A dog may be born deaf or lose its hearing due to old age. Fortunately, you can teach a deaf dog to respond to hand signals the same way a hearing dog responds to spoken commands. As with any dog training, persistence and patience go a long way toward a well-behaved and happy pet.
1. Practice desensitization. A deaf dog can't hear you approach, so when he feels an unexpected touch, he may become startled. It's important to desensitize a deaf dog to being surprised. Tap the dog on his shoulder, bang on the floor and touch to wake him up from sleep. When he wakes up or looks at you, reward him with a favorite treat. He'll quickly learn to associate being startled with a positive reward.
2. Use hand signals. Owners of deaf dogs often use signals from American Sign Language with their dogs. You can also make up your hand signals as long as you stay consistent in their use. One of the first signals to teach your dog or puppy is the sign for "good dog!" A thumbs up is commonly used to tell a dog he's doing well. A signal for "no" can be a single wagging finger or a closed fist held in front of the dog's face. When a deaf dog learns these signs, their anxiety levels go down since they experience less uncertainty about your intentions.
3. Try a vibrating collar. A vibrating collar works like a pager that alerts your dog and tells him to look at you. For example, if he's at the far end of the yard and you want him to come back into the house, activate the collar with a remote control. When the dog feels the vibration, he'll look at you to see your signal. Of course, you first have to train the dog to look at you when the collar vibrates. A vibrating collar also gives peace of mind that if the dog gets loose, you'll have a way to get his attention. Some vibrating collars play a tone, which is useful when a dog owner wants to find their pet.
4. Supervise socialization. It's as important for a deaf dog to socialize with other dogs as it is for hearing dogs, but it requires some extra supervision. Your dog can't hear social cues such as the pained whimper that tells puppies when they're biting too hard. The solution is to watch the play and stop it right away when the puppy bites too hard. Eventually, the pup will learn to adjust his jaw pressure so he can keep on playing. Your dog will also benefit from a signal you give that lets him know if another dog is approaching from behind. A gentle tap and a pointing gesture can give him a head's up. Contact a business, such as The Pet Spot Pet Resort, for more information.
Have you recently started a job that requires you to travel a lot? Do you have a canine companion that misses you while you are gone? Sure, you can have someone you trust stop in your home a few times each day to feed, water and walk your dog, but is that really enough attention for your buddy while you are gone? Maybe it is time for you to look into a doggy daycare and boarding facility for your dog. Learn how this type of facility improved the relationship that I have with my dog and how he has benefited from such a service.