Breaking News
More () »

Training Pixie: the challenges of communicating with a deaf dog

Rochelle Scudder volunteers at the Lycoming County SPCA and is currently training a dog that cannot hear.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Training a dog is never an easy task. But imagine trying to train a dog that can't even hear you. That is the task Rochelle Scudder and 2-year-old Pixie have been working on.

"Her, for lack of a better word, disability is not a disability. It does not hinder her one bit. It is a hindrance to us if we don't know how to communicate with her," said Pixie's trainer Rochelle Scudder.

Pixie is a Catahoula leopard dog and is completely deaf. Scudder volunteers at the Lycoming County SPCA and has a background of training animals in theatrical or television settings.

"My best teachers are always dogs, and she has not only taught me a new kind of breed that I'm not used to working with, but she taught me to be a little more creative in my methods because she can't hear," said Scudder.

"It has been a marvelous opportunity for us to have her work with this dog who has some challenges because she can't hear, and help her find a new home," said Victoria Stryker of the Lycoming County SPCA.

Scudder uses basic hand gestures and some sign language to communicate with Pixie.

"Until recently, I didn't really know anything about ASL, but I knew of a trainer who became famous off her success of training deaf dogs with ASL, and I attempted to do the same. I Googled signs," said Scudder.

Not only is Scudder having to train Pixie, but she is also teaching her signs and commands to any potential adopters.

"Her perspective adopters have been coming in and spending hours with both of us for the last several weeks to learn her language," said Scudder.

And Scudder tells Newswatch 16 that Pixie will communicate with anyone as long as they get the hand signals right.

Before You Leave, Check This Out