be. Just want to say all the best to your whole family. A memorable story. Now I have to expect more from my 3 dogs!

Wonderful Dogs
by: Mary Ann

They are such beautiful dogs. I have a Bichon going blind going to get her cataracts off both eyes. Expensive 3000 but she is only 3 years old. A long life ahead of her. Her companions is Peaches my Aussie she is like a seeing eye dog. lol

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