When Jo Le Page from Guernsey learnt her seven-month-old Spanish Water dog, Rafa, was deaf, the owner sought to teach the pup without her words..
So far, the canine has learnt nine different signs, including sit, stand, watch me, spin, give paw, lie down, come, stay and safe - where he walks toward Jo, turns around and stays there.
He can also pick a toy from his owner’s hand, using Jo’s signal as a prompt.
However, training hasn’t concluded yet, as Jo wants to continuing teaching Rafa more signs.
Whenever the pup succeeds at reading Jo’s signs, she gives him a thumbs up for encouragement.
But, according to the preschool teacher, there is no hand sign for when Rafa doesn’t correctly carry out a task.
When Jo first acquired the pooch back in June of this year, she had no idea Rafa was deaf.
However, she soon noticed that Rafa was seemingly unbothered by loud noises.
Jo told the outlet that when he wasn’t affected by loud drills or the smoke alarm going off, she knew something was up.
But upon discovering his disability, Jo and her family still decided to care for Rafa.
She said the experience ‘opened up a whole new world'. Jo added that she would like to see the doggo become a therapy dog.
Currently, he is training to see if he can remain calm around things like wheelchairs and walking sticks while navigating foreign environments.
“He could potentially become one of the first deaf therapy dogs,” she said.
She added: “This is only the beginning of his journey and we just take it a day at a time.
“Most people wouldn't have bothered. Our initial thoughts were that it would be hard or impossible to train a dog who can't hear."
She hopes Rafa’s story will inspire other owners not to surrender their dogs once they learn of a handicap.
Jo continued: “We thought it would definitely be impossible to drop his lead on a walk. Education and training has proved that all of our fears were false.”
I'm not crying; you are!!
Featured Image Credit: Jo Le Page/SWNS