Say What?

By Stormi King CCS

Sometimes "deaf" dogs really are!
"My dog never listens to me! No, seriously, he doesn't listen!" It's a phrase many owners have uttered from time to time, but not always for the reason you might think. There are roughly 90 different breeds that are susceptible to congenital deafness. In addition, there are many other factors that can cause hearing loss throughout a dog's life. Dogs can lose their hearing as they age into their senior years, as well as from traumatic injury or excessive loud noise. It has long been known that an association exists between congenital deafness and white coat in dogs. It is certainly true that although some dogs are unable hear their owners they can still be well mannered, well trained companions. Deaf dogs can excel in therapy work, in competitive dog sports, or in the important role of family companion.

Training a deaf dog really isn’t so different from the way hearing dogs are trained. Despite the fact that they can't hear you say "hey Buddy, sit pretty!", they are, like all dogs, very perceptive of body language and can learn as many hand signals and body language cues as your imagination can create. There are plenty of myths floating around out there which assert that deaf dogs are more likely to startle or snap, or that they are difficult or impossible to train, don't do well with children, need a hearing dog to guide them, or oodles of other misinformed statements. Truth is, just like any dog, with proper socialization, training, and positive associations at being handled and touched, they can develop into perfectly well-rounded canine citizens.