Getting a new dog is one of the most exciting moments for a family, it can also be a real challenge. Deciding on the best, most suitable dog breed for your lifestyle along with where you’re going to get your new best friend can require some deep research and tough choices.
This week is deaf dog awareness week so we wanted to bring attention to these special dogs who are worth considering when you start thinking about finding a new dog.
Education and support on how to best raise and train your deaf dog can be hard to find, at the start of your journey as a loving deaf dog owner this will be the biggest hurdle. Thankfully there are many great organisations in the UK that can help guide you through the process like the Canine & Feline Behaviour Association who can connect you with suitable dog behaviourists.
The challenge of owning a deaf dog
Deaf dogs are quite often looked past and seen as too difficult to train and unable to live a ‘normal’ life. Thankfully this couldn’t be further from the truth as deaf dogs are missing only one of their five senses and are very capable at accommodating for this loss and able to have long, happy lives. The biggest consideration is your ability as an owner to commit to it’s early training and learning how to visually communicate with your dog. Once you’ve got that out of the way and have earned their full focus your pup will be able to learn all the behaviours that a hearing dog can.
You will however need to be extra careful and attentive throughout your dogs life as it will be your job to ensure they stay out of harms way, especially in public areas where recall will be harder.
Deaf dogs can also be more prone to separation anxiety and OCD behaviours so it’s important to be on the lookout for these signs and talk to your vet or a behaviourist on how to best calm and guide your dog in their individual situations.
There are also some additional bonus benefits of owning a deaf dog. Rescue dogs can be quite prone to noise phobias, heavy reaction based barking and postman-bullying — your home is going to be a little quieter than the average hearing dog owners home!
It’s all about the hand signals!
The key to an easier relationship with your deaf dog is to use clear and easily distinguishable hand signals in place of verbal communication. It’s common for owners to learn commands from UK or USA sign language standards but you can also even make up your own and have a bit of fun creating a language between your whole family. You’ll be impressed at how quickly your dog can associate the hand signal with a command. Get some great tips on creating hand signals for your deaf dog.