Some dogs are born deaf and others can go deaf for a variety of reasons from chronic ear infections, to injuries, to drug toxicity, or even like us; old age. Did you know in fact Dalmatians have the highest incidence between 15 to 30% of Dalmatians are born deaf. Fortunately it is very easy to train a deaf dog regardless of what some people think.
The thing to note is you that you can train a deaf dog as much as you can a hearing dog the only difference is you use hand signals instead of verbal commands. You need to have a clear hand signal for each action you want the dog to learn, it doesn't matter what they are as long as your consistent. Instead of using a clicker to mark a desired behavior you can use a thumbs up to mark and reward. When training dogs should be looking at you anyway or you can use vibration to get their attention. Such as stomping your feet or you may need to go up to gently touch them. At night your dog can be taught to come in with the flash of a porch light or flashlight.
All dogs if startled can bite not just deaf dogs. If you have a deaf puppy wake them up repeatedly with a gentle touch and tasty treat in hand. Soon they will associate being woken up with something good.
For their safety you should always keep your deaf dog in a fenced yard and on a leash at the park or when walking. Once your confident in their training and ability to get their attention you can work on letting them off leash at the park, but this must be done very slowly and safely starting at non peak times. To keep track of your dog put a bell on his collar and a tag on him that says ‘deaf’ with your contact details. You can also use a jacket, a harness or a bandana that identifies them as deaf.
Deaf dogs can have wonderful lives they can be great at agility, obedience and they can even be therapy dogs. All we need to do is make sure we give them the right hand signals and that we keep them safe and secure both at home and when they’re out and about. Isn't that right Hercules… yeah (giggles to dog).
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