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My dog is deaf- any training advice would be appreciated.

(15 Posts)
dillite Fri 09-Jan-15 17:00:25

She's 6 months old and the vet confirmed my suspicions of her deafness today. I thought that perhaps she was just really stubborn and just loves ignoring me but no. Apparently it's very common in white dogs. Anyway, I need to find new training methods for her, has anyone trained a deaf dog? How did you do it?

UpWithPup Fri 09-Jan-15 17:07:05

I have a friend who's dog was deaf. They used hand signals for commands. Not sure how they taught them in the first place though.

dillite Fri 09-Jan-15 17:14:17

Yes, I thought of hand signals, but no idea which ones/ how to.

moosemama Fri 09-Jan-15 19:16:32

You need Barry Eaton's books. He has two, Hear Hear guide to training a deaf dog is only available in .pdf form these days - unless you want to pay £££s for it second hand from Amazon.

His other book is Hear Hear Guide to Training a Deaf Puppy and as you can see, can still be bought for under £10.00 on Amazon's marketplace.

I think the first one may just be an updated version of the second though - so perhaps go for the pdf first.

Basically the rules are the same. Calm, kind, consistent, positive and motivational training, just using hand signals and body language/posture etc to communicate, instead of your voice.

Actually the whole idea of training without your voice is an interesting concept for owners of hearing dogs too. If you can't use your voice it really makes you think about what you are inadvertently communicating to your dog through your body etc. As dogs are far better at reading our body language and facial expression than they are at understanding our spoken word (and their own language is predominately based around body posture, facial expression etc anyway) it's an really valuable lesson for all dog owners, whether their dog can hear or not.

tabulahrasa Fri 09-Jan-15 20:35:55

It really doesn't matter what the hand signals are, it's no different to assigning random (to dogs) words to actions.

dillite Fri 09-Jan-15 20:58:14

Thanks! I will download the book. I have been looking for some information online as well, but there hasn't been a lot of it really, or just some brief references. Both of us will have some learning to do!

whitewithblackspots Fri 09-Jan-15 21:05:22

Hiya, I have an 8 yo dog we've had since she was 6 months and she's been deaf from birth (she's also white, and spotty).

I can only echo what moosemama says about body language. Our signals just kind of grew organically - we didn't get any of them from a book.

She can sit, lie down, she knows when she's being told off (sometimes she won't look so she can't receive the telling off grin), she's really good at following a pointed finger if I want her to go anywhere. It's funny as I have a friend who gesticulates a lot when she talks and the dog gets ever so confused when she comes round for a coffee, thinking she's being told to leave the room or get off the sofa (where she knows she shouldn't be anyway).

She's a working dog type so can't really be trusted off lead in open spaces so only goes off lead in an enclosed field. I do lots of other things with her to give her plenty of exercise - she runs with me when I run, I cycle with her and she loves chasing bubbles so she has a bubble machine for the summer months which she is obsessed with.

You will have so much fun with your dog. Mine is the absolute love of my life smile

whitewithblackspots Fri 09-Jan-15 21:06:28

I meant to ask, what sort of dog is she dillite?

mrslaughan Fri 09-Jan-15 21:33:16

My dog is not deaf, but has 3 commands from hand signals.....it just kind of happened.
Point up to sit
Flat hand in stop position for wait/stay
Flat hand held horizontal and moved down , for down

Tbh he responds far better to the hand signals that voice.

I think the hard thing will be the "watch me" signal, which will get his attention, to then give the next signal.....is he completely deaf?
What I mean is he obviously can't hear sound in the voice range, but are there other ranges he can hear - like a whistle, or a clicker, or a click of your fingers.....would have thought , whistle would be most likely if any........

dillite Fri 09-Jan-15 22:31:58

grin at a dog looking away when being told off.

She's a shih-poo- although 3/4 shih-tzu. So far she recognises sit signal from me- but only if I have some chicken in my hand- she sniffs the air first to check it's there, and ignores me if it's not grin.

The vet tested a variety of sound sources, and she appears to be completely deaf- no response to anything, even the whistle. He did mention a hearing test but said it's probably going to be a waste of money as he's 99% sure she's completely deaf from birth.

tabulahrasa Fri 09-Jan-15 22:39:30

You get vibrating collars to get a dog's attention when they're not looking right at you.

My dog has a load of hand signals (he's not deaf) and yes he usually responds to them better than voice commands as well...I think it's because there's not ambiguity, he has mixed up bed and dead before, you can't do that with hand signals.

moosemama Fri 09-Jan-15 22:47:51

Have a look through Barry Eaton's website - it's very old, so not great to navigate, but there are some case histories on there which are worth a read and also a link to Deafdogs.org which has lots of resources and training advice on it.

I did a paper/study based on a beautiful deaf Papillon when I was taking my first qualifications. His owners never had any formal help with training, just went with what worked for them, very much like whitewithblackspots experience. He was a proper cheeky and mischievous little lad, but responded well to the family's hand signals and knew all the basics. To meet him you wouldn't have realised he was deaf unless they told you.

It might be worth contacting some local dog training classes and ask if they can help, as a decent trainer will be able to help you develop a method of communication that works for you.

There was a deaf JRT at the puppy classes I took my younger lad to and the trainer just differentiated her advice for his owner. Training in a class setting at some point will also help her learn to focus on you, even when other dogs are around to distract her and obviously teaching her to look to you for guidance in all situations and settings is even more important with a pup you can't just distract with noise or your voice.

whitewithblackspots Fri 09-Jan-15 22:49:22

She sounds lovely dillite smile

moosemama Fri 09-Jan-15 22:50:03

Meant to say, if you think about it, anyone that does obedience or similar with their dog, where they're required to demonstrate control at a distance will have to learn to control their dogs without the use of their voice.

dillite Fri 09-Jan-15 23:02:48

Oh, she is lovely. She's my little ball of fluff.

It looks like I will have to look into puppy classes after all then and find a way to get to one- the ones I had found where in places inaccessible without a car.

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