Canine Deafness
The Ultimate Guide To
Living With A Deaf Dog
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As with all things new, living with deaf pets takes some time to adjust to, more for us than for the dog itself. It is people that are the stumbling block, not our pets. However, it takes very little effort to become a good deaf dog trainer yourself! You may even want to look at another deaf puppy for sale!

The first difference for the new owner is to adjust to the idea that your pet cannot hear the steady stream of babble that we direct to him/her every day. I battled with the idea of what's the point of talking to my pet? For some time and adjusted my behaviour accordingly. I still talked to her, but much less that if she had been a hearing dog, and chose a more kinaesthetic approach by touching and stroking. I also learned how dog behave and how to approach them based on body language and this has paid immensely, both with my pet and with other dogs as well. As a result I was able to have a deeper bond with my Dalmatian whilst learning to really interact with other dogs in a way that was meaningful to them.

The second issue I found myself having to deal with is people's ignorance when confronted with something out of their frame of reference. At the dog park or in the street, when people that wanted to pet my dog were told that she was deaf, they would clap their hands close to her ears or make any other kind of silly noise. Then, finding no response from my pet, they would say: "Oh, she's really deaf, isn't she!" or, as deaf dogs do pick up vibrations in the air,  they would say:

" Look, she turned around when I clapped my hands, she must hear something! Are you sure she is really deaf?"

I found this behaviour most irritating because it confuses the dog  and it is extremely disrespectful to the owner. But I am sure that anyone, including people with any kind of disability have had to deal with people's foolishness and lack of tact. The solution to this problem is simple. Do not tell people in the street that your pet is deaf and dismiss their comments as to why your pet does not respond when addressed in a baby voice to "aloofness".  Be selective as to the people that you allow close to your pet. This is the best approach and it helps with every dog, even if  he or she could hear. This method works well and will save you and your dog much unnecessary stress as there is no end to people's stupidity.

Living with a deaf dog is really not that much different than living with a hearing dog, it is us humans that need to adjust to that at the beginning, not the pet. Here are some tips on deaf dog training.

One major adjustment that the responsible deaf dog owner needs to learn is to never let your dog off the leash, unless it is in a fenced in area.  Most hearing dogs  do not associate the equation "crossing the street +speeding car = death" and that is the same with deaf dogs, as the noise the car makes is irrelevant in both cases. The only difference with deaf dogs is that they will not turn around or come back to you if you call their name.  

One exercise that can be done in order to minimize the chances of your dog bolting off in case you suddenly let go of the leash is to desensitise him/her to the sensation of a loose and dragging leash. When walking your pet, let the leash loose and drag on the ground while still holding the handle. If your pet tries to bold off, it will feel a tug and a correction at the end of the leash and it will eventually lose the mental association of the feeling of a loose leash  with momentary freedom.  

Another trick to prevent bolting through a door is to train your  pet to sit down before you put the leash on. He or she will quickly learn that "sitting-leash-walk"  and will lose the desire to barge through the door to go out.

There are however some major advantages with living with a deaf dog. One of them is that you can play loud music, vacuum  or do any kind of noisy activity without upsetting the dog (this is true even in other noisy situations that some dogs may have a problem with, like fireworks and thunderstorms). Deaf dogs still bark, but much less than hearing dogs. A deaf dog will also be able to guard your home just as much as any other dog would because they detect the person coming by their smell, even if they are far away (my dog used to smell someone three flights of stairs down).

There is definitely a stronger bond between the deaf dog owner and his/her pet because the dog is more attentive to your body language. Just like with people, deaf dogs sharpen their other senses to make up for their lack of hearing.

Living With A Deaf Dog
By Priscilla Ross
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