When your dog seems to be ignoring you completely and not taking any notice of you it is just assumed that he / she is having a stubborn moment but have you ever considered the possibility that your dog cannot hear you?
Many puppies are born deaf and some adult dogs can turn deaf during their lives. This need not turn into a major problem, yes certainly it will present itself as a challenge to most dog owners but it can be faced and dealt with. The initial task to complete is to ascertain that your puppy / dog is actually deaf, a vet can help you with this, once you have the facts you then know what you are dealing with.
If you think about it our dogs do not ‘talk’ to us as such, only in their body language; well this body language that our canine chums use is just like a human’s method of communicating with a deaf person via sign language.
The secret is to not make anything too complicated for your dog, do not confuse the issue. You do not need to resemble someone conducting an orchestra or a person carrying out semaphore! Just let your dog know what it is that you wish them to do as quickly and simply as you possibly can.
Of course the challenge comes because you obviously need your dog to be looking at you for them to be able to read your signs, the hardest command for most owners of deaf dogs is the recall one and a lot of owners will not allow their dogs off a lead completely for fear of the dog not returning to them. Recall can be taught to deaf dogs, the key is to gain your dog’s undivided attention the bond between you and your dog must be very strong for training to be successful.
Use a training line and ensure you have your dog’s focus on you then you need to ensure that your dog is aware of the signal that means ‘come here instantly’. I have observed a lady on walks with her deaf Border collie and prior to letting her dog off the lead she will complete a series of simple exercises with her dog, when they have completed them she will indicate to the dog that it has done well with a thumbs up and a huge smile and let it off the lead.
Her dog would never wander off and was always checking to see if she was signalling, to recall the dog she would simply kneel down and beckon to it with her arms; her dog would all but flatten her upon its return!
Never physically scold a deaf dog as your hands need to always be items of pleasure and things that your dog can trust implicitly and never fear them.
The bond between a deaf dog and their owner is something that other dog owners will probably find themselves quite envious of as they seem to be ‘in tune’ with one another, knowing what the other one is thinking.
Do not be phased by deafness in a puppy / dog be challenged and accept the challenge with open arms.
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