View Full Version : Training a deaf dog
8th April 2009, 07:32 PM
We have discovered the mill dog we just adopted is almost completely deaf. We suspected she may have a hearing problem as she was not responding to sounds when we got her as a foster. The vet did some testing and she does respond to very loud sounds and vibrations, just not normal voices or sounds. Has anyone had any special training advise that may work with her. I have found some information on Deaf Dog Education Action Fund that sounds very good. I have checked with trainers in our area and so far I have not found any that specialize with the deaf, and perhaps I do not need a trainer, just a direction. Any help would be appreicated.
Jane, Mom to Alex & Emma
9th April 2009, 06:19 AM
I have taught Emmie some of the ASL signs I found on http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/aslweb/browser.htm. She has picked them up pretty fast :lotsaluv:especially the sign for cookie!
9th April 2009, 08:22 AM
Our rescue cav was declared deaf, but his hearing seems to be improving! DOn't know if it's an infection that is clearing, or that he's tuning into humans properly for the first time.
Getting your dog to sit / look at you for instructions is the most crucial element I feel. Training is very similar to that of a hearing dog, just that you're giving more consistent, specific visual clues. I also always talk to my dog, because I feel that they pick up on your natural expressions etc when you talk.
9th April 2009, 09:40 AM
I have a deaf dog and have found the only (but CRUCIAL!) difference is -- you should never let such a dog off lead unless totally reliable to return to you and only in the most safe areas far far away from traffic (eg a hike in the mountains). But even then I would never let my deaf girl off lead as she has taken off in the past after something she sees and will have no idea you re calling. Some deaf dogs will remain right within a pack of dogs but my girl -- who initially did this -- can also bolt so he stays on a flexi. You can also buy special vibrating collars (these vibrate gently -- they are NOT shock collars or 'training collars' but special vibrating collars for deaf dogs!) and can train a dog to recall to the vibration. Be absolutely sure though that you are buying the vibrating collar, not the horrible shock collars that are sold as 'training aids'. :(
Training to hand signs used to actually be the norm in dog training and IMHO is MUCH better for both deaf and hearing dogs. A hand signal is less ambiguous. Different people (and even the same ones!) tend to pronounce terms differently so whereas a voice command may be unclear the sign won't be. So I'd simply look for a normal class that also teaches hand signals/ Any trainer who says you need a specialist class would be one I'd avoid anyway.
There is a thread on deaf dogs in the Library section with lots of links. :)
9th April 2009, 08:24 PM
Thanks to all for the great information. I have downloaded a lot of information and look foward to start training.
Jane, mom to Alex & Emma
9th April 2009, 08:33 PM
You can also buy special vibrating collars (these vibrate gently -- they are NOT shock collars or 'training collars' but special vibrating collars for deaf dogs!)
I've been trying to find one of these for Cody without any luck? :o
She responds to vibration using a mobile phone in her harness but connection time is too slow for instant recall:mad:
14th April 2009, 01:47 PM
I have a deaf dog and have found the only (but CRUCIAL!) difference is -- you should never let such a dog off lead unless totally reliable to return to you and only in the most safe areas far far away from traffic . :)
I echo that one. On the 3 occasions Jasper has made it off the leash (1 backwards wriggle out of a harness, 1 snapped coupling and 1 trial in a supposedly enclosed field), I thank the Lord that we live in a rural area & there were no farmers around! He always flies off at 50mph and straight through the nearest fence. He does NOT respond to recall until either he is ready to come back & glances at you OR you manage to catch up with him due to a particularly efficient piece of fencing (breathless and covered in barbed wire scratches with ruined clothes - ME not him). If there had been any vehicles or hazards around he would have been a gonner.
14th April 2009, 01:59 PM
She responds to vibration using a mobile phone in her harness but connection time is too slow for instant recall
:p wow that's an interesting idea.
Tara was trying to source vibrating collars -- might be worth PMing her (TKC).
14th April 2009, 02:01 PM
There's a list of vibrating collar makers here:
But sadly a lot of these include a shock 'feature' too!! :mad:
I would not risk any collar that has any shock element -- go for the ones that can ONLY vibrate, for anyone interested! :thmbsup:
And hey they explain how to MAKE one here!
14th April 2009, 02:53 PM
The prices on those collars! I'll stick with the phone :D
I've come across lots of very affordable one but they all doubled as shock collars and even though I wouldn't be using that feature i'm not about to drive up their sales figures :mad:
15th April 2009, 11:08 PM
We have had a few deaf fosters and dogs of our own who were deaf. You have already gotten great advice here. We do clicker style positive training with the deaf dogs but instead of a clicker, we use a thumbs up hand signal. They learn very quickly that means a treat or other reward. We then use regular hand signals to train. Years ago we had a dog who learned that at night when we flicked the yard light on and off, he was supposed to come in! They are smart and it's amazing how much they learn by watching the other dogs! Hope to hear how the progress is coming along.
16th April 2009, 12:19 AM
With Orange you get 300 free texts when you top up with a tenner, so maybe it would be cheaper to text your dog :jmp2:
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