Deafness, hand signals/clicker type training. Any ideas?
 
 

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Deafness, hand signals/clicker type training. Any ideas?

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    05-19-2012, 02:43 PM
  #1
Yearling
Deafness, hand signals/clicker type training. Any ideas?

I've been debating this issue with myself for a while now. I am going deaf. If I do not have my hearing aides in I am legally classified as deaf. My speech and speech patterns are affected at this point. My volume control is also affected to an extent. Eventually I will be totally deaf, hearing aides or not.

Now taking this into consideration I am wondering if this might be part of the issue with Rascals training. I can't wear my hearing aides while training him. He spooked into me, displaced one, and caused them to feed back. He BLEW sky high. It's dangerous for myself and him, for me to wear them. Not to mention they are EXPENSIVE as hell. I don't want one of them broken or another one lost in a melee with Rascal.

I know the ideal would be desensitize him to the feed back, but they are digital and all adjustments have to be made by my audiologist. I can't run back and forth daily LOL. So that kind of makes it impractical.

I hope to keep Rascal till one or the other of us dies of old age. So this is an issue now, and will be even more so in the future. I am already wondering if the inconsistency of the tone of my voice, and the volume, may be part of what is making him difficult. He is super calm when being groomed, led, etc. It is only when we start a verbally dominated activity that I start to have problems with him.

There aren't major issues, but it's almost as though he doesn't get what I am saying sometimes. Does that make sense? I know from watching him react with DH and DS it's not an issue with them. Even DH has suggested part of the problem might be not so much inconsistent training, but inconsistent communication of what I want from him (ie. My tone and what reaction I expect are different).
The issues, direction change, speed, halt (whoa), half halt, etc. have gotten worse in direct relation to my hearing according to DH. I am stepping up body communication and non verbal signals to see if this resolves some of the issues. So far, I am sad to say, it has.

I guess what I am after is any ideas that might help train him from a totally deaf/mute perspective. Clucking is no problem, reprimanding verbally is no problem (LOL) but I want to be able to communicate clearly, and effectively what I expect.

DH advised me to think about posting this and the implications of it. He asked me to consider if I am open to the criticism that could be forthcoming since my hearing is an issue. I don't care . I have come to terms with my hearing loss and eventual deafness long ago.

If it is a training issue alone, then so be it. I'll reevaluate what I am doing and how.(I'm doing that along the way anyhow) But indications are good that it isn't that simple. So yeah, I need advise and I can take it if anyone feels it is "just a training method issue." I won't be butt hurt (DS terminology ) if anyone feels it is a me issue and not a communication issue. Feed back and outside ideas are a good thing whether negative or positive.

Thanks for reading.
     
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    05-19-2012, 03:03 PM
  #2
Foal
I have a moderate-to-severe (never did pay attention to what that means) hearing loss as well - was born with it, and it is hereditary in my family. Both of my parents are completely deaf and family uses sign language.

I can relate to your story - I'm now teaching dog training classes, and in one room, I am really having problems. The echo in the room makes my voice sound really strange and I become really self conscious about it, so I speak quieter to make myself sound better in my head. I can hear the deafness in my voice and it bothers me because I don't really hear it otherwise. Kinda like recording your voice and playing it back, then thinking "wow, do I really sound like that?!"

So long story short, I think it has less to do with how you speak, and more to do with your confidence. You are really self conscious right now, and feeling vulnerable. This is a totally new way of experiencing the world that you have to adjust to, and you'll have to figure out how to overcome the communication barriers. It will take time. But I don't see why you should have to stop using your voice when working with your horse. I think you just have to own it and find your sweet spot. Hand signals are a great thing and I would work on those, but I don't think it has to be one or the other for you. I know a lot of deafened adults who are upset with the change in their speech, but it is what it is. Once they get over that, they find communication on the whole to be much easier. People and horses are responding to YOU, not just your voice.
Rascaholic and Foxhunter like this.
     
    05-19-2012, 04:51 PM
  #3
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meatos    
I have a moderate-to-severe (never did pay attention to what that means LOL I think it means deafer than some, not as deaf as others) hearing loss as well - was born with it, and it is hereditary in my family. Both of my parents are completely deaf and family uses sign language. Althought mine is also heriditary, it happened later in life. My nerves are dying off. It isn't a new situation. This has been ongoing for almost 8 years since the first diagnosis. Although the rate of loss has picked up the pace in the last year.

I can relate to your story - I'm now teaching dog training classes, and in one room, I am really having problems. The echo in the room makes my voice sound really strange and I become really self conscious about it, I'm not self conscious about my hearing loss. Family and friends understand and deal with it. Even the dogs have no problem with it. They are much more protective now, especially in the last 18 months or so. But as far as training and obedience, they are responding more to hand signals than anything at this point anyways. I do use a whistle on occasion with the younger ones. so I speak quieter to make myself sound better in my head. I can hear the deafness in my voice and it bothers me because I don't really hear it otherwise. Kinda like recording your voice and playing it back, then thinking "wow, do I really sound like that?!" It isn't about the sound, so much as losing the ability to modulate tone and volume. Rascal is very sensitive to tone. Dropping a couple octaves on the whoa command can mean the difference in a 2 stride stop, or a stiff legged immediate sliding stop.

So long story short, I think it has less to do with how you speak, and more to do with your confidence. I really don't think so, but I will take it into consideration. DH is the one who brought to my attention that Rascal responds better some days than others, and it seems to be directly related to tone, volume, and voice modulation. He has eagle ears LOL. You are really self conscious right now, and feeling vulnerable. This is a totally new way of experiencing the world that you have to adjust to, and you'll have to figure out how to overcome the communication barriers. It will take time.Even though we have been through this stage and dealing with all the emotional ups and downs, you may have a point. I do in home care and have been planning a career change because of safety concerns of some client families. So, while unlikely, it is possible that self confidence may be playing a part in the issues. But I don't see why you should have to stop using your voice when working with your horse. When my hearing is totally gone, and it's coming faster than we expected, then my ability to regulate/control will also suffer. It is already. The nerves can't sense the stress of my vocal chords through my ears anywhere near as well. If that makes sense. I think you just have to own it and find your sweet spot. Hand signals are a great thing and I would work on those, but I don't think it has to be one or the other for you. I hope it doesn't come to one or the other. That is part of what the post was about though. Alternatives and a secondary communication option, for the just in case. I try to plan ahead, it makes my life easier. I know a lot of deafened adults who are upset with the change in their speech, but it is what it is. Yes it is . So we deal as best we can. I've reconciled to the idea of being deaf, yes on occasion it still hurts, mainly when I know that someday my son's voice will be silent to me, but I have so much else in my life that I am appreciative of, hearing is just one aspect of it all. Once they get over that, they find communication on the whole to be much easier. People and horses are responding to YOU, not just your voice. True, and that is the crux of the post better non-verbal communication with Rascal.
You brought a smile to my face btw. I do appreciate the concern and the pep talk. It shows a very caring attitude. You'll do well with training the mooches. They know.

I still want to hear any ideas about non verbal training. I know Rascal can adapt to my voice, but I need consistency now. That is why I was asking for ideas on teaching him to respond to hand signals. I know it's possible. Look at how they interact in a herd. The lead will use body language 80% of the time to communicate. The if it is ignored, they resort to force/pressure. I just need more ideas on how to make that a reality with 2 legs and body, versus 4 legs, ears, tail, feet, etc.
     

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