If deafness is a disability in dogs as in humans, our doggie friends easily adapt to it. On the other hand, in the context of their training, the impossibility of using the voice can disturb many masters of deaf dogs. It must be known, however, that any animal, deaf or not, can be effectively brought up without words, but with gestures, postures and facial expressions that are well adapted to the dog’s failing hearing.
deafness in dogs
In dogs as in humans, deafness is a disability that can have several causes. For our friends, the doggies, it can sometimes be caused by lack of hygiene or a bad or untreated ear infection, but in some cases it is impossible to determine the origin.
Deafness in dogs affects some breeds more than others, especially those with a predominant white coat.
Be careful, because a dog that does not obey you is not necessarily deaf, it may simply not listen to you and choose to ignore your orders.
How is deafness detected in dogs?
Asking your veterinarian for advice if you think your dog is deaf is the best solution. The doctor will be able to make the examinations necessary for the diagnosis. Nevertheless, certain signs on a daily basis may warn you:
- if your pet never turns around when you call his name;
- if he does not come back when he leaves you and you call him;
- if he seems surprised when you approach him, or if he reacts aggressively if you touch him without him noticing that you are coming;
- if he pays special attention when he is in front of you, to your gestures, your posture, your facial expressions;
- if he does not startle, or if he is not awakened by unusual and sudden noises (the door slams, the front doorbell, the vacuum cleaner, etc.).
Do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian in this case.
Training a deaf dog: what precautions? What communication?
To train your deaf dog, you will need to acquire other habits to adapt the learning and your methods to its disability.
How to get the attention of a deaf dog?
To be successful in training your deaf dog, you need to be able to get his attention so that it “listens” to you. There are specific collars that send vibrations to the animal’s neck, without any pain. They are helpful in letting you tell your dog to come to you.
To help him understand this context “vibration = master”, connect these vibrations with a positive element, especially with a treat. So first, as soon as you send a vibration in the neck of your little companion, you give him a treat to allow him to make the connection. Practice in your living room to avoid interference from other sources of stimulation.
Once he has understood the connection between the two elements, the requirement becomes effective for implementing learning.
Work around the disability to better communicate with your deaf dog
Deafness is a disability, but the fact that it forces the master to use other more effective techniques to bring it up helps to develop the communication between the dog and its human and to establish a much stronger and more balanced relationship. In fact, if you can not “talk” to your dog, you will be forced to use other non-verbal communication resources, such as gestures, postures, facial expressions, etc., elements that the dog actually exists for. , much more receptive than the voice alone.
You must learn to be the referee, your dog’s guide. Your little friend needs to be able to trust that you feel safe and learning, which will help build your mutual trust and your dog’s cooperation.
To do this, you need to work on a much larger scale than just education.
- You need to meet your pet’s basic needs every day.
- You need to take a consistent stance in your education and communication.
- You need to establish boundaries and a stable and secure living environment for your dog.
Learning to communicate with a deaf dog
Consistency in your communication will be crucial to the successful training of your deaf dog. He should be able to easily understand you, which means you should always assume the same gestures and the same positions and facial expressions to say the same thing.
Non-verbal communication is the key to your relationship and your success. The dog is very sensitive to your body language, especially when it cannot hear your voice. It is up to you to externalize your feelings and know how to translate them clearly so that your dog understands your intention and the message you want to convey to him. Play with your hands, your postures and your facial expressions to communicate more clearly and be sure to be understood.
Be accompanied by professionals
You are not alone with your dog’s disability. If communication and training are difficult to put in place, do not hesitate to be accompanied by competent professionals. You can find valuable personal advice from your veterinarian, behavioral experts and dog trainers.
Precautions to accompany a deaf dog
Before we approach learning, we consider it important to remind you of some basic safety rules that are important to introduce with a deaf dog.
- If your deaf dog has not been conditioned for the vibration collar yet and has not learned the recall, do not let him walk around freely.
- Do not let your deaf pet get loose in an unfamiliar or unsafe environment.
- At all costs, avoid surprising your dog by approaching or touching him without him seeing you. From fear or annoyance he can be aggressive.
How to raise a deaf dog? Learning basic commands
Remember that in the teaching of a deaf dog, gestures, postures and facial expressions are crucial and constitute essential learning tools.
Let’s see together how to learn the three basic commands that are “sit!”, “Lie down!” and “at the foot!” to your deaf dog.
How to learn the command “sit!” to your deaf dog?
Look at your dog and stand upright. This will indicate to your animal that you are asking him for a static position.
With your hand, you make a movement that goes from its nose to its tail. To follow your movement, your dog will be forced to sit. In this case, if he sits up as desired, give him a treat, his favorite toy, or give him a playful bitch.
If he is backing down instead of sitting down, start over with his back to the wall. And if he does not follow the movement of your hand, place his favorite toy or treat there to entice him to follow.
Repeat these steps as needed until you master them.
How to learn the “down!” to your deaf dog?
Start by letting your dog sit. Once he is in place, stand right in front of him and swing with your hand from the base of his nose to his forelegs. Logically, your animal will lie down on the ground to follow the movement.
Do not hesitate to “trick” in the same way with a treat or his toys if he does not follow the movement.
When he’s down to earth, you reward him with a treat, his toy, or a tender pet. Of course, the steps here again need to be repeated until they are perfectly mastered.
How to learn the command “to the foot!” to your deaf dog?
Stand with your dog’s face at a certain distance. You have several solutions to teach him the command “to the heel!”.
- You can place your arm along your body, one finger pointing towards your feet.
- You can sit down to pull your dog towards you.
- You can press on your leg to attract your pet.
It is up to you to choose the gesture that best suits your dog. In any case, if he is not listening to you, then go in the opposite direction, as is the practice with hearing dogs. If he obeys you, consider rewarding him.
Once your dog masters this order at home, you can gradually try to try it outside. Nevertheless, as long as the recall is not fully acquired, it is preferable not to let your pet roam without a leash.