Sunday, April 6, 2008

Training Deaf Dogs - Possible With A Little Patience

Many people welcome a new puppy into their home without knowing that it is deaf. It is often hard to tell when they are young but as they get older the problem becomes obvious. Whilst your pet's life will be more difficult with such a disability hopefully you have developed a bond with him that will motivate you to help him have as good a life as any other dog. One area that you should focus on is obedience and behavior training. This article will give you some ideas on training deaf dogs.
Unfortunately many people don't have the patience with a deaf dog or they think that deafness is a symptom of more serious problems. Nothing could be further from the truth in most cases. Your dog is still as inquisitive as any other dog. He still wants to please you and he still wants to be a valued member of your family.
So communicating with a deaf dog is just like communicating with a deaf human. You have to use hand signals. However, with dogs the hand signals have to be intuitive of the actions you want him to do. To start with, pick a simple command that is very intuitive. The sit command is probably good for this.
Develop a signal that will indicate to sit. Here is one you could use. Place your hand open palmed in front of the dog. Your arm will be bent at a ninety degree angle. Raise the open palmed hand up vertically until it reaches the height of your shoulder. Do this a few times. Your dog won't understand.
Then show the dog a tasty treat and place it in the open palm, ensuring the dog sees this happen. Them slowly raise the arm to the height of your shoulder. If your pet wants the treat (and he will) then he will instinctively sit below the raised palm.
Praise him when he sits and give him the treat. You will have to do this a few times over a few weeks before this command is understood. Continue to give him positive reinforcement through praise and treats. Once you are happy that the command is understood you can move onto other commands. Think about replicating the action you want your dog to do in the signal you give.
You want to teach your dog the basic commands to begin with. The down, stay, come and heel commands are what you should be aiming for. Use the same idea of positive reinforcement to help you pet understand the commands.
Of course being successful with this training will take a bit of time, but it will improve your dogs life if you can achieve this understanding. It will also improve the relationship you have with your pet. Once he knows how to please you, by doing the commands you teach him, he will be keen to follow the commands. He may also be more focused on you than a hearing dog that might get easily distracted by odd noises or other dogs barking.
Visit for more ideas on training a deaf dog. The site has articles and advice on caring for your dog, health issues related to dogs and a review of a popular dog behavior training course.

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