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Dalmatian Rescue of Illinois
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All About Dalmatians
All About Dalmatians

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Joey has a special treat after his training session yesterday.
http://vimeo.com/88070484
Joey's Reward
Joey's Reward
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Joey (aka "JoJo") is a sweetie!
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JoJo, a sweet young foster boy, is waiting for a new home. A loving boy, he is energetic, happy, and always ready to have fun! 
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We took five Dalmatians into rescue in February. Sweet Marcus is the most recent arrival. He came to us from a shelter in Illinois and will be available for adoption soon.
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Myths about deaf dogs abound. They are thought to be easily startled, aggressive, an incredible challenge to train, and likely to be hit by cars.
These myths have two things in common:
1. they are based on no evidence whatsoever
2. they fail to take into account the extraordinary powers of the dog's nose.

For these extraordinary powers we have mountains of scientific evidence! It has been shown that olfactory learning in dogs begins even before birth, and that they live in a world of scent that we cannot even imagine. They use their nose to recognize their humans, investigate the world, and find their greatest pleasures in life.

How do you wake up your deaf dog? You stand quietly nearby and count to 20. Your scent will reach her brain before you have finished and she will wake up wagging her tail!
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It is not possible to identify deaf Dalmatians simply by looking at them or living with them. Deaf Dalmatians can have many spots or few. Their eyes may be blue or brown. Dogs are experts at adapting to their surroundings, and "partial hearing loss is difficult to determine, and even complete deafness can go unnoticed for a long time," writes veterinarian Bonnie Beaver.

When we have doubts about the hearing status of our rescue Dalmatians, we take them to a veterinarian who is equipped to do the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) test. This is the only reliable way to know whether or not a dog can hear. The test takes about ten minutes and the results are immediately clear.

Here is little Matlin being tested shortly after she arrived in rescue. Her suspected deafness was confirmed.
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A common misconception about deaf dogs is that they are difficult or impossible to train. Not so! Deaf dogs respond to our body language just as, or perhaps even better than, hearing dogs do. Hand signals can be taught for common behaviors and even for tricks! The principles of learning do not change because the dog is deaf.

Like hearing dogs, deaf dogs "learn from the immediate consequences of their actions." Jean Donaldson, "Training Deaf Dogs" in "Oh Behave: Dogs from Pavlov to Premack to Pinker" (Dogwise, 2008).

We taught little Matlin, who is bilaterally deaf, to sit for a hand signal while we waited at the vet's office. Consequence of sitting for her? A small piece of cheese. Yum, she said, I'll do that again!
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For information on incidence of deafness in other breeds go to: http://www.lsu.edu/deafness/incidenc.htm
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New foster Joey with his favorite toy!

http://vimeo.com/74120447
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