Training a deaf dog is never easy. But it’s worth it. In this article, we will talk about the best way to train a deaf dog. This will include the usage of hand signals, walking on a leash, and overall living comfortably living with your deaf dog. Being deaf doesn’t have to be a handicap to you or your dog’s life.
For a long time, deaf dogs were portrayed as aggressive or hard to train. That is simply not true. people were simply lacking the knowledge of the correct way of training deaf dogs.
Puppies that are born deaf or become deaf at an early age are often easier to train, but it is just as possible for older dogs. Training an audio-impaired dog takes a lot of patience, effort and willpower.
Since you will be communicating with your dog in sign language, you will most likely learn signed commands by heart, which makes the whole situation easier.
Before beginning, you should review interaction advice as well as safety tips that concern deaf animals.
Interacting with your dog
Since your puppy will not be able to hear you, you need to make use of their other senses. Especially sight and touch will be very important down the line
Starting with sight, it may be good to use a not too bright flashlight to display certain commands. However, this method can get rather tiring after a while, and you may not always have a flashlight near you.
This is why I would recommend using vibrations for training a deaf dog.
The best way to start would be to stay in the line of your deaf dog and tap the floor close to them. Since hearing impaired animals are more sensitive to it, you can start using that to train them for simple commands and to get their attention.
Once they have been taught the basics, you could purchase a vibration collar. Only do so if you have already taught your dog simple commands. Also, make sure to consult a professional dog trainer about the best way to train your furry best friend.
Encouraging your dog
It has been proven many times that animals respond the best to positive feedback and encouragement. Since you can’t tell your dog how amazing they are with words, we have to find an alternative way of training a deaf dog.
By using gentle hugs and pets, you can make sure that your dog feels loved and wanted. Make sure that your dog knows you are near or are approaching, as they may become scared for an instance if they can’t hear you and then just feel something grabbing them.
Let’s be honest. Treats usually do the trick for all species across the ages. For your dog treats will be a super important source of encouragement, so go out there and get them some premium treats. It would be best to consult with your veterinarian beforehand and to agree on a brand that works for the two of you. Don’t overfeed your deaf dog with treats, as this may quench their appetite.
Waking up your dog
You need to make sure that your dog is comfortable with being touched. Since touch will be one of the main senses that you will use for training your dog, the earlier you can start training them, the better it is.
If your dog is asleep, gently indicate your presence by placing your hand below its nose to sniff you (without touching it) and your other hand should gently stroke their shoulder or back. When they wake up you can give them a little treat. Repeat this often as it will take patience and consistency to teach them. This can take a few weeks.
If your dog is awake already but not paying attention to you, and touch their shoulder or back gently and maybe give them a treat as well.
Walking your dog
The outside world can appear scary to your puppy even without hearing impairment. So, since your puppy can’t perceive any sounds, they might be a little extra scared of going outside. This is why an important part of training a deaf dog is walking them on a leash.
It is always a good idea to keep your dog on a leash, but an even better idea for deaf dogs. They should stay on a leash even once they have reached adulthood. A 9 to 15-meter line would be best for the independence of your dog. This way you can make sure they are never too far away and still make them feel confident about themselves.
You may want to attach a bell to your dogs collar and an additional deaf sign and sometimes your phone number
Teaching the puppy commands
Okay, so teaching can be a challenge at first. But once you know what you are doing, it all gets easier from there. You may consider buying a pocket version of a sign language book, if not just use the Internet.
There are several sign languages to choose from, and you should try to go for the most international one if you can. ASL can be a good option too.
Remember, consistency is important, so only use hand signs from one sign language. Also you could look into “Hear Hear” by Barry Eaton, as this is a sign language guidebook specifically for deaf dogs.
Many of you have probably heard of clicker training. It is basically using a small tool that can click to indicate whenever your dog has done something good. That good action is usually followed by a treat. Since clicks are only audio stimulating, we need to find a different alternative for your dog.
If your dog is focused on you during training (and not always daydreaming) you can simply use an open palm or a thumbs up sign to indicate that they are good boys and girls.
It would be good to repeat training your deaf dog several times a day. Training sessions should never last longer than 5 to 10 minutes as your dog may lose interest if the sessions are dragged out. Reward your dog with cuddles and a treat when they are making progress and continue to encourage them even if they are not at first. Remember that you will need a lot of patience and effort, but I am confident that training your deaf dog is something that you are more than capable of.
Little tips for training a deaf dog
Your dog may become anxious since they can’t hear you leave the room. If from one minute to the next you have simply left the room and they can’t see you, this may make them feel scared. To avoid this, simply flicker the lights when you leave the room or stomp your feet hard enough for them to notice without scaring them.
All of you know that I am not a veterinarian. So all I can do is give advice based on experience and research. Please remember that you should always consult with two or more professionals as they can give you certified opinions well as offer different points of view.
If you have a deaf dog I wish you two all the best and I hope that my article about training a deaf dog has helped you. You can read more about puppy potty training here. Let me know if I have missed anything in the comments. Read you next time!