How to Communicate with a Deaf Dog
Dogs are known for their excellent hearing, but they are also really good at understanding human body language. That is why even deaf dogs can understand complex hand commands and what their owners want. If you have a deaf dog, read on to learn more about how to communicate with a deaf dog.
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Can Deaf Dogs Understand Me?
All dogs rely on some kind of non-verbal communication, even hearing dogs. Just think about your dog’s behavior when interacting with you or other dogs. Dogs understand each other’s body language, such as when their ears are pinned back or they are crouched and cowering. Even if a hearing-impaired dog can’t hear your commands or growls and barks from other dogs, they can still understand their body language.
Communicating with a Deaf Dog
The best way to communicate with a deaf dog is through a system of hand signals. Dogs understand different hand signals, and you can train them to follow commands from your hands, just like you would train them to respond to verbal commands.
The simplest place to start is teaching your dog the hand commands for sit, stay, down, and stop. Studies show that dogs with hearing loss can learn around 20 separate commands. Even if you have a hearing dog, it can be useful to teach your deaf dog hand signal commands.
Training a deaf dog will certainly be harder than training a hearing dog, but it’s entirely possible. It just requires a lot of positive reinforcement and encouragement.
Below are some additional tips on how to get started teaching your dog hand signals.
Maintain Eye Contact
Deaf dogs need eye contact to see the hand signals, so training them to maintain eye contact is usually the first step. You can train your dog to look at you and reinforce that behavior by giving it treats and positive feedback whenever it makes eye contact.
Since dogs can’t hear, you won’t be able to call their name if they get away with you. That is why you need a system to train your dog to come back to you on a certain command. You can create hand signals for recall or even use a vibrating collar to “page” the dog if they are far enough away that they can’t make eye contact with you.
Use a Flashlight
Using a clicker is a popular method to get hearing dogs to associate a reward with a particular behavior. Deaf dogs can’t hear a clicker, but you can use a flashlight to get a similar effect. Over time, the dog will start associating the flashlight with the desired behavior.
Dog Training in New Jersey
Knowing how to read dog body language is the key to proper training and behavior. For more information on deafness in dogs and how to communicate with a deaf dog, contact The Dan Gentile Dog Training Center online or call today at (732) 938-5040 to schedule an appointment!