Dog news: Deaf sheepdog learns sign language to continue herding animals | Nature | News

Eight-year-old collie Peggy lost her hearing and could no longer communicate. When abandoned by her owner, she was admitted to the RSPCA in December 2018. Like just before Christmas, animal welfare manager Chloe Shorten brought them home to look after them until they could find a place in the kennels.

Ms. Shorten said, “We decided that she could stay with us temporarily while we found a more permanent place to take her in, but we fell in love with her almost instantly and it quickly became apparent that she was nowhere would go!

“It was a perfect fit for our crazy house, came with us everywhere, and suited my husband’s job – as a shepherd!

The couple trained Peggy with the help of a German Shepherd Trainer, and their two working Shepherd dogs, Sid and Nora, also helped. She continues, “We knew Peggy wanted to work and we began the long process of teaching her how to tend and work with a shepherd without relying on voice commands.

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“The main thing for us was to be able to tell her she was a good girl and reassure her that she would be fine. It took her a while to learn that we loved her and gained her trust, but it was so rewarding to know that she now understands our praise.

“Now she’s learned to make a fuss by tapping and nudging you on the arm or leg. Sometimes she hits you really hard and you feel like beaten! She absolutely loves walking around like a nutter so we have a GPS tracker on our collars just in case we get disconnected and she can’t see us as she doesn’t hear us calling her.

“But it’s amazing to see her with this new life and enjoy her life with us. She is proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks. and is a wonderful example of a dog’s ability to function even when it becomes insane. “

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