Samantha was thrilled to know that she could help out her favorite Animal Rescue Group raise some cash when she heard about my August Special, “Cold Hard Cash for the Dog Days of Summer”. She wanted to book a photo session with her boyfriend and their puppy-dog, Ali. Samantha wanted to help out the rescue group where she adopted Ali. “He is such a sweetie pie,” she said, “he is a white American Bulldog, with a lot of energy. He is our baby!” I responded that my sister owned that breed and he was such an affectionate companion. She wanted to know if I could get a few photos of him by himself at the park and they would love to get a family portrait as well. Terrific! I always ask the parents if they want a family portrait during the photo session. We just needed to book the time and day when she said, “Oh, one thing you might need to know about Ali. He is deaf. Will that be a problem?”
This was going to be a new experience for me. I knew I had to rely on the use of visual cues in place of oratory ones. My typical approach to a pet session consists of rolling around on the ground while squeaking, meowing, clicking and rolling my “R”s like Chewbacca. Samantha told me that Ali responds to sign commands. That is great! Sometimes my mastiff responds to sign commands for sit and stay a lot better than verbal commands. Some people drop off a hearing impaired dog at the pound because they don’t have the time to train them. All dogs love to please their owners. In addition to snuggling and protecting, the best way for a dog to prove their loyalty is by following your commands. Dog Obedience 101 teaches that if you by put a treat in your hand and raise it above their head, the dog will respond by sitting. Rewarding and praising every time results in classical conditioning… thank you Ivan Pavlov! Training a deaf dog may need more patience on behalf of the owner, but the reward is the same: a loyal companion that takes pride in pleasing their owner.
We had an awesome morning at South Park. Samantha, Mike and Ali choreographed a beautiful dance together. You could see the happiness in Ali’s eyes. It was evident that he loved to please his people. After he obeyed one command, he was eager to perform the next. This symbiotic relationship between dog and owner is the epitome of true love! In addition to receiving an original work of art, Samantha helped out Biggies Bullies with a monetary donation. It is awesome to know that there are still people like Samantha and Mike in this world that are willing to train such a unique companion and donate to an great cause. http://www.amcgregorphotography.com