What Does It Take To Train Blind And Deaf Dogs? LOVE.

Hayden Kristal shares her remarkable life with two Double Merle dogs

By Justyne Yuen-Lee

Getting a dog is no joke. I went through the entire process of potentially adopting a dog and I couldn’t go through with it because I was afraid that I wasn’t able to commit to the responsibility it takes to provide for a pet. We’re just wrapping up the holiday season and in a few weeks rescues will begin to see an increase in surrender of puppies and other baby animals from families who just weren’t ready. But even if you’ve planned and prepared, a new pet is sure to demand a whole lot from you.


One of the main reasons why I didn’t adopt a dog from the humane society is because I had little faith in my training skills. To other people who have had pets before or have experience in training animals, it wouldn’t be as difficult. But now, sit back and imagine what it might be like to train a dog who couldn’t see or hear your commands? Even some seasoned dog-training professionals may be intimidated by tackling pets who may require a different approach.


In the animal world, we sometimes see the mother reject the runt of the litter or the puppies that she doesn’t believe will survive. So, when it comes to dogs with sensory or other disabilities, people who are looking to add a pet to their home are often too nervous about dealing with what they perceive will be “special training requirements” to even consider them as an adoption possibility.


Credit: Tumblr / @pinkmanthedog

One day I came across Hayden Kristal’s Tumblr and I learned from just one post there are a lot of false facts out there about training dogs who are deaf. Her Tumblr was originally meant to showcase her new dog, Pinkman, but slowly became an source of information for training dogs with different needs. Kristal has two dogs, both of whom are deaf. Her pup, Pinkman can’t hear and her little sister, Bitsy can’t hear or see! She uses touch training with Bitsy and Pinkman responds to American Sign Language!


Credit: Tumblr / @pinkmanthedog

I reached out to Kristal to ask some questions about training Pinky and Bitsy and to offer any advice that she might have for those people who may be considering adopting a pet with sensory disabilities. She was kind enough to excuse my ignorance and give Get Leashed some insight on her life, her dogs, and the ups and downs of training special needs pets.

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