View Full Version : Deaf as a post?

28th January 2010, 02:53 PM
I wonder if anyone can help. We think our Cav is deaf. Either that or he is ignoring us which wouldn’t surprise me as he's a wilful little creature!
He developed an ear infection in July last year for which he was treated successfully. Then in November it came back- only this time we noticed he wasn’t as responsive to our voices as he had been and linked it to his ear problem.
Now its impossible to call him in from the garden, he doesn’t respond in the same way as he did to certain words such as walkies, sweeties and kiss!( list not exhaustive he had a quite a good vocabulary)
The vet said that you can’t test dogs easily for deafness but we've tried ourselves by making sudden noises behind his back and no response at all! He used to be waiting for us with his tail wagging when we walked in the door now we can switch the alarm off put the kettle on and stroke him before he even wakes up when we come home! Hes only 6 by the way.
So assuming that he is deaf we will have to change the way in which we communicate with him- does anyone have any suggestions- I'm trying sign language with him and was thinking of getting a whistle in case the pitch/tone might be audible- any suggestions will be most gratefully received.

28th January 2010, 04:39 PM
As for deafness of Cavaliers, I recommend you take a look at http://www.cavalierhealth.org/deafness.htm and, for deafness in dogs in general, http://www.lsu.edu/deafness/deaf.htm The latter is Dr. George Strain's website, and under the "Other Information" category near the bottom of his webpage, you will find a list of publications about living with a deaf dog.
Rod Russell

28th January 2010, 05:15 PM
I know there are some good web sites on working with deaf dogs, just google deaf dogs. I also know that they are best walked in a harness as they need to have better access to their other senses, of sight & smell, gotta be able to turn the head and get the nose to the ground to give them more info about their environment.

God luck him.

28th January 2010, 05:47 PM
He definitely sounds deaf as this is exactly what you tend to see. I have a whole set of links to information on deaf dogs in the Library section -- think in the Caring for your cavalier section.

Deafness is pretty common in the breed -- I have seen it raised as an issue that needs to be researched more carefully as many of the cases do not seem to be linked to PSOM for example (my Lucy is deaf and MRId free of PSOM).

Sometimes they can hear a dog whistle or claps. In general, you need to remember to always have your dog on a lead outside and be careful of open doors -- a deaf dog can easily be hit by a car and if he decides to run off after something, won't hear you calling. Other than that hand signs are easy to teach and often far easier for any dog to understand than voice commands! The links I have suggest some signs and how to teach. I taught Lucy come, sit, down and stay in a couple of days on hand signs. :) Other than that you likely won't notice much difference at all as dogs do not tend to rely a whole lot on hearing anyway. Often deaf dogs bark a bit more and are often very sight-acute -- Lucy is ALWAYS the first to spot a cat in the dark on walks! :lol:

28th January 2010, 06:51 PM
English Setters are prone deafness, you may be able to find some training tips on their websites. I've known owners of deaf dogs to turn the lights on/off several times as a signal for "come". Obviously that doesn't work if the dog isn't in the room to see the lights.

28th January 2010, 07:04 PM
One thing I have been told is that it can be helpful to have a companion dog for the deaf dog as they are better at reading anothers dogs cues than anything. SO there you go... another Cavalier, that wouldn't be hard to take!

Margaret C
28th January 2010, 11:28 PM
Deafness is definitely a problem in cavaliers and it can show up in quite young dogs.

The so called selective deafness described by so many owners, may be because often dogs can still hear certain high pitch sounds, so it will appear that sometimes they ignore the owners and sometimes they obey.

Two of my three boys are stone deaf. It can be a problem when we are on our walk & they decide to go their different ways; but our community garden is securely gated and they are old & slow now.
Fortunately Matthew still hears and they will usually follow him.

I use very extravagant hand signals to get them to come ( they soon learn if rewarded with a nice treat ) I touch them gently to wake them, and I smile, nod, and pat them to let them know they are loved.

1st February 2010, 12:30 PM
Thank you all so much for the links and advice!