I owned a spunky little dog, that was eager as any pup could be. Over the years, I noticed he wouldn’t listen to me and thought he just grew to ignore me.
However, after his annual checkup at the vet’s, I was informed my furry baby wasn’t ignoring me, but instead, he had lost his hearing.
I was hurt for him! Then I was embarrassed and ashamed of my initial thought. The vet did inform me that my dog was getting old, and hearing loss (like in humans) was just part of aging.
How could I have been so ignorant of his condition? How do I begin to train myself to communicate with my deaf dog? So, now I wanted to redeem myself and needed to find a better and loving way to communicate with my dog. I found some simple tips for training your deaf dog that I will share with you in this article.
Deaf Dogs Can Still Communicate
Even if your dog is deaf, he can still be taught commands and to obey you. The training process is a little tricky, and you will need lots of patience (I learned), but it isn’t outside your capability.
Note: There are breeds of dogs that are more prone to deafness than other breeds. These breeds are whippets, English setters, Jack Russell terriers, and Dalmatians.
Getting Your Dogs Attention
Before you can start any training, you will need to get the attention of your pet.
So, one way to get a dog that’s deaf to look at you is to stomp your foot. The vibrations coming through the floor should be enough to get him to look at you. Although the dog might feel the vibrations, this is not the recommended action to gain their attention.
It is far better to use the tapping mode or use a flashlight by turning it off and on. When you’ve gained their attention, and he looks at you, give him a treat. Soon your pet will associate the tap or the flash of light with needing to look at you.
A vibrating collar can be used that will vibrate when you press the button. When your dog looks at you when you vibrate his collar, stop the vibrations, and reward him. This means of getting their attention might be startling to them. Use your better judgment if a vibrating collar is best for your pup.
Training Your Dog
Many owners of deaf dogs use hand signals for communication for the basic obedience commands. Dog trainers use standard hand signals for each command, but you can come up with your own signals.
You make sure your pet’s attention is on you, give the spoken command, and then use the hand signal.
For example, you could say “sit” with a downward motion of your hand. The dog may not hear your command, but it keeps it clear to you what you want your pet to do.
Some owners use sign language for communication. Your pet will learn to understand the sign for the action you are requesting. You can either learn a few signs of the American Sign Language or create a sign for your own commands. If you and your pet know what they mean, that’s all that matters.
Have treats readily available to reward your pet for good behavior and positive reinforcement. A deaf dog can startle easily, which could lead to snarling or snapping. Practice touching your pet gently on the shoulder and back and then reward with a treat. Your pet will learn that when touched unexpectedly, he’ll get a treat.
Remember to never let a deaf dog off-leash in unfenced areas. If he takes off, he can’t hear you calling him to come back.
These are the tips I used to communicate with my dog. Since my dog had several years behind him, I had to break him from previous habits to get him to watch and follow me. It took me about four months of training to get him to follow my signals and understand what each meant and taking this valuable time allowed me to spend the next six happy years together.
Owning a deaf dog can be just as rewarding as owning a dog with hearing.
Watch this success story on a tiny deaf puppy grow to be so big and happy !!!
McCann Dog Training
Deaf Wiggle Butts