Dogs can be born deaf or become deaf for many reasons; infections, tumors, genetic defection, or just simply because they become old and their eardrums become less flexible (just like humans).
To know whether your dog is deaf or not, you can use a simple test that is effective for puppies or adult dogs who show a change in behavior (change inattentiveness, unresponsive to their name, excessive barking). To test your dog, make sure to hide in a place where your dog cannot see you. Use a squeaking toy or rattle your keys, if the dog responds to the sound, his hearing is totally fine and if not you should consult a veterinarian to know whether it is temporary (due to buildup of wax in the ear canal) or permanent.
Speaking dog is a little hard, but speaking deaf dog language is even harder. Thus, one should learn to communicate properly with their little precious creature. Studies have shown that dogs are very reactive to our emotions and that they have the ability to analyze our voice tone, but living with a deaf dog is very different, as they do not react the same way as a hearing dog. That is why if you live with one, you should definitely learn nonverbal communication.
Training a deaf dog means adapting your way of interacting with your dog in order to accomplish its needs. At Laeka we have some pieces of advice that would help you train your dog.
1) Getting your dog’s attention :
● Waving your hand in front of your dog or touching them gently are very efficient ways to get your dog’s attention.
● Avoid using lasers or any kind of lights, as it can lead to serious problems such as OCD behavior.
2) Sign language:
● Your dog can pick up more than one or two signs, so don’t hesitate to teach them as much as you can.
● In order to train them to understand that a sign means that they did something good, you need to use positive reward-based training. It’s simple; every time your dog does something good or obeys you, give them a treat!
3) Walking your deaf dog:
● Always keep your dog on a leash in areas that are not fenced to avoid accidents as they cannot hear cars honking which can lead to a serious disaster.
● In parks or at playtime, use a long leash or Flexi leash to give them more freedom.