You have just discovered that your dog is deaf, and you do not know how to envisage the future with him? Don’t worry, it is possible to live well with a deaf dog and even to educate him like a hearing dog! You just have to be patient and use the right methods.
If you have any doubts about your dog’s deafness, know that there are hearing tests to be carried out in veterinary centers equipped for this. For more information, do not hesitate to read our How do I know if my dog is deaf?
A gestural education
Your dog is deaf, but his other senses are normally well developed, even over-developed! Thus, the learning and education of your dog will have to go through another of his senses, and in particular sight.
The first thing to work with a deaf dog is to capture his attention, his gaze. It won’t be easy at first. Especially since you will naturally try to talk to him to challenge him! It’s okay, even if he can’t hear you, talking to him or giving commands out loud will also establish an intentional code of gestures that your dog will eventually understand.
At the start of training, don’t forget to reward your puppy or adult dog (with treats, cuddles and games) when he stares at you and is interested in you. This reinforces this behavior but also the bond that unites you! Your dog will then be more attentive afterwards and will be able to more easily detect your gestures and therefore your requests.
Then, when learning other orders, it is advisable to stick to simple gestures and always the same ones. For example :
- show him your hand vertically, palm facing him, to tell him to sit down
- move your hands up and down to make him lie down
- hold out your hand to ask for his paw
It’s up to you to find the signals you want to share with your dog!
Use the right tools
For learning certain commands, such as recall for example, it is possible to use a vibration collar. Rest assured, the vibration collar is painless: it does not send an electric shock but only small vibrations that the animal will be able to detect on its skin.
Of course, the collar is not everything, and after having accustomed your dog to wearing it, it is advisable to reward him as soon as a vibration makes him come back to you so that he can understand the order.
In the same way, it is possible to use light signals such as a flashlight or light clickers, in particular to attract your dog’s attention.
Learning and education can be a little more complicated for a deaf dog than for a hearing dog. If you are having difficulty, do not hesitate to seek the help of a dog trainer!
Redouble your vigilance
We must not forget that living without hearing can be dangerous for a dog… We must therefore realize that you are your dog’s ears, and never forget it!
You must always be careful when walking: your dog will not hear dangerous noises such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, the growls of other dogs, etc.
It is not a good idea to let him loose until his abseiling with a vibration collar is fully developed. In the meantime, long runs are possible and highly recommended.
Finally, also be vigilant for yourself and those around you: a deaf dog can quickly be frightened and can then have dangerous unwanted reactions. Avoid, for example, waking him up or surprising him by touching him, because he won’t hear you coming…