This week is Deaf Dog Awareness Week. As dogs start getting older, signs of their age tend to begin to show. One thing that a lot of dogs will face in their lifetime is a loss of hearing. Most owners who have hearing dogs don’t fully realize that a good amount of their dogs will have hearing loss at some point in their lifetime. It’s best to prepare yourself and your dog in case anything were to happen to your dogs hearing.
Practice Hand Signals with your Pup
As your dog gets older it is best to start incorporating basic hand signals for common commands. Sit, down and come would be good commands to have hand signals for. As your dog begins to age, adding a hand signal in addition to the words would assure that if your dogs hearing did start to go, you would still have basic commands to use.
It can sometimes be difficult to realize your dogs hearing is going until it is almost gone, but remember to have patience with your pooch. You undoubtedly will have to teach your dog some new things in order to get their attention, for example since a recall is such a verbal command, a flashlight can be used during a recall with a deaf dog. Don’t lose your cool if you get frustrated easily; remember that your dog is going through a huge change as well.
Always Make your Presence Known
Your pooch will no longer be able to hear you when you enter the room, so it is important to make your presence known so you don’t startle them. A tap on their back or flicking on and off the light switch is a great way to let your dog know you have entered the room.
Reward your Dog with Food and Physical Affection
Since deaf dogs can’t hear you, it’s important to reward them with food and physical affection. When learning their new commands use food instead of verbal praise, this way your dog is actually being rewarded for what they are doing. As you continue through your training a nice belly rub or a rub behind the ears will do nicely for your pooch.
For dogs that live long lives, deafness can be inevitable for some of them. If you are prepared for it to happen, it can make the transition easier for you and your pooch. Be patient with your dog and remember that there are so many great resources out there if your dog is deaf, a trainer will be able to customize your training for your deaf dog. There are also many great internet sites and support groups, like DeafDogsRock.com, which is a great community of owners with deaf dogs, that provides great information about living with a deaf dog.