Five things that might surprise you about your deaf dog.
Spoiler alert: no dogs naturally speak our language, they learn it from us. Your deaf dog is no different. Life with a deaf dog might feel scary but it really needn't be.
Whether the pup you want to adopt is deaf, your dog has lost their hearing or your older friend is becoming deaf, read on...
Deaf dogs can do everything a hearing dog can do; they just can't hear
Yes, really! They can learn basic manners, exciting tricks, walking nicely on a lead, return to us when called, be champions in sporting events, anything! The only difference is that they won't be able to physically hear what you say but will learn to read your hand signals and body language to communicate instead. Like all dogs, they can also learn how to empty the rubbish bin, chew on your favourite shoe or redesign the garden, so start your training straight away!
Deaf dogs are easy to train
Training a deaf dog is not much different to training any other dog; you simply need to rely less on a spoken word and more on a particular movement of any part of your body. I personally think deaf dogs are more fun to train than other dogs and their focus on you will be amazing! Instead of 'Good Boy!' you might want to use a thumbs up sign or, if you're the athletic type, a star jump. It really doesn't matter what movement you use, as long as you are consistent with it, it doesn't hurt or scare them and your dog understands what they mean. Sign language isn't a universal language even in the human world and here's the exciting bit, you can make your language up! Your deaf dog bowing when you lift your cap will impress all of your friends! You will learn that you are an incredible trainer and that your deaf dog really can learn as quickly and easily as any other.
You can still communicate with him, even if he's not looking at you
You might need to be in his field of vision when first training a new trick, for the most part, but all dogs can detect movement and signals with their peripheral vision too and your deaf dog's sight will be sharp. They can also be trained to respond to vibrations, light flickers or even the gentlest change of direction of the lead for all kinds of communication and tricks. Talk out loud to your deaf dog. Even if he can't hear you, talking alters your facial expression and creates a connection between you.
He can love life just as much as any hearing dog
Whether your deaf dog was born deaf or has since lost his hearing, he can still live a very happy and fulfilling life with you. A dog who has been deaf from birth does not know the world any differently and dogs that have lost, or are losing their hearing are incredible at adjusting. There's no reason why deafness should lead to unhappiness, exactly the same as in humans!
They are deaf, not selective at hearing
They really can't hear; they haven't chosen not to listen to you. All you need to do is think about how you are trying to communicate with your deaf dog, make some slight adjustments and you'll have a dog that will win hands down for their focus on you!
Go out, have fun with your deaf dog and star jump to happiness!