A Deaf Dog... Why?
Updated: Apr 7
Did you know that dogs can be born deaf? Tens of thousands of dogs are born or become deaf every year in the UK. Unfortunately a high percentage of these ending up in shelters because of their "disability." Such a shame... They are great companions, capable and kind.
I have been doing my research, and what an amazing world I have found! I have learnt a lot of new things I didn’t know about deaf dogs; do you want to learn it too? Keep reading...
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT DEAF DOGS:
Do you know which are the most common breed of dogs to be deaf? Australian shepherds, Boston terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Dalmatians, German shepherds, Boxers, Jack Russell terriers, Malteses, toy and miniature poodles, and West Highland white terriers.
Dogs that are completely lacking in pigment (white dogs, even with blue eyes) are likely to have some degree of hearing deficit. Pigment-producing cells, known as ‘melanocytes,’ are absent in these dogs and they will also be deficient in the specialised “hearing" cells which cause deafness. These “hearing” cells start from the same stem cells as pigment-producing cells.
Woof-woof!! Yes, deaf dogs can bark! They may not use barking as a standard form of communication like other dogs do, but they act through instinct.
Deaf Dogs can do it! They are trainable and obedient just like other dogs. Deaf dogs are reliant on visual cues and they can learn hand commands and tricks. They are just as smart, funny and charming as any other dog :)
Deaf Dogs are very easy to train. You can start with the most important hand signals which are "sit", "down", "wait", "come", "happy hands" and your dog's name. Always be aware of your facial expressions. They can not hear you, so it is important to accompany these signals with happy/sad facial expressions.
REWARD GOOD BEHAVIOURS: As with hearing dogs, make sure you reward your dog handsomely when training.
GENTLE TOUCH: To get your pup's attention you can introduce gentle touch and in the same place every time. Also you can touch your dog when another dog approaches from behind and point out the other dog.
A good way to wake a dog up every morning is placing a bowl of food in front of them.
ON LEASH: It’s important to keep your deaf pooch on a leash when you’re out and about. There are vibrating dog collars on the market for deaf dogs that send a signal to alert the dog to their owner (read blog post about Vibration Collars for Deaf Dogs).
ID TAG SAFETY: It’s important to have updated pet ID tags with your current phone number that identifies your dog as deaf. Personalized pet tags can provide crucial information about the animal. For hearing dogs, it is recommended that you do not put your dog’s name on any ID tags – maybe this is good advice for a deaf dog too?
HOW TO TRAIN A DEAF DOG:
KEEP IN MIND:
Deaf dogs perceive any sympathy/sadness you show it as a sign it has done something wrong. It will only have a problem with its condition if you do. When given the love, care and training it needs, there should be no limitations to what your deaf dog can do.
REMEMBER: The last week of September is Deaf Dog Awareness Week. The idea behind this week is to highlight deaf dogs and show that they can make wonderful pets!
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