Living With A Deaf Dog

Tips for living with a deaf dog

 

If you have a hard-of-hearing dog in your home, you know how tough it can be to get his attention or wake him up from a nap.  Although deaf pooches are just as fun and enjoyable as dogs that can hear, there are safety precautions and extra care you should take day in and day out.  A few pointers will help you with the daily tasks of caring for a deaf dog.

Everything you learn about your dog, you must teach your entire family.  Since your dog is unable to respond to voice commands, every person should be using identical commands and training techniques.  For instance, the dog should always be woken up in the same manner, no matter who is doing the waking.  This will help the dog be more comfortable in the household.

Waking your dog:  You should never walk straight up to a napping dog and start petting or playing with him.  Since he will not be able to hear your approach, the sudden attention will startle or even scare him.  Come up with a way to wake your pooch and stick to the method.  Slightly laying your hand on his shoulder is one way to wake him.  Other ways include placing your hand in front of his nose (the smell of your hand will arouse him) or scratching the pillow or blanket that he is lying upon.  In the beginning, your dog will probably be startled, no matter how gentle you are.  So, give him a treat as soon as you wake him, so that he is not fearful of the situation.  Once he gets accustomed to the way you wake him up, replace the treat with a pat on the head or a tummy rub.

Approaching your dog:  Approaching your pooch should be handled similarly to waking him.  Don’t scare him from behind or make a big fuss out of his presence.  If you are unable to approach him from the front, keep some distance between you and stomp your feet.  Vibrations caused by stomping your feet on the floor will often get his attention.  If your dog is facing you but not looking at you, then wave your arms or use a flashlight to get his attention.  Treat this as a command, and reward him for his accomplishment!

Letting your dog know where you are going:  You probably don’t think twice about leaving one room of the house to spend time in another.  But, if you sneak away when your dog isn’t paying attention, then he may become anxious when he realizes you are not there.  Take this into consideration, and get your dog’s attention before you leave the room.  Make sure he is looking at you and sees you exit.  He may not follow or even care, but it will help him avoid a nervous situation.

Keeping track of your dog:  Anytime you are outdoors with your pooch, it is a good idea to keep him on a leash.  However, once the two of you are completely comfortable with training, then you may let him have some freedom.  It is recommended that you take extra steps in making your dog identifiable; if he wanders away from home, it may be very difficult to locate him.  Have a dog tag made that identifies his deafness along with direct contact information.  For safety reasons, putting a current phone number on the tag is preferred over putting an address.

If you have guests or children in your home, make sure they know how to wake and approach your dog.  If they do not know, then spend time demonstrating or do not allow them around the dog at all.  This is not intended to be a harsh solution, but it is a safe way to protect your pooch and your guests.

Living with a deaf dog is a great experience, but you must take extra precautions in everyday tasks.  Waking your dog and approaching your dog should be performed in such a way as to not startle him.  To reduce anxiety, you should let your dog know when you are leaving an area.  Teach all the different techniques to everyone in your household, and let guests know what they can and cannot do around your pooch.

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