This week is deaf dog awareness week. Which I thought would be a great subject for an article; especially following on from the adopting an older dog article published last week.
The main difference in looking after a deaf dog and hearing dog is how you communicate. Moreover, once you get the hang of communicating, you will have a faithful companion for life.
Hand signals you can use to communicate with a deaf dog
Deaf dogs are reliant on hand signals and visual clues. A quick search on YouTube will bring up a number of tutorials using either British Sign Language (BSL) or American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate with deaf dogs.
The following video uses ASL and clearly shows a range of commands that are easy to learn.
When you are out and about with your dog
Every owner’s nightmare is to lose his or her pouch whilst on a walk. This is more of a concern when you have a deaf dog. It’s so easy for him to be distracted by a rabbit or maybe a squirrel that before you know it he has run out of sight and you can’t call him back. More frightening is the thought of a dog not hearing traffic…
Tips on getting your dog’s attention
No one likes being startled and that is especially true of dogs. If you have a deaf dog, it is important to get her used to a gentle touch. Use a soft touch to wake her gently or to get her attention so you can point out another dog or visitor.
Train her using positive reinforcement and treats will encourage her to look to you for guidance regularly. Furthermore, there are remote control vibrating collars that can alert the dog to the owner. Finally, now that the days get shorter, you can use a torch to attract your dog’s attention.
Microchips and ID Tags
Losing your dog is a traumatic experience for both the owner and the dog. Considering that deaf dogs are particularly vulnerable to traffic losing your dog is even more traumatic for all involved. It is vital that your dog has an up to date identification tag with your contact details. In the UK, you are also legally obliged to have your dog microchipped.
More advice on deaf dogs
If you have opened your home to a deaf dog and you need more advice on how best to look after his or her needs then the deaf dogs rock website provides a lot of useful information and advice.