Can You Train Your Deaf Dog?
You have probably known for some time that your dog is deaf. Some dogs are born deaf, and some breeds are more prone to this problem. If your dog doesn’t react to noises at all, you can be pretty sure that he is deaf. However, this does not mean that you cannot train your dog to obey simple commands. With a few adjustments, you can follow a fairly standard training regimen to master sit, stay, come, lie down, and more.
When you are training a dog, whether he can hear or not, the first thing that you want to do is get the dog’s attention. You need to be able to do this reliably. With a normal dog, you can simply call the dog’s name and reward him when he looks at you and/or comes to you. With a deaf dog, you have to be more creative. You can try stomping on the floor and using the vibrations, but this is tiring and not very effective outside. Many people choose to use a flashlight or a vibrating collar. The vibrating collar is likely most effective because the dog does not have to be looking at you for you to get its attention.
Hand signals are the easiest way to get a deaf dog to do what you want it to do. Come up with hand signals for sit, stay, and lay down, and you want to be consistent. To teach your dog to sit, for example, get his attention, hold a treat in front of the dog’s nose, and raise the hand with the treat until the dog sits. Say sit and show the dog the hand signal you have chosen. Even though the dog can’t hear you, he can see your facial expressions and body language. Praise the dog by petting it, and you might want to incorporate a hand signal (many people use ASL or American Sign Language) for “good” or “good dog.”
Keep your training sessions short, and they will be more productive. To train a deaf dog, you do the same things that you would do to train a normal dog, except that you simply incorporate hand signals and an alternative method to get the dog’s attention.