If you’ve found yourself considering, “Should I adopt a deaf dog?” then there are several things you should consider. We’ve broken down what you need to know before adopting a deaf dog in the post below. Feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions.
How to Know if Your Dog is Deaf
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To determine if your pup is hard-of-hearing, you can do simple at-home tests like making sounds to get your dog’s attention, or rattling keys in front of your dog’s ears. If you suspect your dog is deaf, you may want to take them to the vet to run an official BAER test.
Training A Deaf Dog
As with any dog, training a deaf dog takes time and patience. There are some ways in which deaf and hearing dogs learn quite similarly. Repetition, reward, and consistency remain the pillars of success—however there are a few key differences:
- You must establish eye contact with deaf dogs before you can properly train them. While eye contact is an important piece of training for all dogs, its especially necessary when training a deaf dog. Because deaf dogs cannot hear you – eye contact is there way of actively listening to you. This means that it’s particularly important that you establish and reward regular eye contact early on in training our deaf dog.
- Deaf dogs are reliant on visual cues. Once you have the attention of a deaf dog, you’ll need to associate behaviors with hand cues. It’s not unusual for most owners to use hand signals when training their dogs, however some words like “no” or “yes” might not be traditionally represented by hand. When your deaf dog does a command poorly, or well, have a unique way of visually letting them know. You should also consider creating a signal for your dog’s name. See the video below for a sample of visual cues:
This can make training a little more difficult in cases where your dog isn’t right in front of you—for example when they are in another room or several yards away. Consider investing in a vibrating collar to send your dog physical cues when he is not looking or is out of eyesight.
Challenges of Living with a Deaf Dog
Training a deaf dog takes some additional patience but is quite similar to training any other pup once you get the hang of it. There are a few other challenges that owning a deaf dog can pose in your day-to-day life.
- Deaf dogs startle more easily. When owning a deaf dog, keep in mind that they cannot hear you or others approaching. It’s best to walk toward them from the front and teach kids not to pet them from behind. You can also let deaf dogs know you are coming by stomping a bit louder as you approach. TO wake a sleeping deaf dog, touch them gentle on the shoulder—or another consistent spot—but avoid petting their head.
- Get into a routine. One great way to provide any dog with a sense of comfort, is by establishing a daily routine. Feed and walk your dog on a consistent schedule, use the same cues before a bath or meal time. Create as much stability as you can for your pup.
- Have a fenced in yard and walk them on a leash. Exercise is crucial for most deaf dogs, however calling your dog to come back to you is not an option for these pups. Deaf dogs are also less able to sense danger, like oncoming cars, or wildlife, so a fenced in yard and on-leash walks are important for their safety.
Who Should Consider Adopting a Deaf Dog
Just about anyone with the right home, and the right level of patience and love can and should consider adopting a deaf dog. As with any adoption, the most important factor is whether your pup and you have the right personality and chemistry to form a loving bond.
If you’re considering adopting a deaf dog, take a look at our spotlight on Petunia Rose. https://pawsnewengland.com/pup-profile-petunia-rose/