Whether you are looking to add a deaf pet to your home, already have a deaf pet in your family, or simply want to better equip yourself in case you come upon a deaf pet in your travels, we want to help you prepare. To complement the advice from deaf pet experts, it can be encouraging to learn from others like you.
The following are tips from our community of pet lovers online who have experience with deaf pets. If you have a tip to share, email us at [email protected]
“Make sure a deaf dog sees you or knows you are there before touching it. When our Yorkie went deaf, we would lightly stomp our feet on the floor or pat the couch near her to get her attention or wake her. It’s a small thing you can do to reduce the dog’s stress from being startled and to reduce your risk or being snapped at by a spooked dog.” – Erin A.
“We use hand signals for sit, stay, down, bed time, come & a thumbs up for good boy. We have a vibration collar we hoped to use for recall though unfortunately it startled him. He also suffers food allergies so food treating was tough. So lots of pets he gets. They pick up on what you’re asking quite quickly. He’s such an amazing dog!!” – Jennifer S.
“My Italian Greyhound August knows all his commands in sign, English, and Polish. When I originally taught him, I taught him in English with a hand-gesture. So when I switched to teaching him in Polish at 3 years of age I used the same hand-gesture just with a different word-command and he picked it all up in a matter of a day. That goes to show how well dogs understand gestures!” – Diem F.
“We adopted a stone-cold deaf senior cocker spaniel and enjoyed four wonderful years with him. He didn’t know hand signals and at his age he was a little too stubborn to learn new things. For his safety, we found keeping him on a lead whenever he wasn’t in a fenced area was best. Another tip – because he startled so easy, to wake him up I would blow lightly on the top of his head – he would slowly wake up sweetly and without panic.”
– Lisa B.
“Now that Peaches has lost most of her hearing I find I need to rely more on hand signals and clapping to get her attention and communicate. We get to experience our relationship in a whole different way now!” – Avivagen Animal Health
“I teach my dogs hand signals to coincide with each verbal command. It comes in handy for sure as one of them is 14 and has limited hearing. Extremely beneficial to both animal and handler.” – Cathy C.
“A stray puppy I took in turned out to be deaf… hand signals are good, but when she isn’t looking at me a penlight helps to get her attention. She does sleep very soundly, was much jumpier at first when I got her, but is much calmer now that she realizes she is surrounded by a loving family.” – Kathy L