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LaneyKate2005 04-29-2012 09:34 PM

Training a Hearing-Impaired Dog
I just adopted (or rather, was adopted by) an adorable GSD who is hearing impaired. He's not entirely deaf (I just sneezed really loud and he turned and looked at me, but that's the first time he has reacted to sound), but he certainly has some hearing issues. He had his ear canals and middle ears removed.

I have always wanted to train a hearing-impaired dog and have always wanted a GSD so he's definitely a dream come true for me. I have trained dogs in the past (including my other dog, who has one working eye and brain damage) so I'm not entirely new to this. I know human sign and was planning on teaching with hand signals regardless, but I'm just wondering if anyone else has trained a hearing-impaired dog before, and if so, if they have any pointers.


krystyne73 04-29-2012 09:47 PM

I believe I ran across a dog training book for Great Danes that was for the hearing impaired dogs. (some great danes that are cross bred , Harlequin to Harlequin can be born white, blue eyed and deaf)
Anyways, it showed them using human sign language and finger spelling for commands.

doggiedad 04-29-2012 09:53 PM

i think training a deaf dog will be just as easy as
training a dog with hearing. you give a command
usuing your voice and you make the dog follow the command.
do the samething with your hand signal. give the hand signal
and make your dog follow the command.

VChurch 04-30-2012 11:39 AM

I would imagine that the only real difference in training a hearing-impaired dog is you might need to work more on the dog looking at your more often, especially when outside or something (in the yard, etc.). Since you wouldn't be able to call the dog and have him hear you. Otherwise just teach signs for the basic commands, it isn't difficult at all...same training methods as verbal commands, just hand signs instead.

I_LOVE_MY_MIKKO 04-30-2012 11:43 AM

I briefly fostered a deaf dog and the rescue looked into training for his future family, which included a vibration collar to be used for recall when he wasn't nearby or looking at the person. The idea is to teach him to come when his collar vibrated.

kiya 04-30-2012 11:45 AM

Shade 04-30-2012 11:52 AM

I adopted a cocker spaniel with progressive hearing loss, he ended up going mostly deaf within a year

He was a rescue and I had to train the basics and used both sound and hand cues, eventually phasing out the sound. I also kept him onleash at all times, though he never strayed far

TimberGSD2 04-30-2012 12:15 PM

My good friend has a deaf great dane that she has taken to obedience and has gone thru several levels with. She uses hand signals with him. She went to regular classes and added hand signals to her verbal commands. It took her longer on a couple levels of classes (had to take twice but her dog has more issues than being deaf) but has gotten pretty far. Her advice if ever in this situation was to make sure to find a trainer that has had experience with deaf dogs before. Or has at least worked with them in the past.

OriginalWacky 05-05-2012 06:07 PM

If you are a clicker training fan, use a flashlight in place of the clicker to signify he's done something good and will get a treat. Every time he looks at you, give him a treat. It will help make him check in with you more often if you are a constant source of yumminess. Vibrating collars are nice as well to catch their attention.

Stosh 05-06-2012 10:17 AM

My friend has a totally deaf border collie and she's trained in agility and now rally. She uses hand signals only, but is starting to use a vibrating collar.

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