Deaf Dog Training
Deaf dog training may seem like a gargantuan task especially for a dog owner who has never deal with a deaf dog. Having a deaf dog can be challenging especially when it comes to communicating with him but there are always solutions and ways to overcome this dilemma.
Here are some deaf dog training ideas and pointers for dog owners who may have deaf dogs:
Have your dog inspected by a veterinarian if you suspect that your dog has a hearing problem. Get an expert opinion on the extent of the hearing defect of your dog. There is a possibility that your dog is not totally deaf at all and can still have some auditory perception. Your veterinarian can recommend several tests before jumping into any conclusions. A reliable way to determine if your dog is deaf is the BAER method or the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Responses. This is a series of test using computers to determine the brain activity and responses of the dog.
Deaf dog training requires a major commitment and lots of patience. You will mostly be communicating with your dog through hand signs. For uniformity, you can follow the American or International Sign Language. Hand signals must be:
- distinguishable from other signs and gestures you commonly use
- visible from a distance, and
The first sign you should teach your dog is a sign which means he is a “good dog”. This hand signal can be a thumbs up sign which can mean “good dog” or he did it right and he is entitled to a reward. You can help associate the thumbs up sign with the meaning by giving a reward like a dog biscuit perhaps every time he does something right. Other basic signs you should also start on are sit, down, stay, come, no and stop. These seven signs are enough to begin with.
Repetition will play an important role in helping a deaf dog learn hand signals and other body language. You also have to spend more time with your dog if you want to train him to respond to your hand signals and body language. There is no wrong hand signal and you can even invent your own provide you and your dog are comfortable with the signals. And don’t forget using your facial expressions and body language. Your dog will be reading you for that too!
Use food treats to encourage your dog to learn your signals. Giving food treats may just be the best way to teach your dog. Any small snacks in the house will do like hotdogs or chips for as long as your dog likes it and keeps him motivated to learn. You should give the food as a reward when your dog gets the correct command or signal. However, food should not be used to bribe your dog into doing something because he may no longer follow a command without such bribe.
One proven way to get your dog attention is to thump on the floor with your foot when he's looking away from you or when he’s asleep since he won’t be able to hear you coming. He may feel the vibrations when you stomp your foot on the floor. Sneaking up on your dog especially when he is asleep should be avoided. Another way to wake him up is you can put your hand near his nose where he can smell you.
Deaf dogs can get lost so better train your dog to follow a certain smell or familiar odor in your home which she can use to track down when she gets lost. If your dog is outside at night and you want to call him in, you can signal by waving a flash light or turning it off and on.
If you want to take deaf dog training one step higher, consider the services of a trainer. While you can teach your deaf dog the basic hand commands a professional trainer can suggest some other ways that are more ingenious. You can also get help from organizations that cater to helping deaf dogs and their owners in particular.
Other Deaf Dog Training Resources:
Frequently Asked Questions on Deaf Dogs
Return from Deaf Dog Training to Dog Training Classroom
Deaf Dog Support Flyer