Chapter Eight “Living with a Deaf Dog ...”
pages 117-124: A scientist-professor who benefited deaf dogs by his medical research was apparently misled into displaying limited knowledge of and “hands-on” experience with most modern domestic deaf dogs living daily with ordinary humans. As in previous chapters, unsupported generalizations about behavior of “ALL” deaf dogs suggested harsh emotional dislike for deaf dogs and many of their owners. An academic indicator of his limited qualifications regarding dog behavior was that his list of references omitted mention of foundational reports or books by among others: Konrad Lorenz, Nobel Prize winner ‘father of ethology’; A. Miklosi, 2007; S. Coren, 2004; Marc Beckoff, 2007; Coppingers, 2001; J. Scott and J. Fuller, 1965 and Dr. J.A. Serpell.
The extensive similarity of very negative text about deaf dogs in Chapter eight and very negative text of a primary fiancial source for the LSU research, the Dalmatian Club of Amercia (DCA) Board of Directors' Red Book, 1994 and DCA Deaf-dogs hostile policies page, made a startling contrast to the book's alleged dislike of other people being "secretive." Surprisingly in view of the authors apparent reliance on theDCA research Sponsor's Red Book for his information about behavior of deaf abused untrained unsocialized Dalmatian dogs, he apparently was unaware of or chose to neglect their description of the sources of the initial BAER tested Dalmatians, as described on pages 366-367 in "The Official Book of the Dalmatian", by the DCA, (undated publication but about 1996.); readily available on Amazon.com.
Organizational “marketing” Secrecy about dog deafness was condemned in the book on page 124, last sentence of next to last paragraph of the book’s text. A reviewer speculated that the quest for honesty about dog deafness among researchers, universities, breed clubs and the AKC as well as the US Federal government’s National Institute of Health (NIH) might be helped by letters, messages from US people and organizations. Maybe lawyers could use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) inquiries for information resulting from government funding (according to the LSU web site in 2011 referring to research by Dr Strain.)
New owners of deaf dogs, whether puppies or rescues or shelter dogs would do better to consult Internet sites that specialize in information for the owners of deaf, blind and blind-deaf dogs, as Dr Strain urged on page 124 in the last text sentence of the book. Google can provide Internet names such as those of the Yahoo deaf, blind, blind-deaf lists and deafdogs.org.
page vii;Charmingly although perhaps wistfully written; the first sentence like some of the deaf dog behavior information was susceptible to being misunderstood: “This book would not have come about without the efforts of the countless dog and cat owners and breeders who time and again encouraged me to return to the research laboratory ....” On page viii, line 8, he offered guesses of the likely number of deaf Dalmatian puppies born in the year 2000, which at the rate of one pound per puppy could have been about one (1) ton of Dalmatian puppies euthanized (killed) and cremated or disposed of by other means, if the policies of the Dalmatian Club of America (DCA) Board were obeyed per: downloaded 18 Jan 2012, < thedca.org/deaf1.html (dated 1994) and www.thedca.org/redbook.html>
The DCA Redbook, dated 1994 and still official, plus Dr Strain’s Preface provided the data used to compute the Table P-1. Notably, the Redbook gave the total deafness (bi plus uni-ear) as 50 percent for 1992-1993. In contrast, Dr Strain provided the figure of 30 percent for the year 2000 and later. Number of pups were estimated per Dr Strain’s example as eight (8) per litter. In the table, the Registered Dalmatians each year were shown as “Registered Show” Dalmatians in accordance with the official Redbook demand that no “pet quality” Dalmatians be birthed in any given year. For a simplified estimate of the “bi-ear hearing pets” sold or given away each year we assumed that all deafies were killed promptly, and the excess were “pets” - above the remainder shown as the next year’s Registered Show Dalmatians.
Table P-1 DCA-AKC and Dr Strain's Data (computed 2012)
year - annual 1992 1993 2000 2001 2009
dead deaf pups 40,000 46,000 3,000 1,800 1,400
Pup-pets-hearing 40,000 46,000 7,100 4,300 3,300
Registered Dals 39,000 43,000 3,100 2,100 2,400
Total Deaf Dals 59,000 58,500 4,600 2,900 2,600
Observation: the decrease by 90 percent of the DCA-AKC registered Dalmatians during years 1993 to 2000 was previously unknown to us, and seemed astonishing that the reduction took place during the DCA Board’s BAER testing draconian “kill the deaf puppies and deaf adult Dalmatians” program. During that time span the prevalence of totally deaf Dalmatians decreased from 12 percent to 8 percent, the combined uni+bi-ear deaf decreased from 50 percent (Redbook, 1994) to 30 percent (Strain, 2011) while to annual numbers of US registered Dalmatians decreased by 90 percent. An interesting note learned from the DCA RED BOOK was that in 1992-1993 about 20 tons each year of Dalmatian deaf puppies were killed. BAER testing seemingly reduced that to perhaps one and half tons of dead puppies after the year 2000.
NOTES: Fundamental deficiencies (not ranked) of the book:
I. Mistaking Correlation for Cause and Effect: Comparable to assuming that the crowing of a rooster causes the sun to come up each morning, the author blamed dangerous behavior of dogs in most instances on deafness of the dog, regardless of any actual cause and effect relationship of the behavior. A deliberate withholding of training and socialization from the deaf Dalmatian puppies, while providing training and socialization to hearing Dalmatian puppies, as described by the 1994 Dalmatian Red Book, approved by the DCA Board, undisclosed by Dr Strain in public reports and the book approached profoundly unethical scientific bias if Federally or privately funded research.
Attributing by LSU/Dr Strain of differences of dangerous dog behavior exclusively to deafness biological differences when there were publicly announced by the DCA Board radical differences in the training and socialization of the respective sample groups in our opinion certainly violated the DCA Ethics Guidelines and could for many owners of deaf dogs have the appearance of fraud. Failure or inability to distinguish correlations from “cause and effect” risked the appearance of incompetence or dishonesty.
II. Mono-dog fallacy: Together with assuming all dogs were homogenous averages of all the breeds, the researcher in reporting apparently assumed that all dogs were Dalmatians – i.e. “meat-robots” a la Konrad Lorenz’s analogies; for the rebuttal to that, see ref A. Miklosi, 2007! ... “There is probably no such thing as THE dog ...”
III. Anthropomorphic assumption used improperly: The book without declaring the assumption basically assumed that domestic dog hearing was acoustic-air carried at frequencies only in the range hearable by ordinary humans. Dr Strain’s book thus assumed that ALL dogs rely exclusively on their ears and the related nerve systems in the same way as typical of adult humans. In contrast, see S Coren, 2004, et al.
IV. Physics of sound for the 2011 book was unwisely defined in a form that excluded variations of media velocity and densities induced by the propagation of mechanical vibrations (sound) that can be used by various kinds of biological mechanisms to serve to convert ambient vibrations (sound) to nerve impulses for hearing. See for example the Physics definition of sound from Wiki as in deafdogsforever.weebly.com.
V. Does a signal at the brain stem prove hearing existed in the brain? Excepting for cats the author seemed to assume that detection of electrical signals from the region of an inner ear to sites near the animal’s brain stem was sufficient proof that the specific animal heard, analyzed, and made decisions with the signals observed electrically by BAER tests. The portion of “hearing” that consists of analysis, decision making and memory might only slightly reside in the nervous system prior to the brain stem. Thus detecting signals at the brain stem was only an indication that the portion of the animal’s hearing biology system “prior” to the brain was connected (and does not prove that useful data were transmitted, received in the brain and processed as “hearing.” MRI was reportedly preferred by other researchers.
VI. Deaf to Death: Contrary to recent published research and portions of the book, Dr Strain apparently generally assumed that once a dog was declared congenitally sensorineural-hereditary deaf, the dog because of an inability to generate or regenerate nerve-neurons and-or modify brain processing could never recover useful hearing. Recent neurological research of birds and mammal demonstrated recovery or regrowth of neurons and “rewiring” of brain processes. No mention was made of the multi-year observations of deaf dogs’ partial recovery of useful hearing by dogs that were declared bi-ear deaf as puppies. Reliable reports by deaf dogs’ owners and private research were obtained by a critic/ reviewer. Note that dog deafness from other causes than congenital was expected to recover partially.
VII. Undisclosed statistical sampling procedures of the book’s and related Web published research results were not explained that appeared to demonstrate that BAER testing more and more dogs of a breed (excepting Dalmatians) caused systematic decrease of deafness in the breed, until some very large number of animals such as 5,000 of the breed were tested. Speculation by other scientists based on the published data suggested that the reported results reflected an unusual form of biased sample selection of the BAER tested animals. Without public release of the relevant research records and-or a credible technical explanation of the unlikely trends, the book must be read with doubt about the integrity of the reported research.
Surprisingly in view of the authors apparent reliance on the Sponsor's Red Book for his information about behavior of deaf abused untrained unsocialized Dalmatian dogs, he apparently was unaware of or chose to neglect the description to the sources of the initial BAER tested Dalmatians, described on pages 366-367 in "The Official Book of the Dalmatian", by the DCA, (undated publication but about 1996.); available on Amazon.com.
[Please go to the TOP of the page, under "Book Reviews" to reach the next Weeblycritique-review of the book's other Chapters or use the Links: Chapters 1 and2 ; Chapters 3 and 4 ; Chapter 5, 6 and 7 ; Major Behavior Flaws ; Consequences ]