If deafness is a handicap in dogs as in humans, our canine friends easily adapt to it. On the other hand, in the context of their training, the impossibility of using the voice can bother many deaf dog masters. However, it should be known that any animal, whether deaf or not, can be effectively trained without words but with gestures, postures and facial expressions that are well adapted to the dog’s hearing impairment.
deafness in dogs
Deafness in dogs, as in humans, is a handicap that can have multiple origins. For our canine companions, it can sometimes be caused by a lack of hygiene or a bad or untreated ear infection, but in some cases its origin is impossible to pinpoint.
Canine deafness affects some breeds more than others, especially white coat predominant ones.
Be careful, because a dog that doesn’t obey you doesn’t have to be deaf, it may not listen to you and choose to ignore your commands.
How is deafness detected in dogs?
If you think your dog is deaf, it is best to seek advice from your veterinarian. The practitioner will be able to perform the necessary examinations for diagnosis. However, some signs on a daily basis may alert you:
- if your pet does not return when you call his name;
- if he doesn’t come back when he goes away from you and you call him;
- seems surprised when you approach him or reacts aggressively when you touch him without realizing you are coming;
- especially if he pays attention to your gestures, posture, facial expressions when in front of you;
- is not startled or woken by unusual and sudden sounds (door slamming, front doorbell, vacuum cleaner, etc.).
In this case, do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian.
Training a deaf dog: what precautions? What communication?
To train your deaf dog, you will need to adopt other habits to adapt your learning and methods to his disability.
How can I get a deaf dog’s attention?
To be successful in training your deaf dog, you must be able to get his attention to “listen” to you. There are special collars that send vibrations to the neck of the animal without causing any pain. They are useful for letting you tell your dog to come to you.
To help him understand this “vibration = master” relationship, you must associate these vibrations with a positive element, specifically a treat. So, at first, as soon as you send a vibration to your little friend’s neck, you give him a feast to let him connect. Practice in your living room to avoid interference from other stimulation sources.
When one understands the relationship of the two elements, the collar becomes effective for the application of learning.
Bypass the barrier to better communicate with your deaf dog
Deafness is a handicap, but forcing the owner to use other more effective techniques to train him helps to improve communication between dog and human, and to establish a much stronger and more balanced relationship. In fact, if you can’t “talk” to your dog, gestures, postures, facial expressions, etc. You will have to refer to other sources of non-verbal communication, such as the element of the dog, which is actually the dog. , much more receptive than sound alone.
You must learn to be your dog’s guide, his reference. Your little friend needs to feel safe and be able to trust you to learn, which will help develop mutual trust and your dog’s cooperation.
To do this, you need to work on a much larger scale than just education.
- Every day you need to meet your pet’s basic needs.
- You need to adopt a consistent attitude in your education and communication.
- You must establish boundaries and a stable and safe living environment for your dog.
Learning to communicate with a deaf dog
Consistency in your communication will be crucial to successfully training your deaf dog. They should be able to understand you easily, which means you always have to adopt the same gestures, postures and facial expressions to say the same thing.
Nonverbal communication is the key to your relationship and success. The dog is very sensitive to your body language, especially when he can’t hear your voice. It’s up to you to articulate your emotions and know how to translate them clearly so that your dog understands your intent and the message you want to convey to him. Play with your hands, postures, and facial expressions to communicate more clearly and make sure you’re understood.
Let the professionals accompany
You are not alone with your dog’s disability. If communication and training is difficult to implement, do not hesitate to have competent professionals accompany you. You can find valuable personalized advice from your veterinarian, behaviorists and dog trainers.
Precautions to follow with a deaf dog
Before we get closer to finding out, we think it’s necessary to remind you of some basic safety rules that it’s important to follow with a deaf dog.
- Unless your deaf dog has not yet been conditioned to the vibration collar and has learned to recall, do not let it roam free.
- Do not let your deaf pet loose in an unfamiliar or unsafe environment.
- At all costs, avoid surprising your dog by approaching or touching him before he sees you. May be aggressive out of fear or boredom.
How to train a deaf dog? Learning basic commands
Remember that gestures, postures and facial expressions are very important in training a deaf dog and are essential learning tools.
“Sit down!”, “lie down!” Let’s see together how to learn the three basic commandments. and “standing!” to your deaf dog.
“Sit down!” how to learn command to your deaf dog?
Face your dog and stand tall. This will show your animal that you are asking him for a static position.
Make a movement from nose to tail with your hand. Your dog will be forced to sit up to follow your movement. In this case, if he just sits down, give him a treat, his favorite toy, or give him some fun petting.
If he pulls back instead of sitting up, start over with his back to the wall. And if he doesn’t follow the movement of your hand, place his favorite toy or treat there to follow him.
Repeat these steps as needed until you master them.
“Down!” How to learn command? to your deaf dog?
Start by sitting your dog. Once in position, stand up straight in front of him and wave your hand under his nose to his front legs. Logically, your animal will lie on the ground to follow the movement.
Don’t be afraid to “trick” the same with a treat or toy if he doesn’t follow the movement.
When he’s down, reward him with a treat, toy, or sensitive pet. Of course, here too the steps have to be repeated until they are perfectly mastered.
“Stand up!” How to learn command? to your deaf dog?
Stand facing your dog at a distance. “On the heel!” You have several solutions for teaching the command.
- You can put your arm across your body with one finger pointing to your feet.
- You can crouch to attract your dog to you.
- You can touch your leg to attract your pet.
It’s up to you to choose the move that best suits your dog. Anyway, if he’s not listening to you, go in the opposite direction of your practice with hearing dogs. If he obeys you, consider rewarding him.
Once your dog has mastered this pattern at home, you can try gradually trying it outside. However, it is preferable not to allow your pet to roam without a leash unless the recall is fully achieved.