Dealing with a deaf dog


 Dealing with a deaf dog

It is only natural that we humans depend on our voices to communicate. Of course, we use other senses like eye contact and hand gestures, so it’s no surprise that most of the time we assume the same for our dogs. Normal healthy dogs are OK with our verbal training as long as it is accompanied by some hand gestures, but some unfortunate dogs who are deaf will not be able to understand us or communicate using our voice commands. It is only fair that we find common ground to communicate and thus need to adjust the methods we use to train our dogs.

What causes deafness in dogs?

  • Some dogs are deaf from birth, a condition known as congenital deafness.
  • Other dogs can be deaf or partially deaf due to some ear infections, head traumas or even sound traumas.
  • Old age also is one factor that can affect the hearing abilities of our dogs. Learn more on how to deal with a senior dog.

Are some breeds more likely to be deaf?

Yes, there are some known breeds that have been proven to be more prone to deafness than others. Some of these breed are Dalmatians, Bull Terriers and Jack Russell.

It is also known that dogs who are white pigmented are more prone to be deaf than most other dogs with colored skins.

Are deaf dogs more aggressive?

No, deaf dogs are certainly just as aggressive and normal as other hearing dogs.  Some argue that deaf dogs can bite people when they are woken up as they get startled. However, even normal dogs can get startled when woken up. To get over this point it has been advised to provide the dog with treat when woken up. For example if you are waking up a deaf dog treat him as soon as he wakes up this way he learns that when you wake him up a treat is expected. Also you can stomp the floor to wake them up. Learn also how to deal with a blind dog.

How can I tell if my dog is deaf?

The easiest way to tell if your dog is deaf or not is to test the dog. For example, wait until the dog doesn’t face you, then make a loud noise. If the dog doesn’t respond or isn’t startled it is most likely that the dog didn’t hear you. Also look for signs like not coming when called or doesn’t come running when food is poured into his/her bowl.

 

Can deaf dogs be trained and what is the best method to train deaf dogs?

To answer the first question yes, deaf dogs can certainly be trained just as good as a normal hearing dog. The only difference is that you will have to depend on other things than your voice.

The method best known to be effective with deaf dogs is positive reinforcement with hand signals. The secret to training deaf dogs is making sure that each command has a very unique hand signal in order not to confuse the dog.

 

How do I keep my deaf dog safe?

Each dog owner of course has his/her own way with their dog’s safety but we would like to suggest a few:

  1. Let your deaf dog wear a bell so that you would know where he/she is most of the time.
  2. Make him a name tag with contact information and make sure that you have deaf on it so that people know. Find out how to make a dog tag yourself.
  3. Never leave your deaf dog off leach in an open area. Dogs with hearing disabilities are more likely to be hit by cars.
Written by Farah Khaled
Sources: Quick and dirty tips , Web MD , Second Opinion Doctor

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