When your dog reaches a certain age, it is normal for some of his senses to start showing signs of wear and tear . In the case of dogs, it must be borne in mind that they can continue their life normally even if they require a little additional attention from you, the owner. In this article we will give you all the necessary information and useful tips to be able to take care of a deaf dog .
Caring for a deaf dog: what to know
Deafness is a fairly common condition in dogs. From the age of 10, it can affect one in five dogs . It can be total or partial, and in many cases it progresses in a progressive and unstoppable way.
The good news is that your pets will be able to live normally , thanks to the use of other highly developed senses, such as smell and sight. Therefore, don’t worry too much when your vet confirms that your dog suffers from some hearing disorder . To take care of a deaf dog, the first thing you need to do is leave prejudices aside .
Don’t be afraid: even if you don’t hear, your best friend can still keep you company and be happy . It will be a challenge at first, but over time you will learn to move forward together and recover normal life. With a little more patience, but with the same love as always.
Necessary care for a deaf dog
The fact that your pet has lost their hearing does not mean that they will not be able to perform the activities they are used to. Don’t be sorry, don’t get depressed: instead help him to remain active and independent, training the senses he can still rely on, such as sight and smell .
1. Use a leash or harness
Perhaps in the first few days the animal will feel a little disoriented because it cannot hear what is happening around it. Therefore, we advise you to always take him on a leash so that he is always at your side and you can control any unexpected reactions. The most dangerous situations in these cases could occur if you try to cross the street or walk along a busy road. Keep it with you at all times, sure to follow your master. Remember that if he runs away, he will not be able to hear your call .
2. Apply an identification plate to it
To the classic tag, usually attached to the collar, you can add a tag specifying that the dog is deaf . In case it gets lost, people who find it will know that it is a ‘special’ animal. Getting him to wear a colored harness can also help.
3. Have him wear a rattle
Dogs that can’t hear often don’t know or can’t bark (depending on whether the animal was born with this condition or went deaf afterwards). Some owners put a small bell on the collar so that if it moves away, you too can hear or recognize it.
4. Train the other senses
When caring for a deaf dog, it is obvious that it will not be possible to call him by his name and, in order to bring him closer, he must see or smell you . The good news is that dogs are very good at remembering familiar aromas. For example, at lunchtime it will be enough to insert the baby food in its bowl and wait a few moments. After a few seconds your friend will appear, attracted by the smell of wet food or perfume if it has been heated.
If you want your dog to pay attention to you, you need to get close to him so he can recognize your distinctive scent . You will also be able to teach him sign language which is simple and can be understood quickly. Many of these signs are safe and can be used every day.
5. Always approach him from the front
Never approach a deaf dog (whether it is yours or not) from behind , as it may become frightened and attack you . Approach slowly so that he sees you well. If he is sleeping and you want to wake him, avoid sudden or abrupt movements . Better to pat it gently and put your hand near your nose so it can identify your scent.
6. Play within its conditions
Nothing prevents a deaf dog from having fun as before. For example, ball or branch throwing games can continue . It is just a matter of choosing sports and activities in which the animal must see you and recognize certain familiar signs. When you want to reward him, look him in the eye and give him a caress. He will perfectly understand that you are proud of him.
How to Train a deaf dog
If your dog is deaf, his training takes more effort, but it’s worth it.
Perhaps this is a problem that you have never asked yourself until you have learned that you have a deaf dog or when you have adopted a dog with this handicap.
It is clear that while educating a dog with a good hearing system can be a difficult task, educating a deaf dog is even more complicated, but certainly not impossible.
Even if your dog is deaf, you can train him
It is clear that the fact that a dog is deaf is a difficulty in every sense at the time of living together and especially when it comes to training.
We must think that there will be a number of unexpected difficulties that you will encounter and that will make you appreciate your hearing much more.
If your dog is deaf, don’t worry: with calm, patience and some good advice you can train him .
In reality the methods are the same, among all repetition and positive reinforcement , only that while in a hearing dog the repetition will take place through words, in a deaf dog it will have to be done with signs.
Choose a signal
The first thing you will need to do if your dog is deaf and you want to train him is to choose a signal with which you will indicate when he has done something right or how you wanted .
This signal could be by hand or with a flashlight (never a laser light). Remember that the gesture of your hand or the play of lights with the torch must always be the same so as not to confuse the animal.
Show him the signal
Now comes an important step: teaching the dog what signal it will see when it has done something right. You should try to teach him something simple and easily recognizable , such as taking something in your hand and lifting a finger, for example your thumb.
Give the signal and make sure your dog sees it every time he obeys. This way you can create a connection between both gestures .
It is best to reward him every time he obeys your orders.
Get his attention when he’s not looking at you
It is possible that your dog is distracted, and since he cannot hear you, you will need to find a way to get his attention so that you can continue with the training.
You can touch him close to the eyes, to let him know that what you want is for him to look at you.
You could also use a candy or some of his favorite food to get his attention . Best not to reward him until he complies with an order.
Plan what you want to teach him
Once you recognize the signals, before you train him seriously, plan what you want to teach him .
For example, sitting down, picking up or leaving something or coming to you when you call him. Once the dog has memorized these orders, you can begin the actual training.
Choose a negative sign
In the same way that you will have to show the dog when it is doing something right, you will have to teach it to understand when it is doing something wrong.
Therefore, you will need a signal to let him know that he has not done what you expected of him . For example, if you have decided that thumbs up means good, thumbs down means bad.
Signal and award
The best way for the animal to learn and relate obedience to something good is not to let much time pass between the positive signal and the reward.
As soon as you see that your pet has done what you ordered, reward him automatically, so you can teach him that if he does the same thing next time he will have a reward again.
The cuddles , caresses and sweet words are also positive rewards that your dog will appreciate .
If your dog is deaf, he can still be trained, although you may need an extra dose of patience and perseverance. If you follow these tips, it will be much easier. You just have to try!