With Sept. 21 - 27 being National Deaf Dog Awareness Week, we thought we would clear up some misconceptions many people have about deaf dogs. If you are thinking about adopting a deaf dog but are afraid of the handicap, don't be. It's not that they are harder to train - it's just that they have different training requirements. Deafness in dogs is usually inherited or can result from trauma, an ear infection, exposure to loud noises, old age or drug interactions.
When puppies are born deaf it is known as congenital deafness. Some breeds, such as Dalmatians, English terriers, Australian cattle dog, the Catahoula Leopard dog, whippets, Parson Russell terrier and boxers can be more prone to deafness than others. In fact, 30% of dalmatians are born either deaf in both ears or deaf in one ear. It is a misconception that deaf pets are less intelligent than their hearing counterparts. Deaf animals bark and make all the regular sounds their hearing counterparts make.
The one thing you have to be careful of is that the dog should always be contained by a fence or enclosure since they can't hear cars or other dangers coming. Also, on their tag, identify the dog as deaf, It is good to put a bell on their collar to keep track of them.
Instead of verbal communication, deaf dogs are trained using hand signals. It is important to have a clear, consistent hand signal for every command you want the dog to learn. It is a myth that deaf dogs are more aggressive or that hearing aids will help ... don't waste your money!
Despite the fact that deaf dogs are very trainable, breeders often euthanize deaf puppies. And deaf dogs dropped off at public shelters usually meet the same fate.
At Bark Busters, we know that virtually ANY dog can be trained. If you have a deaf dog and need help with training, call a Bark Busters behavioral therapist. Like any dog, a deaf dogwill thrivewith attention and love!