Well; whistle is what I'm going to be doing for the next while. I went out to Sports Authority this evening and purchased two new whistles. When we first got to the store we asked one of the sales guys if and where they had whistles. He looked in one isle and declared that they were all gone. Deflated we had a look around at a few things and were about to leave. My husband asked one of the guys up front if they had any whistles; yes. He said he knew for sure that they had some and took us right there. I was so excited, two shiny new whistles.
So what am I going to do with these whistles you are asking, right? I'm going to try to train Jessie to them, that is if she can hear them. These are genuine coach and referee whistles so they are really loud; so loud that it hurt my ears when I blew them as loud as I could. I have no idea if Jessie will be able to hear these; I'm not sure if she has any hearing left at all. I know that if I yell really loud she seems to hear but is she hearing or feeling? She seems to hear when the other dogs bark; again is she feeling or hearing?
I took a whistle out and blew it slightly; Luke came running right away with his heading turning madly. Tilley followed shortly after wondering what the noise was. No Jessie; I went down stairs where she was and blew and blew and blew, nothing. Now, this could mean two things: 1. She is not hearing the whistle at all and; 2. The whistle has no associated meaning to her so even though she heard it, it meant nothing to her.
My plan is to associate the whistle to food; this way it will be easier for me to see if she is indeed hearing it. This means that when it is meal time I will blow the whistle. I will have many sessions during the day just like clicker association but with the whistle. Will it work? I'm not sure; that will on depend on if she can indeed hear the whistle. One thing I do know is that my other two will learn the association between whistle and meal time. So instead of a dinner bell they will have a meal whistle, not a bad fall out behavior.
This may take a while but I will keep you posted to my progress or lack there of. It would be very nice to just have to whistle instead of bellow like I've been doing for about a year now. So we'll see; here's hoping.