Seven, a dog who was given up by her owners because she was deaf and therefore deemed “untrainable,” has won the title of Agility Trial Champion of Canada thanks to the training and dedication from the woman who rescued her.
“It was a huge sense of relief because we’d been trying so hard for so long… I felt the window was closing,” Seven’s trainer and agility coach, Adina MacRae, told The Star.com. “We needed to prove that deaf dogs can do it, because that’s why she was surrendered — she was ‘too deaf to train.’”
MacRae told The Star that she adopted Seven (who is now 9 years old) from the Nova Scotia SPCA with the intention of showing the world that deaf dogs are just as capable as hearing dogs. Their efforts have paid off as MacRae believes Seven is the first deaf dog from Nova Scotia to win the title.
Earning the Agility Trial Champion title requires serious work on behalf of both trainer and dog. Agility is a dog sport in which dogs race through an obstacle course. To even be considered, all titles at the starter, advanced and masters levels of competitive agility must be won first, according to The Star. It took Seven seven years to make it to the top.
MacRae said she relies solely on hand gestures when communicating with Seven, and when she figured out what motivated the rescue dog — food — the training became easier.
One interesting note at Seven’s competitions is the fact that when Seven competes, crowds get quiet, even though she can’t hear a thing.
“For some reason everyone goes quiet when they’re watching her compete,” MacRae told The Star. “We can’t figure out why that is, because she’s going to be the least distracted dog on the course when it comes to noises.”
MacRae told The Star that people shouldn’t be skeptical about deaf rescue dogs. They can be great companions and sports performance dogs, she said. They just need the chance.
“If the opportunity comes along, give a deaf dog a chance. They have great personalities and they can be trained just as easily, if not more easily, than the hearing dogs because there’s fewer distractions for them,” MacRae told The Star. “They can be great family pets.”