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About Deaf Dogs

Links to pages and external resources concerning deaf dogs

With deaf dogs the key method of communication at any distance is by hand signals and body language.
When they are within reach you can also communicate by touch.
You must bear in mind that hearing is only one of a dogs five senses and it is not the most important one in a dogs world.
A dog relates to its world first through it's nose, second through its eyes and then through it's ears.
Body language is an important method of communication for dogs so use it to communicate along with hand signals.

Unlike blind dogs, direct physical contact is not so necessary for reassurance or communication but deaf dogs need to be looking at you for any form of communication to be effective at all. Exaggerated hand and arm signals along with distinct posture is how to communicate instructions.
This is the problem. The dog has to look at you. When a dog is out sniffing around the last thing it tends to think about is looking back at its owner.

Teaching a deaf dog hand signals needs to be done in a certain order. First you need to teach the dog to keep looking back at you. Then teach it to drop like stone when told to. Then teach it to come back to you straight away and in a direct line when asked.
Next teach it not to stray too far away from you unless specifically told to.
These basic commands in place will help avoid hazards and conflicts. Then comes more interesting stuff.

We have seen deaf dogs herding livestock, working in scent discrimination and competing in agility and flyball. They tend to make a better team with their handlers because both parties need to pay particular attention to each other in order to carry out tasks.

Without a good understanding of hand signals by dog and handler it would be very risky to let a dog run loose other than in a secure area.
For most people this means their garden as public parks don't tend to be secure and are full of distractions.
It would be a shame if a dog had to be walked on a lead and could not run free simply because it was deaf.

We have come across people using radio controlled vibrating collars to get a deaf dogs attention.
The dog is trained to look at the handler when the collar vibrates and can then be given signaled instructions.
This is fine when the batteries are charged up and the dog is within range of the transmitter but in the eventuality of flat batteries or range problems you will find yourself in trouble.
If a handler depends on this method of getting the dogs attention, the dog is less likely to look back at its handler unless it feels the vibration.
It is best not rely on this method of getting the dog's attention. It may have a place as a training aid in the early stages of training but having the dog keep looking back at you because it is trained to do so habitually is the best method to rely on.


Below are a few links to external recourses relating to deaf dogs
 

If you are interested in adopting a Border Collie from us,
please phone 0845 604 4941 during office hours.
(2 pm to 5 pm Mondays to Thursdays)

Please do not write to us or email us about adoption - we want to speak to you before we start the process.