How to Properly Train a Deaf Dog
If you have a deaf dog, you might automatically think that she can’t be trained because she won’t be able to hear your commands. But, dogs experience the world first through their sense of smell, then through their sense of sight, and finally through their hearing. As a result, a deaf dog can very easily be trained – if you know how to do it.
Here are some tips and tricks that can help you to more easily train your deaf dog.
Getting Your Deaf Dog’s Attention
The first step to training a dog is getting her attention. Instead of calling her name, you will have to adopt an alternative means of getting her attention. One way you can do so is by stomping your foot on the ground. She will feel the vibrations and turn in the direction from which they came.
Another option is to use a flashlight. Work with your dog so she knows to look at you when you turn the flashlight on and off. When your dog turns to look at you, give her a treat. Keep training her this way, and she’ll learn to associate the flashlight with you wanting her attention.
You can also choose to use a vibrating collar, which is not a shock-collar. Instead, this is a collar that produces a slight vibration whenever you touch the button on the remote. You can train her by making the collar vibrate until she looks at you. When she looks at you, let go of the button and give her a treat.
Communicating With a Deaf Dog
Once you have your dog’s attention, you can start training her using non-verbal means of communication. This involves teaching your dog to understand hand signals. Some people even use sign language.
If you watch a dog trainer, most use hand signals to help train their canine students, and you can use those signals or you can use your own. The only rule is to be consistent with whatever signal system you want to use and to make sure you keep at it until your pet fully understands what you want from her and she complies.
Every time your dog follows your instructions, you should give her a treat to reinforce the positive action.
Getting Your Dog Comfortable With Touch
A dog that can’t hear will often be startled when someone touches her from behind, and this can sometimes cause her to inadvertently snap at or bite the person’s hand. As a result, it is very important to train your deaf dog to be comfortable with touch.
You can do this by gently touching your dog on her shoulder or back. Every time she stays calm, give her a treat. Do this often throughout the day to help build up her resistance to surprise, and to expect good things whenever someone touches her from behind.
Keep a Deaf Dog on Her Leash
It’s always good practice to keep a deaf dog on a leash whenever she’s in an unfenced area. Even the best-trained dog can get distracted, and should she venture too far away from you, you won’t be able to get her attention. If that happens, she could find herself in a dangerous situation.
Author: Giano Panzarella