Many dog parents have deaf dogs. They face the problem of not knowing how to train their dogs. For training a deaf dog, you , as a dog parent, need to follow certain tips. These tips are special for deaf dog and will help you in their training.
Tips for training a deaf dog
1.) Socialize and desentize your dog
Socialize your dog so they can feel calm toward any person and dog. It is important to socialize your dog so they feel secure and safe around people and dogs.
Also, work on desentizing your dog to feelings of starteleness. This happens by tapping on their shoulder or back to get their attention and by putting your hand in front of their face when they are sleeping.
When your dog wakes up or turns around, reward them with treats and praise.
2.) Get a sign language book or use your own hand signals
Dogs who can’t hear need you to communicate in using different ways. Because they can’t hear, talking won’t help so the best option is to use sign language.
Most commands are easy to do because they have hand signals. But there are many commands that don’t use hand signals such as good job, look at me, come, drop it, potty, play, and walk.
You can also use American sign language as a way to teach your dog how to understand your commands.
3.) Hand signals to teach your dog
- Open hand down: This a signal for for your dog to sit. Dogs pick up this signal easily.
- Finger pointing: This signal is used to get your dog to go to a place such as their crate or to fetch something.
- Thumbs up: Since your dog doesn’t hear, this sign helps them understand when they have done a good job. Simply make a thumbs up with your hand. This can also be used to mark their behavior when they have done good.
- Okay sign: This signal means “good” or “yes” when you make it to your dog. Make sure to use positive facial expressions so your dog doesn’t get confused.
- Finger pointing down: This signal is used to let your dog “lie down”. Just like the sit signal, dogs understand it easily.
- Hand flat out: This signal is used to tell your dog to “stop” or “freeze”.
- Time out signal: You can use this signal to mean when you want your dog to “to leave” or “drop” something or for them “to stay quiet”.
- Hand out: This is a signal that has many uses. It can be used as ” hand shake” or “high five”. It can also be used to signal your dog “to come to you”.
- Two fingers pointed at your eyes: This signal is used to tell your dog to watch you. Make sure to accompany this signal with eye contact.
4.) Have your yard fenced or have your dog on leash at all times
Put a fence around your yard so your dog doesn’t wander away. Your dog isn’t going to hear you when you call their name. It is best to build a fence around the yard or have a leash on your dog when they are outside.
5.) Consider a vibrating collar
You can use a vibrating collar and not a shock or electric collar for off-leash activities and to get your dog’s attention.
The collar helps get your dog’s attention when they are too far away or not facing you to see your hand signal.
It’s important to start slowly and gradually when teaching your dog how to respond to vibrating collars.
6.) Leash training
Train your dog while they are on a leash through teaching them how to walk without pulling or dragging you. This happens through using some tools such as:
- a well fitted harness
- a leash
- a marker signal
Begin in the least distracting environment. You may even begin your training inside the house where you leas train your dog.
For this training to be effective, you must first teach your dog a marker signal. The marker signal will let your dog know that they have done something that you like and that you will reward their behavior. A marker signal can be a thumb up.
The first step is to make your dog look at you. This happens by positively reinforcing your dog every time they look at you. So everytime your dog looks at you, give the marker signal out and give them a treat.
The second step is to put the harness on your dog. Put it slowly and wait to see if your dog is calm or not. If they are not calm, remove the harness and wait until your dog is calm again.
Once they are calm, mark the behavior with the signal and give them a trea to reinforce the idea of being calm. In the beginning, You may repeat this step a few times but eventually your dog will understand.
The third step is take a walking step and wait. When you stop, your dog will most likely look at you. Mark and reinforce the behavior with a treat.
Also any time your dog looks at you, mark the signal and reward them. If they pull the harness, stop and take steps backward. Your dog will then look at you.
Again, when they do look at you, give them the mark signal and treat them. Make sure when you give them the treat that they are near you.
In the beginning, walks will be short but as your dog get used to it, the walk will become longer.
7.) Give your dogs treats
You got to always give your dog treats when they are consistent in their training. This lets them know that they are doing a good job and what behaviors to do and what to avoid.
Treats also stimulate your dog’s brain to try to behave in ways that make them receive more treats.
In conclusion, training a deaf dog requires patience and effort. You must commit to teach your dog all the needed training behaviors. Use mainly positive reinforcement to reinforce the training.
Do not scold or punish your dog when they can’t understand or do opposite of what you say. Rather, wait calmly until they calm down and then resume the training.
To know more information about a guide for deaf dog training, check The Ultimate Guide into Deaf Dog Training.