Whether your dog’s hearing loss is the result of old age, disease, or birth defect, he still deserves a good life. As a result, you must provide him with instruction that he can readily grasp and react to in order to guarantee that he constantly feels happy, secure, and connected.
It’s possible that your pet’s deafness won’t be a problem at home, where he has a set schedule and is comfortable with his surroundings. However, he still needs to know basic instructions so that you can speak with him and exert control in an emergency. You need your pet’s undivided attention so you can lead him in the face of any number of potentially dangerous circumstances, such as traffic, wild animals, and even frightening weather, and make sure he exhibits acceptable behaviour in public settings.
Just as you would use rewards-based training to teach a hearing dog the five fundamental commands of Sit, Stay, Heel, Leave It, and Come, you would do the same with your deaf companion. All dogs would like a sweet reward to make the procedure more enjoyable and speed up the outcome you’re seeking.
First and foremost in teaching a deaf dog a command is capturing and holding its attention. Then you’ll give him the order in sign language.
Some of the most common methods for attracting the attention of a deaf dog are described here. Each time your pet turns his focus back to you, you should praise him and give him a treat. If he stops looking, give the signal again, and if he returns to it, give him another treat. Your dog will learn to associate the sound of the vibration collar, the clack of your feet, or the flash of the laser with the command to look at you (and the promise of a reward).
When within a building or other enclosed space:
You may get your dog’s attention without surprising him by gently touching his back or shoulder.
When you’re across the room from your dog, you may use a laser pointer, wave your arms, make a hand signal, or stamp your feet.
When at home or in a safe, enclosed setting:
A flashlight is a convenient tool for getting your pet’s attention in a hurry.
In addition to talking to your pet, a vibrating collar (not a shock collar) is a great tool for establishing a connection with him or her. Especially when you’re in a wide-open space like a dog park and your pet isn’t right under your nose the whole time.
You may keep your dog interested with less structure by rewarding him with treats whenever he looks in your direction. He’ll quickly discover the benefits of remaining in close proximity, maintaining constant awareness, and operating within visual range.
Heads UWhen outdoors and your pet is unleashed:
Pick the hand gesture that you and your dog understand best. The only requirement is that you always use the same gesture for the same instruction and that you maintain the gestures unique from one another so that nobody gets confused.
It’s best to avoid using tiny, distant motions while interacting with an elderly animal that’s losing its eyesight.
Make a decision on the command you want to teach him, and then attract his attention and focus it on you. Give him a treat once he completes the assignment. Raise the bar for getting goodies by increasing the time and space between commands. The frequent doling of sweets will be replaced with more infrequent ones. Even so, you may need to reduce the amount of food your pet is eating during training to compensate for the extra energy it will be using.
These are just a few examples of the kinds of visual cues that may be used to teach a deaf dog the five basic commands.
While seated, straighten your arm downward so that the palm of your hand faces your dog. This is a speedy, well-publicized action that your pet will notice immediately and recognise even from a distance.
It is common practise to indicate for your dog to stay by extending one arm, palm flat but at a little inclination. When teaching a dog, whether it has hearing or not, a flat hand directed toward them is an useful signal.
Come with open arms is an easy way to finish up a stroll in an off-leash location, lure your dog away from a busy place, or just invite him over for a cuddle and a reward.
Raise your arm and show that you’re leaving something behind by making a loose fist with your hand. Then spread your fingers as though you were about to drop it. Everything your pet has or is considering picking up is off-limits in your house.
In the same way that a hearing dog may be taught to heel, a deaf dog can learn to do so as well. Start your stroll with your dog on a leash and a reward in your hand, held slightly below your waist. Soon as he catches a whiff, he’ll want to remain in close proximity to the reward. After he walks a short distance by your side, reward him with a goodie. The number of required steps before the prize is granted should be increased on subsequent iterations of the procedure.
It wouldn’t hurt to provide your dog with more understandable hand signals to improve communication and bonding. You and your pet may develop a unique language, from “thumbs up” for good behaviour to “wagging finger” for bad.
Even if you have a deaf dog, you may still teach him the basic five commands by using hand signals. Those hand signals will be invaluable in keeping him safe and involved as he matures and experiences hearing loss.