How to Train a Deaf Dog on Basic Commands

how to train a deaf dog

How to train a deaf dog, sometimes it can happen that we adopt a puppy we think functional 100%, and then realize a few weeks later that it would have a slight hearing problem. So, how do you manage to educate a dog,

 when the majority of training exercises require the use of vocal cues such as “sitting” and “lying down”?

In recent years, the education of deaf dogs has been widely sought after, and simple and effective methods are emerging regularly.

The opportunities for adoption of a deaf dog are getting bigger, and there is no reason to return these animals to a shelter.

How to train a deaf dog

If it was a few years ago, training a deaf dog seemed impossible, a lot of dog-lovers have looked into the matter, and the education of such an animal is now as simple as any other.

The main difference is that you have to leave aside the auditory stimulation, for obvious reasons.

Instead, as for humans, you will use hand signs. You will associate each action requested with a clear and distinct hand sign. No matter which sign you will use, soon you are constant and always use the same sign for the same action.

There is a myth that lack of hearing makes a dog more aggressive.

In fact, any dog, if stimulated in the wrong way, will bite you. It is the awakening that can be the most difficult for a deaf dog, so it is important to perform exercises with him from an early age.

Wake your dog with a treat in his hand several times during his first months, and he will soon associate this awakening with something positive.

 If you do not want to surprise your dog, you can wake him by tapping your foot on the ground or by knocking on the bed he is sleeping on, the vibrations will wake him up slowly.

Other than that, there is absolutely nothing to do to adapt your accommodation to your dog.

The deafness of a dog could curb more than one master in his desire to educate his dog. But know that there are tips and tools to facilitate and train a deaf dog.

Training a deaf dog

As for humans, some baby dogs are simply born deaf, this is what is called congenital deafness. For other dogs, deafness can come from many sources, or causes, such as chronic ear infections or toxic drug injuries or old age.

There are a few hundred dog breeds that are more prone to congenital deafness than others. Dalmatians, for example, have a very high degree of risk, with 30% of puppies being born deaf with one or two ears.

 Other breeds affected by this disease are: English Setter, Australian Cattle Dog, Leopard Catahoula Dog, Whippet Greyhound, and Parson Russell Terrier.

Scientists do not yet know exactly why these dogs are likely to be born deaf, but it seems clear that deafness primarily affects dogs with a white, or predominantly white, head.

According to an American study, “The lack of pigment on the head makes the pigmented cells located in the ear have difficulty developing, or could even be non-existent.

The lack of pigment cells causes the death of nerve cells, essential for the good development of hearing. Oddly enough, white dogs like Spitz and Samoyed do not know these deafness problems. The mystery is not entirely solved.

Living with a deaf dog and How to know if the dog is deaf?

how to train a deaf dog

If you think your dog is deaf, just do a simple test. Wait until your dog is asleep or does not look at you and make a loud sound behind him.

 It must be certain that the animal can neither see your movement nor feel any vibration (which excludes tapping the ground).

Then try different types of sounds. Use a whistle, clap your hands tightly, and hit a battery. These sounds are different enough to understand complex hearing levels, and will check whether your dog is deaf, completely, or partially.

If you notice that your dog suddenly starts to ignore you or does not come running when you pour his kibble in his bowl, it would be interesting to perform this test, just to be sure that it is not his hearing that is damaged.

If your dog does not respond to these sounds and you want to perform a more advanced test, remember to call your veterinarian, who may offer different exams.

Vibration collar

One way to train a deaf dog is through vibration collars. I urge you to get a specific dog collar that sends vibrations to your dog’s neck at a distance.

This necklace is absolutely not painful for your dog but it is nevertheless necessary to set up a positive conditioning work above all else.

And yes, when you buy a specific necklace for deaf dogs, it is not “magic”, you must still create the association “vibration = candy (for example)” in your dog.

To do so, nothing simpler, just give a treat to each vibration that you send in the neck of your dog. So, he likens the vibration to the fact that you give him a treat.

Of course, it is necessary to carry out this learning in a progressive way, in a calm and serene environment for your doggie (your living room for example) and especially while remaining patient and in a process of success, that it is for you or for your dog.

Signs of deafness in dogs

To find out if your dog is deaf, you must first consult your veterinarian, especially if you have a doubt! He will be able to do all the necessary examinations to diagnose such a handicap.

  • Here are some signals that could put you “smart in the ear”:
  • Your dog never comes back when you call him away.
  • He never turns around when you call him.
  • Your dog always sleeps very deeply and is only very rarely awakened by unusual noises (vacuum cleaner, slamming door, crying child, etc.)
  • He sometimes has aggressive reactions when you touch him without him seeing you coming towards him.

On the other hand, once your dog looks at you, he is very attentive to you, your gestures and your posture.

How to educate a deaf dog?

Know that studies have already shown that dogs are more receptive to pointing, gestures that indicate directions. And I myself have experimented with my dog, H, a Border Collie, especially during our training in herd management.

I wanted to give you this information because it is decisive in the education of a deaf dog: it is your hands, your postures, your gestures, etc. which will be your best learning tools.

Deaf dog sign language

how to train a deaf dog

Basic instructions to teach your deaf dog with your gestures and posture

To learn the indication “sitting” to your dog: you just have to place your dog in front of you, to keep you straight (always stand straight like an i when you ask for a static position to your dog, deaf or not).

Then make a movement with your hand from his truffle to his tail. Spontaneously, your dog will follow your hand, and will be forced to sit down to continue following your movement. For some dogs, it will suffice to point your finger in the air.

If your dog steps back instead of sitting, place your back to a wall. And if your dog does not follow your hand, do not hesitate to arm yourself with a treat or his favorite toy.

Of course, when your dog has sat down, reward him by giving him the treat or toy if you used them or caressing him warmly.

You will understand, of course, that verbal rewards are not welcome because they will have no impact on your dog.

Lying down

To learn the indication “lying down” to your dog: proceed in the same way as the seated indication, by “luring” your dog.

Place him in a seated position, and then make with your hand a downward movement of his truffle to both his front paws. Be careful not to put your hand too far forward as this may cause your dog to stand up to follow your hand.


To learn the “foot” indication for your dog: place your arm along your body, pointing at your feet. You can also adopt a significant gesture by stooping to draw your dog towards you. Also you can tap on your leg to increase its interest.

If your dog does not come back, do as for all dogs (deaf or not), go in the opposite direction.

Of course if your dog is deaf and the remainder is not yet acquired, avoid releasing it without security in places he does not know. Prefer to attach to a large lanyard to avoid any incident.


In general, all my advice is adaptable to all dogs, whether they are deaf or not, it is always very important to accompany a word to a gesture.

So, personally, on a walk, it happens that my dog ​​does not hear once the sound of my voice because we communicate in silent mode.

Then, How to train a deaf dog becomes easy .

To know more about a guide to help you when you have a deaf dog, check The Ultimate Guide into Deaf Dog Training.

Share with us your experience. Do you have a deaf dog and how do you train and teach them?

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Welcome to my bio everyone, my name is Nada. Ever since I was little, I have loved animals because they are so loving and kind. All they need is you attention, love, and care but I didn't understand them very well because I didn't get the chance to raise them. Well, That changed when my family and I got our first dog Rocky, a German Shepherd. Rocky was fun and loving with funny quirks. Being loyal and protective of us, he made me see the nature of a German Shepherd. Now, we have another German Shepherd named Mia. She is a wonderful dog and a rescue who just needed a second chance in life. Mia has long grown from being a terrified dog to the brave and caring German Shepherd that she is today. P.S: Here is a picture of our beautiful German Shepherd, Mia.

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