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  • Behavior Differences in Deaf and/or Visually Impaired Dogs. Presented by Dr. Morag Heirs

Behavior Differences in Deaf and/or Visually Impaired Dogs. Presented by Dr. Morag Heirs

  • 12 Jul 2021
  • 11:00 AM
  • 12 Jul 2024
  • 12:00 PM
  • Recorded Webinar




“Deaf dog learns sign language while waiting for an extra special home” and similar headlines are seen more often on social media sites for canine rescue organizations.

There are specialist deaf and blind dog rescue groups in both the U.K. and U.S., and we can see breeders carefully placing their deaf or visually impaired pups in homes rather than hiding them away.

Whether blind or deaf from birth, due to an accident or old age, trainers and behavior consultants are increasingly likely to be working with these dogs and helping them to enjoy a better quality of life.

Can deaf dogs play like hearing dogs? What kind of toys work best for blind dogs? How can we help deaf and/or blind dogs play more safely with other dogs?

All these questions and more will be discussed as we explore the world of play and social interactions for dogs with hearing and/or visual impairments.

Drawing on the available research, plus personal experience of living with deaf, and deaf-blind dogs, and knowledge collected while supporting the Deaf Dog Network (U.K.), the presenter will help you see the world from a different perspective.

Learning Objectives:

  • Appreciate the key similarities and differences in behavior between dogs with visual or auditory impairments, and those without.
  • Explore the distinctive social interaction styles of deaf and/or blind dogs.
  • Understand how to train three key skills with deaf and/or blind dogs to enhance their quality of life.

About Your Presenter    

Dr. Morag K. Heirs PhD MSc MA(Hons)(SocSci) PGCAP CAB

Dr. Morag K. Heirs PhD MSc MA(Hons)(SocSci) PGCAP CAB is a practicing clinical animal behaviorist and an enthusiastic academic with particular interests in research, evidence-based practice, scent work and deaf/blind dogs. She divides her time between academic study and clinical practice.

She is currently a visiting lecturer for the University of Edinburgh (MSc in clinical animal behavior) and supervises MSc research students there. She is also course director for three entirely online MSc programs for practitioners of nutrition science, oriental medicine and complementary medicine, and teaches research skills for practitioners.

She is a director of Well Connected Canine Ltd, based in York, U.K., and manages a small team who provide canine behavior services to private clients, local government organizations, and national animal rescue organizations. She specializes in risk assessment, treating phobias and working with deaf and/or blind dogs. She also includes skills from her previous career as a myofascial release and remedial massage therapist in many consultations.

She also enjoys canicross ultra running with her two collies and a large German wire haired pointer.

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