Once again, happy Deaf Pet Awareness Week. Many people avoid adopting deaf pets because they think that it would be impossible to communicate with them. Unbelievable! It only takes patience and a little bit of determination to train your deaf pet.
One of the most important things will be figuring out a hand signal that means ‘yes’ or ‘good’. You will be using this a lot, since I’m sure your pet is a “good boy!” or “good girl!” Make up hand signals for all other commands you use, or use some words from the American Sigh Language. Be consistent with the way you, your family, and anyone else training the animal signs.
If you want more information on sign language training, there are plenty of resources out there made just for you. If your pet is going deaf, make sure to start associating hand motions with voice commands so they can get a hang of it quickly. And, of course, your pet needs plenty of treats while they’re being trained, so make sure to buy them the good stuff.
Technology is amazing. Vibrating collars are now available for your hard of hearing pup. These collars allow you to train your pup with ease. However, these collars have to be tight in order for the dog to feel the vibrations, which can be traumatizing for some.
There is another solution that requires no additional training – using a lead. Most owners typically do that, but owners of deaf pets need to remember not to let their dog off leash. I suggest investing in a longer leash so that your pup can explore without being restricted.
The biggest thing to remember is that your pet cannot hear you. It’s pretty silly, since you know that and are not likely to forget it, but don’t get frustrated when your pet ignores you. You also need to make sure you approach your pet from where they can see you. If you don’t, they might get afraid and rebel. And I know none of us wants that to happen.
Is your dog slowly losing their hearing? Don’t worry – they adjust pretty well. For many dogs, it’s just a part of life. And for some dogs, like my nine year old Golden Retriever, they simply don’t listen to you as they grow older. So, either way, realize that your dog is going to be less responsive and, most likely, sassier as they age.
Any dog can be born deaf or become deaf (although it is most likely, statistically, for Dalmatians to be born deaf). These dogs are just as silly, caring, and deserving as love as all others. The only difference is that they aren’t afraid of the vacuum cleaner.