Top Tips for Communicating with and Training a Deaf Dog

Pet Health

HIF Australia

Video Transcription

Lara: Dogs can go deaf for a variety of reasons. It could be chronic ear infection, injury, drug toxicity, sometimes like us; old age. Unfortunately, though many deaf dogs are put down as puppies because people think something is wrong with them, they’re going to have behavioural problems, or they are too hard to train. This simply isn’t true. In fact, they’re really good to train, and just to show us how amazing they are is Judy and Chance.

Lara: Hey Chance! Chance can’t hear me.

Lara: Sorry Judy, how did you come about finding Chance.

Judy: I was given a deaf dog by my vet many years ago, and he was just so good. He was very easy to train, and was just great. Yeah so when he eventually got cancer and had to be put down I got offered another dead dog. So, I took Chance.

Lara: Aww beautiful. So, it’s sign language really isn’t it that we use.

Judy: You’ve got to remember your hands are your only form of contact with your dog. So, you can’t waive your hands around. You’ve got to be definite with your hands.

Lara: Right, that might be hard for me.

Lara: And one of the key things I guess is getting their attention?

Judy: Yes, so I’ve always got a treat under the nose then up to my face, and you’ll see he’s always watch what I am doing.

Lara: And the thing is with a dog when you are in training is you really want them to be paying attention to you anyway. So, the key is getting their attention in.

Lara: When Chance was offering behaviour did you start marking that with a hand signal?

Judy: Yes, a lot of people say this is the correct hand signal, but I always say its not the correct hand signal. Whatever works for you, that’s the one you use.

Lara: Ok, yes as long as it is consistent every single time.

Judy: Yes, and as long as the family understand that that’s the signal that you use.

Lara: Yes, do you want to show us some?

Judy: Chance, can you dig a hole for me? Can you dig a hole?

Lara: Well, I am not sure we want to encourage that to many people.

Judy: Chance, do you want to sit? Chance over.

Lara: When you were in teaching phase, how long did it take for Chance to understand?

Judy: Very fast, very easy to train.

Lara: And is that because they don’t get distracted as much?

Judy: Yes, because any noises around them they don't get distracted by that.

Lara: Have you got any other tips for training?

Judy: Just keep training ten minutes at a time. Your dog gets very bored if you train for too long. Always train in different areas. So, if you train in a park one day you should train somewhere else another. If you take your dog for a walk, stop, and give them ten minutes of training.

Lara: What about getting their attention if say they are not close enough to get a treat? They are really good at obviously picking up our vibrations as well?

Judy: Well Chance usually keeps an eye on me wherever I go. He always watches where I am. So, I’m not going to go too far from him because he’s always going to watch me.

Lara: Right, and safety?

Judy: In a park, in a closed in park, he’s off lead, but otherwise I never have him off lead on the streets, roads or mainroad for his safety.

Lara: Yeah exactly, and another important thing as well is some people think deaf dogs are more aggressive, but it’s like any dog, there is that saying let sleeping dogs lie for a reason. You don’t just go wake up a dog thats sleeping, but in the case of a deaf dog it’s all the time that we need to be mindful of that. So, what are some of the best tips for that?

Judy: When he’s asleep i’ll put a treat in front of him, and I just gently give him a little pat and wake him up. Then he always wakes up and there's a treat in front of him so it’s always a happy thing.

Lara: I bet! And the thing is with than then it’s a good association so when he feels a touch he just thinks its a good thing. 

Judy: Yeah, it’s a good thing.

Lara: And, especially with puppies as well, it’s a great idea to do that when the puppy is sleeping, touch treat straight away. So, they’re used to it from day dot really aren't they?

Judy: Yeah

Lara: and kids?

Judy: Kids, I would just be very careful with children with any dog. Just teach your kids to respect the dog, and to be gentle with them.

Lara: Yeah, and get their attention first. Aww well done and thank you Judy. Thank you Chancy even though he can’t hear me I’m sure he knows.

Judy: That’s alright he understands.

Lara: To find out how HIF Pet Insurance can cover your dog for illness or injury, visit HIF Pet.


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