Dogs travel hundreds of miles during their lifetime responding to such commands as “come” and “fetch.” – Stephen Baker
Training your pet dog is a “one of a kind” experience; in fact, it is one of the most joyful experiences that you can have with your four-legged friend. Though training a dog can be done easily, it might be challenging to train dogs with sensory disabilities such as a deaf dog.
However, it is still possible to train dogs that are unable to hear commands. Being deaf does not mean they are not trainable, as dogs of all breeds are clever and equally adaptable to change. If you have a dog at home who is a part of your family but is deaf, read this article to learn a few tips that will guarantee to help you train your four-legged friend.
Learn How To Get Your Dog’s Attention
Getting attention from a deaf dog is the first thing you will have to learn before you can ask your dog to do anything. Grabbing their attention is a must, as only by grabbing your dog’s attention will you be able to instruct them. Here, you simply cannot call out their names and expect them to run to you, so how do you get their attention?
Here is what you need to do. Follow these tips to get the your beloved pup’s attention:
- Stomp Your Foot – Stomp your foot on the floor to get a deaf dog to look at you. This is definitely a unique way to grab your dog’s attention. But we recommend you to try this unusual method because at times the vibrations coming through the floor are enough to turn your dog’s attention in your direction.
- Use A Flashlight – Make use of a flashlight. Many other owners of deaf dogs do so to give away a signal to them. Try training your dog by turning the flashlight on and off and make them look at you. Keep doing this constantly till the time your dog turns to see where the light is coming from. Then the oldest trick in the book – the minute the dog finds the source of flash light, give him/her a treat. Giving treats is the simplest way to let them know they did what you wanted. This is probably one of the quickest methods to gain attention from your dog. Your dog will quickly learn that flashing the light is your way of calling them to attention. In a matter of a few days, the dog will learn that a flash of light means that he/she needs to look at his owner.
- Vibrating Electronic Collar – Make use of a vibrating electronic collar. They are different then the regular electronic ones that gives minor harmless shocks to aid in training. Vibrating electronic collars are an excellent tool for reinforcing many verbal commands as these simply vibrate when you press a button on the remote.
Train your dog to look at you by making the collar vibrate on the click of a button. We advise that you continue this for some period to get your dog to familiarize with the concept. Continue doing so until your dog looks at you and the minute he/she turns their attention to you stop the vibration and give a treat. The major benefit of this is that it can be used in almost every situation.
Learn Hand Signals
It is known that deaf people speak using sign language. Similarly, dogs can be trained for basic obedience commands by the use of human hand signals. There are certain standard signals you can use to train your dogs. These signals are used by many dog trainers, so you can learn a trick or two from them. But also feel free to create your own hand signals. Of course, you will start once you have managed to grab your dog’s attention. And then you can give a hand signal rather than a spoken command.
Use Sign Language
People communicate with their dogs using basic commands. For instance, dog owners use words such as walk, car, treat, toy, good, and many others. So the question is how you would help your dog understand these commands? Well the answer is simple – the repeated connection between the words and the actions will help your dog to learn them.
Use the same concept when dealing with a deaf dog, but rather than using spoken words, you can use sign language. A few simple words in American Sign Language can prove to be of massive help for many owners of deaf dogs. They use these signs to indicate everyday tasks and you can also create your own signs for different words.
The Trick Is Treat
For many dogs, praising and caressing them for their behaviour is a reward for them but it doesn’t work with deaf dogs. To praise your deaf dog, you have to keep small treats in your hand and give it to your canine friend every time he/she does something rewarding. For example, if your dog obeys you when you give the ‘sit’ command, he/she deserves a treat. Once your deaf dog starts understanding your commands, you can reduce the amount of treats. But, make sure you’re cutting on his diet in the early days of training when you’re giving them more treats.
Keep Your Canine On Leash
It is often seen that many people love to take their dogs on off-leash walks. It’s a good thing to take your dog on off-leash walks in fenced areas. But, when it comes to deaf dogs, it’s probably not a good idea to take them for off-leash walks in unfenced areas. Even a well-trained dog can lose focus at off-leash walks, and your command will be useless to recall a deaf dog. So, for the safety of your deaf dog, keep him/her on leash.
Make Your Dog Feel Comfortable When Touched
In the first few days of training, it is possible that your canine friend will feel uncomfortable when touched. You will have to work slowly on it to keep him/her calm and relaxed when someone touches them from behind. At first, deaf dogs find it upsetting, especially when they are sleeping and are being touched. Sometimes, it can even make your dog feel anxious and make them to snarl or snap out of fear.
Start practicing by gently touching your dog’s shoulder or back and whenever you touch them, give some treats as well. It will make your dog feel that you care for them and don’t want to hurt him/her. Continue this process for several days and soon your dog will not be afraid when someone touches him. It is also important to keep their body hair groomed with dog clippers so that your dog feels loved and cared.
Put all these tips into practice and sooner your differently-abled dog will be a more active, receptive, and happier four-legged friend.