Being a deaf Dalmatian owner and a dog walker I often get messages and questions from new and potential deaf dog owners discussing various worries that they have heard or read about.
When researching on the internet for example you can stumble across a variety of deaf dog myths such as they are untrainable, aggressive and unable to be let off lead. One particular site even recommends that they should all be put down upon finding out they are deaf. So understandably a lot of people feel very overwhelmed!
With owning a deaf Dalmatian I also write articles to try and promote what great pets deaf dogs make! However I am just one of hundreds of owners and I feel it is important for us to write about our experiences with our deaf dogs to help ease the minds of others just starting out with theirs.
The Deaf Dog Network is a group for those of us with deaf dogs, it is a great support network and is full of amazing information and owners regularly post about what they and their dogs have been up to. I asked the DDN what they would like the general public and new deaf dog owners to know about their dogs and many people offered a variety of different information and experiences.
The most commonly occurring answer to the question was that deaf dog owners don’t want people to feel sorry for their dogs. Many deaf dogs are born deaf and so they know no different. To them, not being able to hear has always been normal. In fact deaf dogs can do EVERYTHING that a hearing dog can do, with several owners explaining they take part in activities such as agility with their deaf animals.
A lot of the owners went on to say that the bond they have with their deaf dog is often more than any bond they have had with a hearing one. This is because they find that their deaf pets are a lot more attentive to movements and body language, they tend to like to know where you are as they cannot hear you moving from one room to the next etc.
One of the major myths is that deaf dogs are untrainable and speaking from experience I know this is not true. These dogs are deaf, not dumb (as quoted by several owners). They take no extra effort to train in comparison to hearing dogs and they readily take part in off lead exercise, agility, obedience and trick training; my Dalmatian for example knows how to roll over, play dead, speak, take my socks off and close doors!
Deaf dogs are actually taught in exactly the same way as hearing ones, except instead of a vocal cue, a visual cue like a hand signal is used.
No one should worry about being able to train their deaf dog!
As well as the benefit of a deaf dog not having any noise phobias such as thunderstorms and fireworks, a few people even suggested that their deaf dogs seem to have had a calming influence over their other hearing animals.
A few of the owners of deaf dogs that make up the Deaf Dog Network even suggested that hand signals should be a way of communicating for all dogs. Especially as a loss of hearing becomes common in older, more senior dogs.
These dogs do not know that they have a disability and they certainly don’t let their lack of hearing hold them back.
Jayde Davey M.ISAP CTDI
Jayde Davey M.ISAP CTDI – I am an aspiring dog trainer, supporting positive reinforcement methods. I currently am studying an Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour Management and have just passed my test to become a Certified Trick Dog Instructor. I have my own blogsite with connected social media and I also run a Facebook Dog Trick group where I help people to teach their dog lots of fun tricks. I am a member of ISAP or the International Society for Animal Professionals and also have a diploma in small animal care. I own a deaf Dalmatian called Logan who I do most of my training with; he knows lots of tricks like take my socks off, fetch my a tissue and wipe your feet but I also regularly work with a miniature poodle, a cocker spaniel, a jack Russell and a border collie. I one day hope to become a professional dog trainer.
Blog site: www.blogthatdog.com