Wonder is a double merle Australian Shepherd. The double merle gene happens when two merle dogs are bred. The genetics look like this (from the ASCA website ):
|Two Merle Dogs bred together||
|M (Merle)||m (solid)||Dam
|M (Merle)||MM (Homozygous merle)||Mm (merle)|
|m (solid)||Mm (merle)||mm (solid)|
The Homozygous merle, or ‘lethal white’ combination, has known associated problems, the most common being blindness and deafness. Although double merle dogs can be born without either or both of those defects, it is a high risk to take. Many of these dogs are simply put to sleep at birth, humanely or otherwise. Wonders mom and dad were turned into the shelter late on a Friday night, and nobody knew she was in season until Monday morning.
Either they’d already been bred, or the time they spent together that weekend produced four gorgeous puppies. Rescue Rovers pulled both of them from the shelter and found homes for them before they realized Ruby was pregnant. The puppy raising was done masterfully by two members of the group, and turned out four fantastic puppies. Wonder and Jewel were both double merles – Jewel was only deaf in one ear. Willow was the blue merle pup you see often with Wonder, as my mother adopted Willow, and we kept them together for awhile for puppy socializing. And Abe was a dark, dark bi black puppy that got adopted within an hour of being available.
This blog is designed to follow the detailed path of the training needed for a blind and deaf dog. I train using positive reinforcement methods, the clicker, techniques described by BAT and Control Unleashed, and many other positive techniques.