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Went for a walk at the farm tonight and noticed once again that Ladybug, the girl that used to spin around in mid-air was lagging on her recalls...in fact, she was out of sight and not responding for a good five minutes, highly unusual and scary! This is not the first time this summer that she's been lagging behind on the recalls, but we took it as "Give me 2 minutes to chase down a mouse without those pups up my butt!" kind of thing, but today's actions, plus her lack of response to some noises and over response to others in the house that I've noticed these past few weeks makes me believe that at rising on ten years, she's lost a significant amount of her hearing...

 

How does one "field test" for hearing loss....and how would a veterinarian determine if our dear Ladybug has indeed lost a significant part of her hearing?

 

Liz

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I am now living with my third and fourth dogs to lose their hearing significantly in old age, so definitely not an expert. However, I have noticed substantial hearing loss in all four dogs around the 10-12 age range. My vet's take on things is this: you live with the dog, you know what your dog's normal reactions are, and if you think the dog is losing hearing, you are probably right. My vet has offered to refer me to a specialty clinic for a BAER test, but I have not yet seen a need to go that route.

 

I notice it most when the dogs in question are sound asleep and don't wake up to "normal" noises (like me pulling into the garage and coming into the house). But delayed or almost non-existent recalls are also a big symptom, as is a lack of response to squeaky toys. We have worked out some simple hand signals and experimented to find sounds that seem still to register that we can use to get their attention--and they take a lot of cues from Spirit, who still hears well.

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A veterinary neurologist can do a BAER test for about $40 to $60. I would suspect your local vet school would have that ability. Most neurologists don't keep the equipment needed to do them.

 

10 years old is about right for hearing loss, but dogs of that age are often selectively deaf. :rolleyes: I've got a 9 year old who I would swear is deaf half the time, but if you whisper a herding command she is off like a shot.

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My last Border collie went deaf with age. I would guess she was around 12 years old. I first noticed that she was no longer coming when I called. Nor was she paying attention to other commands. At first I thought it was just selective deafness.

 

The plus side was that fireworks and thunderstorms were no longer an issue.

 

We never had her diagnosed; it was just apparent (esp. from the absence of a response to thunderstorms) that she was simply no longer hearing well.

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Selective deafness is a possibility for sure -- she reacts much like your 9 year old, I suspect. Maybe it's old age grumpiness. :D. I'll have to call around....our closest vet school is Cornell -- about a two hour ride.

 

Meanwhile, Miss Ladybug doesn't get to wander out of sight in the hedgerow!

 

Liz

 

A veterinary neurologist can do a BAER test for about $40 to $60. I would suspect your local vet school would have that ability. Most neurologists don't keep the equipment needed to do them.

 

10 years old is about right for hearing loss, but dogs of that age are often selectively deaf. :rolleyes: I've got a 9 year old who I would swear is deaf half the time, but if you whisper a herding command she is off like a shot.

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My oldster didn't start to have hearing loss - at least that I could notice - until well into age 13. However, now, at 14.5, she can hear some sounds - especially very high-pitched noises. Your mileage may vary, of course. I didn't start quite early enough, but she can hear a whistle (plastic kind - my mouth can't do it!) at a greater distance than she hears my [at times squeaky] voice or even clapping (which works at closer range). Like Alchemist, though, mine too can't hear the noises that used to unsettle her so. Hand signals help too of course - again, better to start teaching them while they CAN hear!

 

diane

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Craig is going deaf. He's 12 now. I noticed it first at trials--we'd get to about the same point at every trial last summer and then he'd just stop doing what I asked him to. It was very clear last year at exactly this time at the Nicomodes Gulch SDT. We were having a really nice run, totally in sync, sheep moving well, and suddenly just as we were ready to transition to the cross drive, he just stopped. No amount of whistling or commanding him had any effect. We retired, and I walked closer to him and gave him the flank I'd been asking for, and he immediately took it and seemed ready to continue the course. It seemed fairly obvious he was losing his hearing, but I tried one last time at another trial a month after that, with the same dramatic result. I retired him for good then, and he has been losing more and more of his hearing since then. In February, I BAER tested him, and both ears showed flatline results (complete and total deafness). He does seem to hear me when I am close to him. It's weird, though--he can be twenty feet away from me and seem to hear me just fine if he's looking at me or knows what I am probably asking him, but if he is not looking at me or has another train of thought in his head, he won't hear me from five feet away. He kind of zones out, and it can be very difficult to get him to acknowledge me. It seems like there is some kind of cognitive disruption going on, but I suppose it could be just the loss of auditory information. It's really kind of sad--I realized at the Nicomodes Gulch trial this past weekend that I can't really trust Craig off leash anymore because I can't trust he'll come back when I call him. Getting old sucks.

 

ETA: Mark Neff will probably be at the finals doing BAER tests (and blood draws) for his study, if you had plans to make the trip this year.

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We thought our old retriever mix was going deaf around 11-12 years old. At times, she could be staring right at you and would not respond at all. After watching her for a while and how she reacted (or didn't react at times) to sounds, we began to notice other symptoms. It became clearer that is was more than just hearing loss (if it was that at all). She had multiple signs of cognitive dysfunction. It gradually got worse as she got older. She also had vestibular syndrome which gave her a head tilt and poor balance for a while. She lived to be 15/16 years old and was still a happy girl until the end, just a bit confused and loopy every so often.

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My experiences with Sammi and now Shonie are very similar. Sam responded to hand claps and whistles just fine, you could see her perk up her ears. She'd also notice when I'd stomp on the floor to get her attention.

 

Shonie, who has always had an incredible recall, now can't hear my voice if there's any background noise, so she goes on leash everywhere except a fenced environment. Sam was 13 when I started to notice signs of deafness, and Shonie is around 14 now.

 

Ruth

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We won't be able to go but if I do have testing done on her, I'd be happy to send results on -- I don't have papers for her though...she's a rescue, so she might not fit into the paremeters of the study anyway. I think no more wandering for Ladybug until we get a chance to get to Cornell....

 

Liz

 

Craig is going deaf. He's 12 now. I noticed it first at trials--we'd get to about the same point at every trial last summer and then he'd just stop doing what I asked him to. It was very clear last year at exactly this time at the Nicomodes Gulch SDT. We were having a really nice run, totally in sync, sheep moving well, and suddenly just as we were ready to transition to the cross drive, he just stopped. No amount of whistling or commanding him had any effect. We retired, and I walked closer to him and gave him the flank I'd been asking for, and he immediately took it and seemed ready to continue the course. It seemed fairly obvious he was losing his hearing, but I tried one last time at another trial a month after that, with the same dramatic result. I retired him for good then, and he has been losing more and more of his hearing since then. In February, I BAER tested him, and both ears showed flatline results (complete and total deafness). He does seem to hear me when I am close to him. It's weird, though--he can be twenty feet away from me and seem to hear me just fine if he's looking at me or knows what I am probably asking him, but if he is not looking at me or has another train of thought in his head, he won't hear me from five feet away. He kind of zones out, and it can be very difficult to get him to acknowledge me. It seems like there is some kind of cognitive disruption going on, but I suppose it could be just the loss of auditory information. It's really kind of sad--I realized at the Nicomodes Gulch trial this past weekend that I can't really trust Craig off leash anymore because I can't trust he'll come back when I call him. Getting old sucks.

 

ETA: Mark Neff will probably be at the finals doing BAER tests (and blood draws) for his study, if you had plans to make the trip this year.

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I have a 12, almost 13 yo, retired open dog that has the same type of symptoms. I haven't had her Baer tested, but almost the exact same sypmtoms

 

Craig is going deaf. He's 12 now. I noticed it first at trials--we'd get to about the same point at every trial last summer and then he'd just stop doing what I asked him to. It was very clear last year at exactly this time at the Nicomodes Gulch SDT. We were having a really nice run, totally in sync, sheep moving well, and suddenly just as we were ready to transition to the cross drive, he just stopped. No amount of whistling or commanding him had any effect. We retired, and I walked closer to him and gave him the flank I'd been asking for, and he immediately took it and seemed ready to continue the course. It seemed fairly obvious he was losing his hearing, but I tried one last time at another trial a month after that, with the same dramatic result. I retired him for good then, and he has been losing more and more of his hearing since then. In February, I BAER tested him, and both ears showed flatline results (complete and total deafness). He does seem to hear me when I am close to him. It's weird, though--he can be twenty feet away from me and seem to hear me just fine if he's looking at me or knows what I am probably asking him, but if he is not looking at me or has another train of thought in his head, he won't hear me from five feet away. He kind of zones out, and it can be very difficult to get him to acknowledge me. It seems like there is some kind of cognitive disruption going on, but I suppose it could be just the loss of auditory information. It's really kind of sad--I realized at the Nicomodes Gulch trial this past weekend that I can't really trust Craig off leash anymore because I can't trust he'll come back when I call him. Getting old sucks.

 

ETA: Mark Neff will probably be at the finals doing BAER tests (and blood draws) for his study, if you had plans to make the trip this year.

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My soon to be 13 yo Sheltie is very deaf. I believe she started having difficulties a couple of years ago and I feel people often tend to think "selective hearing" because it can be very confusing when the dog seems to hear in one situation but not another. Even my pet sitter who is normally very patient with my dogs was rather unsympathetic at first, saying the Sheltie "didn't hear when it suited her." My vet said that she thinks dogs do such a good job of compensating for the initial hearing loss that we don't realize it is steadily worsening until the extent of the problem suddenly seems dramatic. That is how it was with my Sheltie and my first Lhasa.

 

So my practically perfect Sheltie now needs to be watched very closely if she is off leash because her amazing recall is a thing of the past (she can't obey if she can't hear me). She usually hears whistles, loud voices and clapping. I'm training Quinn to get her attention or let her know if we are moving outside or coming in. I haven't had her hearing tested since it seems pretty clearly age related.

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Usually start seeing signs around at 10.

 

Ben was so good at covering it most of the time, that I considered some of his flank refusals at that age to be selective deafness. That doG I decided to baer test rather than chastise him, because I found out he was down to less than 20% in one ear, about 40% in the other. He got a big hug and we were cutting back on trialing due to life changes anyway...so retirement it was. He's now totally deaf at almost 13 and responds to hand signals. Away from home he is leashed unless it is a safe area where he has full view of me.

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My I'm training Quinn to get her attention or let her know if we are moving outside or coming in. I haven't had her hearing tested since it seems pretty clearly age related.

 

Any tips on how to get started with this kind of training? I was thinking since Ladybug and Brodie are pretty good pals, she might accept some direction from him.

 

 

Liz

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Any tips on how to get started with this kind of training?

 

So far, it's been pretty informal training. Quinn is 5, helpful by nature and has been picking up and carrying items for me for quite a while now. He knows "get" "go get" "pick up" "bring me" etc. plus names for things, people and other dogs. So I just say "Go get Sassy," and he's learned to go to her, get her attention and then she either follows him or looks to me to see what is going on. This is where talking to your Border Collie pays off. :D They put two and two together. For instance, if I say "pick up that dollar bill," though he doesn't know the words "dollar bill," Quinn looks for what is out of place and figures that is what I want. Usually he is right. Whenever I drop something (pen, remote, keys) he will immediately come and pick it up for me. I also taught me to bring me the phone though I don't ask for that too often since he chomps a bit down a bit too hard.

 

Anyway, when I send Quinn for Sassy, he'll find her to sniff at her, get her attention, possibly even wake her up. He isn't directing her so much as letting her know I want her. He then comes back to me and we wait for her to join us. He's very sweet and gentle with her. I wouldn't send the Lhasa, who though extremely clever, eager to be admired and very attached to Sassy would no doubt would decide to get the old dog's attention by crashing into her like a bowling ball. :rolleyes:

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Thanks for the ideas....I've started "Go get...whatever ..." with Robin but he's more like your Lhasa in nature...all of the finesse of a Sherman Tank. We were playing hide and seek with a ball under a metal water dish the other day. Brodie carefully picked up the lip of the dish, removed it and set it aside to get the bowl. Robin reared up and crashed down on it like a pile driver.

 

There's a strong mutual bond of affection between Brodie and Ladybug...we can work with that.

 

Liz

 

 

So far, it's been pretty informal training. Quinn is 5, helpful by nature and has been picking up and carrying items for me for quite a while now. He knows "get" "go get" "pick up" "bring me" etc. plus names for things, people and other dogs. So I just say "Go get Sassy," and he's learned to go to her, get her attention and then she either follows him or looks to me to see what is going on. This is where talking to your Border Collie pays off. :D They put two and two together. For instance, if I say "pick up that dollar bill," though he doesn't know the words "dollar bill," Quinn looks for what is out of place and figures that is what I want. Usually he is right. Whenever I drop something (pen, remote, keys) he will immediately come and pick it up for me. I also taught me to bring me the phone though I don't ask for that too often since he chomps a bit down a bit too hard.

 

Anyway, when I send Quinn for Sassy, he'll find her to sniff at her, get her attention, possibly even wake her up. He isn't directing her so much as letting her know I want her. He then comes back to me and we wait for her to join us. He's very sweet and gentle with her. I wouldn't send the Lhasa, who though extremely clever, eager to be admired and very attached to Sassy would no doubt would decide to get the old dog's attention by crashing into her like a bowling ball. :rolleyes:

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So far, it's been pretty informal training. Quinn is 5, helpful by nature and has been picking up and carrying items for me for quite a while now. He knows "get" "go get" "pick up" "bring me" etc. plus names for things, people and other dogs. So I just say "Go get Sassy," and he's learned to go to her, get her attention and then she either follows him or looks to me to see what is going on. This is where talking to your Border Collie pays off. :D They put two and two together. For instance, if I say "pick up that dollar bill," though he doesn't know the words "dollar bill," Quinn looks for what is out of place and figures that is what I want. Usually he is right. Whenever I drop something (pen, remote, keys) he will immediately come and pick it up for me. I also taught me to bring me the phone though I don't ask for that too often since he chomps a bit down a bit too hard.

 

Anyway, when I send Quinn for Sassy, he'll find her to sniff at her, get her attention, possibly even wake her up. He isn't directing her so much as letting her know I want her. He then comes back to me and we wait for her to join us. He's very sweet and gentle with her. I wouldn't send the Lhasa, who though extremely clever, eager to be admired and very attached to Sassy would no doubt would decide to get the old dog's attention by crashing into her like a bowling ball. :rolleyes:

 

My mom also has her GSD trained to get the attention of errant dogs. She did it pretty much the same way you did, and Dakota will bring the dog back to the yard gently like Quinn does. Her dog is almost 2.

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In February, I BAER tested him, and both ears showed flatline results (complete and total deafness). He does seem to hear me when I am close to him. It's weird, though--he can be twenty feet away from me and seem to hear me just fine if he's looking at me or knows what I am probably asking him, but if he is not looking at me or has another train of thought in his head, he won't hear me from five feet away

 

That's interesting. Pach (DD's dog) is 13. I've been trying to explain to the family that he really can't hear but there are times that you could swear he heard you.

I think they feel vibrations and know you body language so well that they can be decieving on what they really can hear.

When he was here the LGD kept track of him. I don't think DD lets him off lead anymore as she lives in the city, to much traffice to worry about.

I used a flashlight at night but because we're so rural here I didn't have to worry much during the day. Although my neighbor told me she found him wandering down her drive and no amount of honking got his attention. Good thing she is the only neighbor and she's very dog friendly.

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Usually start seeing signs around at 10.

 

Ben was so good at covering it most of the time, that I considered some of his flank refusals at that age to be selective deafness. That doG I decided to baer test rather than chastise him, because I found out he was down to less than 20% in one ear, about 40% in the other. He got a big hug and we were cutting back on trialing due to life changes anyway...so retirement it was. He's now totally deaf at almost 13 and responds to hand signals. Away from home he is leashed unless it is a safe area where he has full view of me.

 

This sounds like my Tam. He will be 14 in October and for the last year - 1 1/2 yrs., he's been nearly entirely deaf. In his younger days, when he was worked a lot on sheep, he got the reputation of being a hard-headed dog, a label given to him by clinicians, and he indeed was a tough dog for me, still a novice at the time. Since he's been almost entirely deaf for the last couple of years, as an old dog, I did begin to think about whether or not he might have been erroneously labled "hard headed", that maybe in fact, he had some hearing loss. I heard his sire was considered a hard head, which is why I probably never really questioned what I was being told, and later I heard his sire had been deaf as well.

 

Tam now goes out either in the run or out on a long line if I can't keep my eye on him, and I've got a bell to put on his collar.

 

In hindsight, I wish I hadn't taken what others told me as gospel, that I'd have known enough to consider that he might have been deaf even as a younger dog.

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In hindsight, I wish I hadn't taken what others told me as gospel, that I'd have known enough to consider that he might have been deaf even as a younger dog.

I think this mistaking of deafness for hard-headedness might happen more often than we might think.

 

J.

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Hello everyone,

 

Julie wrote:

 

"I think this mistaking of deafness for hard-headedness might happen more often than we might think."

 

I am sure that Julie is correct. I am someone who thought that my six year old sheepdog was simply "blowing me off", when she truly couldn't hear my commands. I still feel guilty for correcting her unfairly due to my error, and I always try to keep that mistake in mind when working my other dogs.

 

Regards,

nancy

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I agree, Julie. One of my great regrets was not recognizing that my Zoe (who passed away a couple weeks ago) was becoming deaf. I thought she was not listening to me. I only realized that she wasn't hearing me one day when I called her and she shot AWAY FROM ME looking for me. The problem was that the hearing loss, at that point, was only in one ear. That explained the intermittent/inconsistent behavior I was seeing. On the day she ran away from me, she heard me in the ear pointed away from me and ran in that direction. I was heartsick seeing her try to find me . . .

 

Sadly, her death was also probably related to her hearing loss. I ran over her on the same day we needed to have a horse put down. I was moving the truck so that the vet could pull in . . . I didn't know that she was out and couldn't see her as I backed (my husband had asked a friend to watch her). She probably didn't hear me backing . . . I feel such guilt about this . . .

 

Kim

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Oh Kim what a sad story, but one that happens more often that we like to think.

Prayers to you and your girl Zoe. Don't blame yourself just fill your heart with good memories.

 

Mick has a different issue. For the longest time I tried to fix his away side. He was always slicing in at 11. One day I figured out he had little site in that eye so when he turned his head to see the sheep it would curve him in. We've worked through it but it'll aways be a bit of an issue cuase I made such a bid deal about it.

 

I think lots of other things and times get blamed on hardheadness in our dogs, but in truth there is usually a much better reason to be found.

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I kicked myself about Zoe because I should have known - she wasn't the type of dog to "blow me off." But, because it wasn't consistent, I didn't recognize it as a physical problem. . .

 

Killing your own dog is a horrible thing - especially since we (my husband and I) knew that this was a risk and were careful. Zoe was was my constant companion for the last 15 years and a great working dog. The only blessing is that I did it and not someone else . . . Thanks for your sympathy and please watch your dog carefully.

 

Kim

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Oh, Kim....how absolutely horrible! I am so sorry for your loss of Zoe, and thank you for the reminder to be always mindful of where our dogs are (especially the ones with hearing loss).

 

Regards,

nancy

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