If you thought sign language is only for deaf people, think again. Here is a puppy who is stone deaf and seems to have mastered the sign language! His name is Ivor and he is a Terrier.
Now, who would want to own a dog, who is supposed to guard the home by picking up suspicious noises in the dead of night that is stone deaf? Not many. This is what this Staffordshire puppy-faced when he was given away by five previous owners, because of the hearing problem that prevented him from following instructions.
Deaf dogs frequently bark and since their bark has no volume control, they don’t know how loud they are sounding. Of course, there is no way they can hear the commands of their owners. This is the reason why Ivor’s previous owners handed him over to the RSPCA. And rightly so, because it is difficult to handle a dog with a hearing problem.
However, it was his sixth owner, Ellie Bromilow from Colne in Lancashire, who understood the plight of this 10-month-old puppy. She took it upon herself to teach Ivor sign language and he was all too eager to ‘lap’ it all up. Ellie succeeded in teaching Ivor easily, because the staff at Halifax, Huddersfield and Bromsgrove branches of RSPCA had already taught some basic hand signals, such as ‘sit’ and ‘come’.
Ellie further helped Ivor in mastering other sign language commands, such as ‘lie down’, ‘stay’, ‘all gone’ and ‘roll over’. He is in the process of learning the latter. Not only this, he also understands the gesture of ‘somebody’s at the door’.
Of all the hand signals, Ivor’s favourite remains ‘walkies’ that makes him go crazy, running around in circles! According to Ellie, once outside, he is left on a long lead and, if he is looking, he will come to you the moment you raise one hand in the air.
Ellie makes no difference between a deaf and a hearing dog. For her, Ivor is like a hearing dog and she chats with him a lot, knowing fully well that he is not registering anything. Not only this, Ellie has developed his sense of smell and plays games by hiding all kinds of treats around the house.
It is not surprising that Ivor has found a true home, as he is able to understand Ellie’s hand-gesturing guidance. It is certainly to her credit that she has made this deaf puppy her prized possession.