Welcome! I’m Ralphie… just plain Ralphie. I was responsibly bred but due to the happenstance of genetics, I was also born deaf. Once my ears opened up, when puppies typically begin to hear the world around them, my breeder realized something was different. I continued to sleep soundly while other puppies awoke to eagerly greet people when they approached. My potential was recognized. I was gifted with early conditioning and handling like other puppies and given the opportunity to prove myself.
I’ve been painting since I was a pup. When I was first learning how to paint, it was a trick that required me to pick up a paint loaded brush, put the paint on paper, then put the brush back in the pot. I admit, there were times I painted mom and my little sister and that I’d rather just drop my brush on the floor sometimes.
One day, as mom walked by a painting that was drying on the wall, something caught her eye. I had painted a star. Can you find the star in the painting below? She looked through my other paintings and spotted more curious things… runners, a cat, a dancer, a flamingo, a lighthouse, a tulip… all hidden in the larger paintings. The tulip below was actually painted on the wall, I had missed the paper entirely!
Below are some of the things I’ve painted, small pieces of larger paintings. They are what is called “interpretive art” because some people just see a mess of colors while others see curious things. It’s that thing about art being in the eye of the beholder!
Give it a try…
The first painting is a combination of two. Look for the blue guy with the big floppy shoes in the top painting. Is there also a lacrosse player? Find a short video clip of me painting with mom as I’m painting the orange man running.
*The other paintings have their titles hidden so you use your own imagination.
Trick and Obedience Training
"How much of a dog's abilities is based only on what the human believes is possible?" Just Plain Ralphie
People can communicate with me using visual cues. Some of these cues are American Sign Language and others are made up signs that I understand. Any sign can be used as long as it’s clear, concise and consistently used.
It all starts with a look, freely offered watchfulness. With each look, we are rewarded with a happy face, a thumbs-up and a tiny treat so it will happen more often. Timing is important because this is what helps to communicate to deaf dogs exactly when we’ve done it right. But if timing is off, we won’t understand what’s being asked of us. Repeating it helps to confirm we have gotten it right. You can capture behaviors as they naturally occur or you can lure us using a super good treat at our nose. Brief training sessions incorporated into everyday life can really add up to better understanding and retention.
It’s a beautiful thing when communication has been established because learning and understanding can begin. Focus should be on our available senses rather than the sense or senses that are missing. One less sense is also one less distraction.
Deaf dogs can be enabled through love, conditioning/handling and training so they can better reach their own individual potential.
Some requests I understand…
- Look at me
- Sit up
- Head down
- Back up
- Elephant trick
- Drop down
- Heel, beside me
- Right Turn
- Left Turn
- Hold, Carry, Drop It.
- Cross your paws
- Roll over to side and roll over
- Ring a bell
- Paint with a brush
- Mimic behaviors- spin, lift feet.
- Directions by pointing
- Signaling to go around, head down or to bop an object.
- Stay, wait
- Open a cooler and bring me drink.
- Sniff floor
- Go to the door
- Orbit (backwards around me)
- Put paw on object
- Play the triangle
- Put letter in open slot
- Shake hands
- Away, go to mark
- Skateboard, 3 on the board, pushing with the 4th.
- Put my toys away.
- Go away, pick up objects, bring them back and drop them in a container.
- Take an object, go away, drop it in a container, return.
- Do your business (aka potty).
- Let’s put your topknot up.
- Let’s wash your mucky face.
- Touch with Nose