View Full Version : deaf dogs?

17th July 2008, 09:53 PM
I was interested in doing a class with Misha, but was informed by the local school that deaf dogs do not do well in group settings :-( They suggested a private trainer, but we already know the basics, and I was hoping to get into something "fun." Any suggestions?

17th July 2008, 10:06 PM
I can only speak from personal experience but I have taken Molly who is deaf to an agility class and she got on great.

18th July 2008, 12:56 AM
Well they are wrong! I have a deaf dog too and she is fine in group settings. :) They can get startled by dogs rushing over to see them, but that is about it. Dog Training Ireland has no issues with a deaf dog doing any of their training classes.

Is there another place to go for training? Basically all you need to be doing is teaching a hand signal as well as saying the command. Most dogs respond *better* to hand signs as they are clearer to the dog. I have some links in the LIbrary for deaf dogs -- this has basic hand signals but you can also come up with your own.

18th July 2008, 02:54 AM
He knows the basic hand signals - sit, stay, come, down, heel, stand (as well as speak, roll over, find it, jump etc). I was pretty surprised they said this. It's the main dog training school in my area, I don't know if there are others but I will certainly look! There's a Cavalier Club around too, so maybe I will ask them if they know of any good classes...

18th July 2008, 10:33 AM
My little Nifa is deaf and she's the most obedient of my dogs , she has to concentrate really hard to figure out what you want her to do so she pays attention . Hand signals and body language work really well , sometimes I think she can read my mind . She was in the Irelands next top dog model competition at the pet expo in Mallow a couple of weeks ago and loved all the activity , as Karlin said its only when another dog or person approaches from behind that she gets a fright otherwise she's a fun loving bubbly character willing to please .

cavi lover
18th July 2008, 11:45 AM
We have a deaf springer at our agility club.She is a star and always does really well as she does not get distracted

Bruce H
18th July 2008, 12:01 PM
I will add my voice to the choir. They are absolutely wrong! I have a dog that is deaf and she has absolutely no problems at all in any setting we have had her in.

18th July 2008, 03:17 PM
Casey is deaf and she has never had a problem in any classes. She is so obedient and is the only one of my dogs who pays attention to me 100% of the time because she now relies on sight.

I did read somewhere that deaf dogs could not be included in the Canine Good Citizen awards, though, which I was disappointed about b/c I think she would be awesome!

21st July 2008, 08:44 PM
I'm shocked to hear there are so many deaf Cavaliers.

I'm interested to know how yours became deaf. Casey's was progressive. When it started, we thought she was ignoring us until we realized she was losing her hearing. The vet did some tests and couldn't come up with a reason....what happened with all of yours?

21st July 2008, 09:51 PM
It is pretty well documented in the breed -- it is considered one of the congenital problems. It probably also is related to PSOM In many cases.


The neurologist Geoff Skerritt in the UK told me that almost all the cavaliers he MRIs have some PSOM and he has MRId nearly 700 of them. Both my boys have it showing in their MRIs.

22nd July 2008, 03:29 PM
When dealing with deaf dogs you must choose the right environment for them. The class must be well structured with good trainer to dog ratio. Plenty of control and instruction with supervision. Your dog should be in a position where she can see all of the other dogs and you need to manage the interactions.

We have had deaf and blind dogs in our classes. They have both done considerably well.

I will be uploading the photos of Saturdays cavalier class and you can see Lucy working with Sarah (aged 11) with no problem what so ever and we had a huge class of 17 doggies!

Granted some trainers worry about taking a deaf dog into the class because it means more one to one and can take away from the other participants but this should not be a problem if there is a good trainer:dog ratio. Plus some trainers are not aware of how to train a deaf dog and mostly the owner of the deaf dog.

Here is a good book

If you purchase it as normal I will ship it to you. Sounds like you are doing really well already. If you were here you could come to us but I suggest you check out a trainer and classes on the CCPDT site www.ccpdt.com

22nd July 2008, 03:32 PM
Here you go. All the CCPDT Trainers in Ohio. The DTI trainers are studying for their CCPDT exam in September.


22nd July 2008, 04:53 PM
My little Lucy is also deaf, she is so good! I dont know when she went deaf Bruce, I only got her a little over a year ago, I think it was neglect to be honest. She is amazing though, she never takes her eyes off me, she is such a little dote :lotsaluv:

22nd July 2008, 05:51 PM
We have a whole deaf cavalier club here! :lotsaluv:

To be honest outside of needing to watch her so she is never offlead and never can get out the front door (which is easy as I have a hall door) having a deaf cavalier is little different from the other dogs. She knows her handsigns and starts to wag when she gets a thumbs up (meaning 'good girl') and always comes to the 'come' sign. Sarah had a lot of fun with her and wanted to know when I'd bring her again. :lol:

BTW it used to be that you always learned a handsign and a command together -- that's how my parents learned to train our pyrenees when I was a kid. So we kids always gave her a handsign as well as a command. But this doesn't really seem to be done anymore. It is very handy though (no pun intended!). My other cavaliers have all learned the same handsigns from context now.

22nd July 2008, 06:45 PM
I agree- when we went through puppy training and our first round of obedience with Casey 5 years ago, we taught hand signs with vocal signals.

23rd July 2008, 10:36 PM
I have a rescue Cavalier with me at the moment, totally deaf as a post and with not good eye sight either, however she is as bright as a button, all fully switched on and enjoys the training/agility clubs to which she attends to socialise and have fun, she is enjoying her days to the full :) she learnt hand signals and basic commands really quickly aided with some good food treats, time and patience. Having other good dogs to follow helps her as well.


27th July 2008, 10:41 PM
I did read somewhere that deaf dogs could not be included in the Canine Good Citizen awards, though, which I was disappointed about b/c I think she would be awesome!

Well if that is true then they have changed the rules in the last few years - Rupert was awarded his Silver Good Citizen Award and he was totally deaf at the time - I wrote to the Kennel Club and they confirmed that he was one of the first deaf dogs to receive the award. I'm trying to think what year that was, it would be about 7 years ago...

Will have to check on the Kennel Club website.

At the time, Rupert did have about 28 different hand signals that he knew - we did agility and competed in obedience competitions together.

28th July 2008, 11:08 PM
I found a place that will take deaf dogs - but they insist on a pager collar. Anyone have one or recommend one?

Cathy Moon
29th July 2008, 12:13 PM
Here is some information about the pager collar. It is available in the US as well.

Cavaliers are often sensitive in the neck area due to PSOM and SM, so I would only use the collar if it doesn't make your dog uncomfortable. (Personally I wouldn't use this on India, my deaf girl, as her neck is a little sensitive.) I would continue use a lead and harness on the cavalier, not connecting a lead to this collar. Hopefully you could test it at home and return it if it doesn't work out for you. It also looks like it might be rather large for a cavalier.

Hopefully the trainer will treat the collar like a clicker and teach it as a reward signal only! In clicker training the first few days are spent 'charging' the clicker as a reward, which means every time you click you treat your dog. Your dog then sees the clicker as a very good thing!

You might want to try a clicker first, just to ascertain whether your dog can hear a clicker or not.

I saw one of these for small dogs on eBay for $89, so it's not inexpensive.

Oh, and I have always trained with handsigns along with verbal commands. Dogs seem to understand hand signs better than verbal in my experience, especially in agility!