This year, National Deaf Dog Week is the week of September 25th - 30th. This week is all about bringing awareness to dogs that are hearing impaired, and the families that take care of them. While a deaf dog does impose a challenge, they’re still trainable, and just as lovable.
While hearing impairment is usually caused by old age, it can also be the effect of constant ear infections, injuries, or sometimes drug toxicity. When a puppy is born deaf, this is called congenital deafness. Dogs that go deaf later in life usually have a harder time adapting to their condition.
Test Their Hearing
If it seems that your dog is suddenly ignoring you, or they’re not coming when food is poured into their bowl, it might me a good idea to do a quick at home test to check their hearing. Wait until your dog is not paying attention and step behind them. Make a loud noise like clapping, just be sure not to give away your location, like stomping. If you’re still worried about their hearing, call your vet immediately to schedule an appointment.
Years ago, it was almost unheard of to train a deaf dog, and there was little information on taking on this task. However, now thanks to countless resources, there’s still so much hope for deaf dogs to train. One of the most effective ways to communicate with a deaf dog is with sign language. Common hand signals include a hand up, for stop, and hand moving up for sit, and a hand moving down for lay down. Usually a hand clap or thumbs up is used as a “good job.” Other common hand signals dog trainers use can be found here.
Most dog trainers will tell people that besides the obvious hearing impairment, deaf dogs live a relatively normal life. Happy Deaf Dog Week to all the families that have welcomed a hearing impaired dog into their home. If you have any questions about hearing loss in pets, please call us at 602-559-5500.