helping blind animal interact with environment

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Sparticle, May 6, 2005.

  1. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a blind/deaf pig and I'd love to come up with some ways to help her interact with something.

    I have fenced off pen area and I thought about putting some big balls in there and sprinkling food on the ground. Once when it was flooded she was up to her chest in water and came across a ball. She was also standing next to a vehicle. She accidently bumped the ball and it bounced off the bronco and came back to her and tapped her in the face. She jerked her face back quickly and stood there for a long time (like what just happened here?). The she hit the ball again with her nose and it came back to her. She started bobbing her head up and down, back and forth and it was the cutest thing. I think that's the first time she's ever played.

    Any other ideas?
     
  2. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    My pig has very poor vision. Her eyes are tiny and her ears are huge. She barely sees. As long as we don't change things around on her she does well. If we move her food dish for whatever reason we ahe to stand at the dish and talk to her so that she can follow our voices.

    How about a tether ball? It would keep the ball in the same place which would make it easy for her to find it. If the rope is long enough to let her reach the ball but short enough to not get tangled in she should be safe.

    Do you have another pig she can follow to food and water?
     

  3. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What a great idea! Thanks. Yes I have another pig and she does sometimes follow him around. Sometimes she'll follow me around when I'm in the yard if I walk very slowly and she doesn't loose the scent trail. She has the yard memorized for the most part and I don't change things around. She doesn't run into trees but she has occasionally run into the door jam of her house. I suspect she can smell the trees. She has a great sense of smell and when I walk by with her food it doesn't take long for her to change direction and follow the smell. There is a baby swimming pool next to their house in the shade and 2 big water bowls at the well and after I showed her where it was, she never has had a problem finding it again.

    I'm in the process of building a walkway through the yard and she came across it the other day. She just stood there on it for the longest time and smelled it and licked it. She sure does adapt well.

    I tried again to clear her eyes today and she gets really ugly. I guess I'm going to have to take her to the vet and have her knocked out to do it
    :waa:
     
  4. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    quick update. I blew up 5 beach balls and sprinkled food on the ground in the holding pen. I put her in there. She nudged the balls around to get the food. Then after she ate all the food, she kept pushing the balls around. I opened the pen gate after a while and she didn't come out. Then she laid down next to the balls and took a nap. Awwwww how cute!
     
  5. blufford

    blufford Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If I blew up 5 beachballs, I'd be taking a nap with the pig!
     
  6. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    Keep in mind, that pigs don't use vision much- scent is their primary sense, from what I understand. The deafness is probably a MUCH bigger problem for her than lack of sight. (This has been my experience working with blind/deaf dogs)- if you can put a collar on her and really WANT to spend time training her and 'enriching her life' (Which seems sort of pointless if she's soon to be bacon), I'd grab yourself a cheap pager with a vibrate mode and strap it to a collar of some sort so you can use it to signal her.

    Deafdogs.org has some good links and resources about working with deaf animals; I think they have links to some sites about workign with blind animals too.
     
  7. MaineFarmMom

    MaineFarmMom Columnist, Feature Writer

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    The only hard part about working with our deaf border collie is getting his attention when we're outside and he's watching poultry. He's so intense he doesn't look at me often like he does any other time. Having to go to him when I need him instead of being able to yell to him is sometimes inconvenient. I'm always greatful when I'm jumping up and down and waving my arms that we don't have neighbors in sight. He ruined his collar swimming in the pond and laying in puddles. He loves water more than any other dog I've owned.

    I wouldn't have thought of a collar rigged for a pig. That's a great idea.
     
  8. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :)This site may be of help to you:

    http://www.ukwebpages.co.uk/deafdogs/links.htm

    ..and I would also hop over to Google and do a search for this topic, and focus on deaf and blind dogs.

    Myself, I'd have porkchops but that's another topic.

    Good luck and hope you find lot's of neat stuff.

    LQ
     
  9. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I forgot to mention that she's a pet potbellied pig - no different to me than a dog. She'll be with me till she dies so she's not going to be bacon anytime soon.

    I hadn't thought about a pager, what a unique idea! Although she get startled so easily, wonder if it would freak her out too much.
     
  10. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    You didn't mention she's a potbelly- and I'm not against the idea of pigs as pets at all, simply don't think it's nice to make a critter into a pet just to turn around and eat it, you know? :D (Plus, if you were planning to eat it in 3 months, I was just gonna post a general post and not go link hunting)

    Suzanne Clothier has a section about how she trained her pig Conor to walk nicely on a leash and come when called in "Bones would Rain From The Sky" and some of hte basic clicker manuals adapted to a deaf animal might do well for you- I know Bob Bailey (OC Pioneer) worked with pigs among other animals.

    Check the Clickersolutions.com archives.
     
  11. Sparticle

    Sparticle Well-Known Member Supporter

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    thanks for the info. I don't have any meat animals, just all pets. Not against having animals as meat animals, I just don't have any need for it. I mostly eat veggies because I like it better and plus i really don't know what all is involved in meat processing anyway. I might have a goat one day for milk though i hope.