Deaf Sheepdog Returns to Herding Her Flock After Learning ‘Sign Language’
Whoever said, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” has obviously never met a 10-year-old Norfolk collie named Peggy.
Peggy, a working dog, was unable to continue the job she excelled at, herding sheep, when at age 8 she lost her hearing.
Unable to contact her, Peggy’s owner subsequently left her in the care of a local RSPCA animal shelter.
But since it was close to Christmas, the shelter was packed. That’s when Animal Welfare Manager Chloe Shorten stepped in. Shorten and her husband, Jason, who had two other working sheepdogs, decided to take Peggy home.
Although Peggy had lost her hearing, it was obvious that her enthusiasm for herding had not diminished.
The Shortens could see that Peggy was not happy with the wool collection, so they came up with another solution for her.
“We knew Peggy wanted to work, so we started the long process of teaching her how to shepherd and work with a pastor without relying on voice commands,” said Chloe Shorten. the BBC. “We started by teaching him to look at each other for hand signals.”
Using repetition and “positive reinforcement,” with the help of a sheepdog trainer, Peggy eventually learned to respond to hand signals and body language instead of traditional verbal commands.
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But Chloe says that the most important lesson Peggy learned had nothing to do with the sheep. It had to do with trust: “[It took time to] learn that we love her and understand our praise. “
These days, while Peggy is semi-retired, with her GPS tracker in place, she still hangs out with the flock from time to time, happy to learn that a “thumbs up” means she’s a good girl.
Suffice to say, the Shortens couldn’t be more pleased with Peggy’s new strap … uh, bringing them to life.
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We think it is quite “pawsome”.
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North Carolina-based writer Judy Cole has a new rom-com murder mystery debuting on Amazon: And Jilly came rolling after (from Red Sky Presents).