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Do deaf dogs bark? Do they easily get started? Are they difficult to train? These are the most common myths about canine deafness. I hope that knowing what is true from what it is not will assist you and your dog in having a happier, healthier and long lasting life together. Becoming a good deaf dog trainer takes little effort, it is just a matter of knowing the right deaf dog signs. Training a deaf puppy is actually a fun and rewarding process.
I am so pleased that you have come to this page on my web site because it means that you are a responsible dog owner who truly cares about yours or someone else's dog. I am sorry to say that many perfectly healthy dogs are put to sleep totally unnecessarily every year because so many people seem to believe what amounts to nothing more than myths about canine deafness.
Here you will find all the information you need to know to help him or her to live a full, happy and healthy life just like mine did. It's actually remarkably simple. I say this because deaf dog training (or deaf puppy training for that matter) requires no more time or effort that doing so for a hearing dog.
This is one of the myths that has caused more damage to deaf dogs than any other because it seems to make sense. However any experienced deaf dog owner will know this to be completely untrue. Dogs that become deaf over time adapt to their new conditions and those that are born deaf do not know any differently. They simply do not realize that they cannot hear.
Actually, all puppies are born deaf and stay so for the first few weeks of their lives so deafness is not alien to them at all. In addition, any animal, including humans can be startled by any movement that they were not expecting, did not hear or were not aware of in their peripheral vision. This is a natural based survival instinct in all creatures and deaf dogs are no different. Whilst there may be an increased opportunity for this due to their deafness, there are simple ways to overcome these rare occurrences.
The obvious solution is to train your deaf dog or puppy and help them not to getting startled. I call this the "sneak up" technique. It is based upon the principle of allowing your dog to get used to people approaching from behind so that they get used to is. It is common sense really, but one thins that I have learned about so many irresponsible dog owners is that it may make sense but it would appear that it is not very common, so it pays not to take anything for granted.
To use the 'sneak up' technique simply walk up to your dog from behind when he or she is not looking and touching them. Immediately give them a treat as they turn around. By doing this your pet will associate a pleasant sensation (food) with being touched unexpectedly and therefore will learn to respond positively and not be anxious about it.
Note that this technique would not be possible if the deaf dog really bit every time it was startled, the most common reaction to that for a deaf dog is to yelp in fear). A deaf dog can also be desensitized by gentle touch while sleeping. Let your pet smell your hand by putting it in front of his or her nose, then gently graze his/her fur on the shoulder or back with two fingers, then gently stroke him/her with the whole hand. Your pet will wake up sometime during this exercise and at that point a treat is given so that waking up becomes a positive experience. The secret to training a deaf dog is to condition it to react positively to unexpected events and that is EASY when knowing the right techniques.
Deaf dogs are incredibly challenging to train because they cannot hear the commands.
This is so untrue. Dogs are tuned into the body language of the person before them, they respond to signals and voice commands are used as only an extra aid, they are not a requirement. Remember, dogs don't know what words mean. Humans talk…dogs do not! And deaf dogs are even more tuned into the body language of their owner. Deaf dogs in fact are extremely attentive and, from my experience, even more than hearing dogs (they are used to picking up our movements with their peripheral vision and make eye contact on a regular basis).
Dogs use their body to communicate their emotions; i.e., fear, cowering, happiness, aggression and they read our bodies for exactly the same reason. Dogs do not understand the stream of prattle that we direct at them in a doggie voice every day when we are playing or cuddling with them, because read our body language. Some dogs, like Dalmatians, have even learned to smile!
As most dog training is for hearing dogs, the deaf dog owner needs to learn the right techniques. There are simple methods that are used to train a visually oriented dog and these have to be learned by the owner in order to succeed with minimal effort, otherwise he or she will fail.
This is an urban myth. It never happened to my dog nor to any other deaf dog that I have dealt with since then. It is ridiculous to think that your loving family pet is a time bomb and that there is a chance that it may suddenly become like Dr Jekhill and Mr. Hyde as he or she gets older and start biting. Dogs become more chilled as they age, not the reverse. Research shows that deaf dogs are not brain damaged. (research done by Dr Strain of Louisiana State University published by the British Veterinary Journal)
And lastly, do deaf dogs bark? Of course they do, deaf dogs do not have an elaborate system of communication like we do that needs to be learned through hearing. They act through instinct and if they feel like barking, they will.