Nebraska animal shelter using sign language to train deaf dogs

By Morgan Cox,

The Central Nebraska Human Society is using sign language to train one of the dogs that is at the shelter. The shelter, in Grand Island, is home to Rosie, a 4-year-old deaf pit bull mix.

According to Yahoo! News, training the deaf dog in this way not only helps the bond between Rosie and the trainer, but it also gives the dog a better chance of a happier life.

"It's the only way to communicate with her," said Tracie Pfeifle, who signs with Rosie.

Pfeifle has already taught Rosie how to sit and is now working on teaching her the sign for "outside."

“Rosie being able to understand, 'oh this is what you want,' and being able to do it is exciting," said Laurie Dethloff, CNHS Executive Director.

NY Daily News notes that hearing impaired animals are typically targets of abuse since it's more difficult to figure what they want. The CNHS hopes to find families who will lovingly accept these impaired animals.

The shelter volunteer, Pfeifle, discovered that training Rosie is not all that different from training other animals who can hear. The only difference is that hearing impaired animals take more repetition and reinforcement when teaching them something new.

"It's amazing to watch her come into her own person," the volunteer said. "She reacts well with others now where before she was reserved."

Rosie can now connect with humans and is able to follow commands. The shelter volunteer already knows the next animal she will be training, a deaf 9-month-old pit bull named Noah.

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