First you must establish if your dog is REALLY deaf...and it's not just selective hearing...to do this:
Take some stiff crinkly plastic packaging, such as a chip bag, and crinkle it. Determine how far away the dog must be to hear it and come running. A dog with good hearing may not hear your yells, but should be able to hear the chip bag from up to a quarter mile away.
Of course, that's a joke (with some truth to it) but it is important that if you have any doubts about your dog's hearing, have a BAER test done to establish if it really is selective hearing or true deafness. Dogs, unlike white Boxers or Dalmations, are not often deaf. Usually it is selective hearing at work. However, if you do determine your dog is deaf, the dog can live a full, productive life without hearing. Dogs depend much more on their noses than hearing to get by so with a little accommodation from you...a hearing impaired dog should be no more difficult to train than a dog with hearing.
Essentially you'll need to:
- Communicate with your dog in a way that works for you both.
- Do not feel sorry for him, and in doing so, allow him to get away with things. Dogs adapt to hearing and sight disabilities quite well and appreciate knowing the rules.
- Give warning that you are nearby.
- Approach so that vibration or sight will warn him so he doesn't startle.
- Be gentle and patient, he may not understand what you want the first time.
- Use praise, positive reinforcement and LOTS of touch and gestures.
- Like any dog, allow him to approach strangers first - don't let kids descend on him without a warm up period.
- Always use a leash and tethering can help him learn the rules and feel safe in his home.
- Massage is even more meaningful to a deaf dog - it can be just as soothing and comforting as the words "good boy".
- A fenced yard is essential for any dog, but especially a dog that can't hear dangers.
- A deaf dog needs just as much attention, love and training as a hearing dog.
The key to success is a positive attitude, unconditional love, understanding that your dog really wants to please you, and tons of praise and rewarding good behavior.
There are several breeds that are more prone to congenital deafness, yet, any dog can become deaf in old age or from recurring ear infections. Most cases with young dogs are associated with white-pigmented dogs. The following dogs are more likely to have deafness problems at birth:
|Akita||Dalmatian||Old English Sheepdog|
|American Bulldog||Dappled Dachshund||Papillon|
|American-Canadian Shepherd||Doberman Pinscher||Perro de Carea Leonés|
|American Eskimo||Dogo Argentino||Pit Bull Terrier|
|American Hairless Terrier||English Bulldog||Pointer/English Pointer|
|American Staffordshire Terrier||English Cocker Spaniel||Presa Canario|
|Anatolian Shepherd||English Setter||Puli|
|Australian Cattle Dog||Foxhound||Rhodesian Ridgeback|
|Australian Shepherd||Fox Terrier||Rat Terrier|
|Belgian Sheepdog/Groenendael||German Shepherd||Saint Bernard|
|Belgian Tervuren||German Shorthaired Pointer||Samoyed|
|Bichon Frise||Great Dane||Schnauzer|
|Border Collie||Great Pyrenees||Scottish Terrier|
|Boston Terrier||Havanese||Shetland Sheepdog|
|Boxer||Ibizan Hound||Shih Tzû|
|Brittney Spaniel||Icelandic Sheepdog||Shropshire Terrier|
|Bulldog||Italian Greyhound||Siberian Husky|
|Bull Terrier||Jack/Parson Russell Terrier||Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier|
|Canaan Dog||Japanese Chin||Springer Spaniel|
|Cardigan Welsh Corgi||Kuvasz||Sussex Spaniel|
|Catahoula Leopard Dog||Labrador Retriever||Tibetan Spaniel|
|Catalan Shepherd||Löwchen||Tibetan Terrier|
|Cavalier King Charles Spaniel||Maltese||Toy Fox Terrier|
|Chihuahua||Miniature Pinscher||Toy Poodle|
|Chinese Crested||Miniature Poodle||Walker American Foxhound|
|Chow Chow||mongrel||West Highland White Terrier|
|Cocker Spaniel||Newfoundland Landseer||Whippet|
|Collie||Norwegian Dunkerhound||Yorkshire Terrier|
|Coton de Tulear||Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever|
Deaf pets are just as intelligent as hearing pets and work hard to understand you. They also can get along well with other animals in the home-- a deaf dog does not need a hearing companion to function successfully. Deaf canines bark, meow, whinny, and make all the regular sounds hearing canines make. Teaching them sign language commands is a great way to train them! The only danger with a deaf canine is that it should never be allowed to roam freely outdoors unless it is in a securely fenced enclosure - but of course you should do that with ANY pet!