How to Train or Retrain a Dog that is Deaf

The last thing anyone wants to think about is their dog is getting older and losing a few of its most important senses. This is not unusual but real and happens as dogs become older. In fact a good number of dogs end up deaf or blind and in a worse case scenario, both. It means teaching an old dog new tricks and to an extension the owner.

Firstly, a deaf dog is easy to find out if you realize he/she seems to be sleeping a lot heavily in recent times and hasn’t been waking up even when there’re noises around the home. In other times the aging pup could be startled when he/she is woken up from a slumber. Once you’ve ascertained the dog is going deaf determine the extent of the problem. Stand behind the ears of the dog and clap your hands a couple of times. You can also jingle some keys to test the deafness.

In case the ears hardly move towards the clap or sound, chances are the older pet is going or already deaf. Once the veterinarian has ruled out the deafness as being caused by ear infection think about training or retraining your older friend.

Change communication

It’s all about changing the way you’ve been communicating with your older pet friend. The good news is even with deafness the smell, sight and other senses dogs have can be harnessed. It’s all about teaching him about signal cues to stay, sit, move or any other you might want.

  • Rather than try all manner of gymnastics to attract the deaf dog’s attention, reward the offer of attention the dog gives you. It has the ability to encourage the dog to keep checking on you as regularly as possible whether attention is required or not.
  • After the dog has learned to give attention in expectation of a reward, before giving the treat ask for another thing such as a “sit”. Continue including more with time and add more treats such as petting, playing and eatables if you must.
  • Perhaps you don’t even remember when you taught your dog his name ‘Max’ and when he actually came to know it. Use hand signals to teach the dog his/her new name. The idea is using any hand signal such as waving, pointing or any other movement to the dog and giving the old pet a great treat as a reward. As you continue using the hand signal that means his/her name, he’ll come to know it. When you want him/her to eat you’ll just use it and the dog will comply by responding to the hand signal just like he was responding to the sound of “Max” before he was deaf.
  • Teach the dog to look at you or watch you by taking a delicious treat between your middle finger and thumb. Pass it under the nose of the dog. Bring it to your face and use the index finger to direct the eyes of the dog to yours. As the dog follows and gazes into your eyes give him the sumptuous treat. Try this often; give a thumbs up any time the dog does it successfully. You can then use this ‘look at me’ signal to teach other new tricks such as walking next to you as if the dog has a leash.
  • Another way to attract the dog’s attention is taping his shoulder or a part of his body and giving him a treat. If the dog turns his head give him the treat and try this as much as possible. Inculcate other attention grabbing antics if you so want at this time, such as a hand movement.
  • You can also grab the dog’s attention by banging doors or stomping on the ground since the resultant vibration is felt by the dog. Use flash light or light switches to attract the aging dog’s attention visually.
  • Of course after all is done you could end up with a dog who doesn’t want to leave and an ‘all done’ trick needs to be taught. Come up with a release trick or signal to signify that all is done and he/she can now relax and remove his/her divided attention from you.