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how to train a deaf dog

Although they cannot listen to commands, deaf dogs can be trained to follow their owners. However, this method is distinct from training an animal that hears and has many challenges. The training of a dog who is deaf requires some perseverance, yet it’s beyond the capabilities of many pet owners.

Certain breeds are more susceptible to hearing loss than other breeds. Dalmatians, English setters, and Australian cattle dogs are considered the most susceptible breeds for birth-related (present when they were born) deafness.1 Certain breed only start losing their hearing once they enter their senior years.

If you have puppies that don’t have hearing issues, you might want to consider using hand gestures in conjunction with voice commands as you are training them. This way, if your dog’s hearing deteriorates as he ages, they are at a good level of knowing the gestures to the various commands.

What can I say to my deaf dog that he’s an honest dog when it does good?

Practical training relies on rewarding behaviour that we desire to see repeated. The first step is finding a reward that is meaningful for the dog. Dogs are generally food-motivated, and therefore training with treats typically works. In some breeds, it may be necessary to use a pet toy to reward them instead.

If you’re using foods as rewards for training, there are a few points to be aware of:

Remove a small portion of food kibbles from your dog’s daily meals to train your dog, so you don’t add calories.
If you’re planning to use something other than your dog’s usual food to reward him for his training, cut down on his daily meals by a small amount.
Smaller treats are ideal for treats for training. You’ll want to reward behaviour that is correct quickly before moving on, so pick a snack that is easy to consume.
Don’t instruct your dog if you are full of food. A bit of hunger can give an extra boost of enthusiasm to learn.
As your dog gets more confident about the things he is familiar with, make food-based treats with a sign you plan to use to say “Good dog”. Intermittent rewards for food are incredibly strengthening, and this method lets you reserve specific rewards only for the time when your dog truly gets the message!
Be patient! Every dog is unique and learns at his speed.
Eliminating distractions will aid the learning process and allow you to progress into more crowded settings.
Don’t allow a dog with a hearing impairment to walk off-leash in an open, unfenced space. It’s too simple for a dog who is deaf to get scared or distracted and wander into danger. Using a long training lead to teaching more remote commands is possible.

How to Train a Deaf Dog: 3 Training Techniques

There are a variety of methods to train a deaf dog. Some of the most efficient methods are:

  1. Lure training: Lure and reward training, using reward treats and praise to entice dogs. Put a treat on your dog’s face to draw their attention. Then slowly bring the treat up over their heads. The upward movement encourages the dog to stay still and focus on the treat.
  2. Reward and mark training The method used for dogs is similar to that used for clicker training. Dog owners should first train their dogs to use a hand gesture as a reward, for example, a thumbs-up or hand clap. Utilize this gesture when you want your dog to try out a specific aspect of training. Then, immediately give them a reward when they achieve.
  3. Startle training: Dogs who are deaf can be easily scared because they only sense the motions. Reduce the risk of waking your dog who is deaf by using gentle touches while the dog is asleep and offering an indulgence. Repeat this process until the dog is relaxed to your gentle touch. When your puppy is peaceful, please put your hands on the dog’s nose, so it wakes up to your scent. Then, apply gentle pressure when the dog is asleep and reward it.


Deaf dogs can’t see you approaching and can be frightened by a sudden touch. It’s sometimes difficult to make your dog conscious of the presentation before touching them. Therefore it’s best to do desensitization exercises regularly to get them at ease with any incidental contact.

To accomplish this, while your dog is relaxed but not looking at you, gently rub them in a place that is not too sensitive (their shoulders are a suitable location). When they turn, then immediately greet them with treats. Repeat this several times, and gradually your dog will start to associate the unexpected touch with positive things happening and be less likely to react threateningly.

Build Attention by Offering Treats

Each learning session begins by being attentive to your pupil. If your dog has hearing issues, don’t think of calling the dog’s name. Or open a box of food to draw their attention.

Find a place within your home that is free from distractions. Relax on the floor in front of your dog and offer many tasty treats your dog is a fan of. Make sure they look at you. The moment they do, offer them a treat. If they stay near and offer you a look, offer another reward. After a few times, you can move to a different location within the space. It would help if you were waiting for your dog to appear in front of you and make eye contact. Then, immediately reward them. After a short time, your dog will be watching you.

Train Your Dog to “Settle”

Teaching any dog to lay on a mat calmly, even when a lot occurs, is beneficial. This is particularly beneficial for dogs with hearing impairments because they might not be able to tell whether a pet is annoyed by their behaviour.

As the owner, you should be aware of the things happening within your dog’s surroundings to ensure that, if necessary, you can ask them to go to their bed to avoid conflicts or risks.

It is possible to utilize a bed, towel or platforms. Begin by rewarding your dog for placing only one foot on the item, and then continue to require your dog to step further toward the object until her entire body.

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