Receiving the news that your spry, young pup is deaf can be a shock. The news is often more devastating for the owner than it is for the dog who doesn’t know any different. Deafness can also occur later in life as your dog ages or as the result of an infection, or perhaps you are considering welcoming a deaf dog into your home. Whatever the scenario, there’s no need to be discouraged when raising a deaf dog. There’s plenty you can do to make sure they’re not missing out!
Let Your Hands Do the Talking
Contrary to popular belief, deaf dogs can be trained. Instead of verbal commands, try instructing your dog using hand gestures and be mindful of your body language. To eliminate confusion, be consistent with the hand signals you assign to certain commands and don’t forget to reward them with a treat and a pat on the back for a job well done. If Fido gets really good at reading your hand signals, you may consider getting involved with agility training. Not only will your dog enjoy a full workout, but they’ll also have a blast doing it!
You are your dog’s greatest companion. Due to their hearing loss, your pooch will need to rely on his other senses like sight and smell. You may find that your dog is very attached to you and is often right by your side in order to see you better. For dogs with some hearing ability, you may catch them leaning in close to hear what you have to say. A comforting cuddle is always a good idea.
Delight the Senses
During playtime, you can stimulate your dog’s other senses with a variety of different toys. Next time you stroll through the dog toy aisle, look for toys that have an interesting texture or spots where you can hide treats. A fully stocked toy basket will keep your pooch entertained and their brain stimulated.
Breakfast in Bed
Deaf dogs are more likely to get startled, especially if you try to wake them by touching them. Instead, try using the smell of a treat to train your dog to get familiar with the sensation of being woken up. That way your dog associates something pleasant with the experience of waking up and less likely to snap out of surprise. Plus, what dog wouldn’t want to wake up to the smell of bacon?
Walk Around the Neighbourhood
Walking strengthens the bond that you and your dog share. And it’s no different for deaf dogs! They’ll be ready to take on the town with some safety precautions put in place. Using a leash is a must, but you’ll also want to make sure that your dog has been microchipped and/or has an updated identification tag with your contact information. You may also consider adding a tag that says “Deaf.” The more information you can provide in case of an emergency the better!
Deaf dogs are just as capable as hearing dogs. They may require a little extra attention, but they will show your family the same love as any other dog. You won’t regret the close bond you’ll share!