Caring for a Deaf Dog

Tips to help make your hearing-impaired dog’s life easier.

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Are you thinking of bringing home a deaf puppy? Has your older dog experienced hearing loss? Hearing-impaired dogs can live full and happy lives, particularly if you make some adjustments inside and outside your home.

Because a deaf dog may startle more easily, help him avoid the unexpected. At home:

  • Place his bed against a wall or in a corner.
  • Set up food and water stations outside of family traffic patterns.
  • Teach young children a hand signal for greeting the dog. Although the dog might not need such a formal salutation, teaching kids to pause and sign, “Hello, Buster!” will result in a gentler approach.
  • If your dog isn’t watching when you leave the house, leave him a “note” (such as slippers by the front door) to signal that you’ll be back shortly.
  • Set up a room or secluded area your dog can use when he needs to retreat from young children or energetic pets.
  • Develop a “visible doorbell” to inform your dog that guests are about to enter the house: flash a hall light or stomp your feet before you open the door.

Keep your dog safe and comfortable outside with these tips:

  • Always use a collar and leash; consider engraving “I’m deaf” on your dog’s tag .
  • Fence in your yard. Invite friendly canine playmates over to socialize, rather than letting your dog off-leash at a park.
  • Be sure your neighbors know your dog is deaf; tell them you never let him out alone. If they spot your dog wandering unattended, instruct them how to react (phone you, approach the dog and so on).

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Leslie - 233329   Lakeside, AZ

6/4/2013 8:55:07 PM

Good information, thanks

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Courtney   Hamburg, AR

7/21/2011 2:33:48 PM

I have a deaf dog, he is outside, his sister keeps and eye out for him. If he is asleeep and we come home she wakes him up. He is very well mannered and a lot more obediant than my other two. hahaha. He is the best.

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Robyn Marshall   Keizer, OR

4/17/2011 8:04:08 PM

I have a 12 year old chihuaua boxer mix who lost her hearing about a couple years ago. I am looking for a vest similar to a service vest for her to wear. we have 3 other dogs and she likes to go for walks and to petsmart with us. People have a tendency to wlk up to her as if she can hear.

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Laura   Anderson, IN

12/29/2010 7:53:04 PM

Good article. Information regarding deaf dogs is very difficult to find. My deaf pit bull, Gracie, is five years old now and I had zero information to go on when I adopted her. We've learned it on our own. We're about to adopt our second deaf baby soon and I was browsing for any info I've not figured out by myself. Hand signals, facial expressions, being gentle and never startling is the key. They CAN be trained! Good luck!

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