Dogs can lose their hearing the same way people do, be it due to an accident, underlying conditions, or old age effects. Many fur parents rely on verbal cues to explore different training possibilities with their canine buddies, but switching to visual communication to work with deaf dogs poses a new challenge.
The good news is that dogs are not actually verbal communicators since they rely on other senses such as smell and sight. Their deafness will likely serve as an obstacle to you, so it’s all about switching your focus to signs that prompt your pooch to give you attention.
After all, you still need to improve their behavior and call for them when you go out in local dog parks, so what can you do to ensure they know when to look at you and follow your commands?
Different Ways to Get Your Deaf Dog’s Attention
The Vibrating Collar Method
A vibrating collar sounds alarming, but you can chuck your worries out of the window since it’s a far cry from your usual shock collars. As its moniker suggests, the vibrating collar only sends low, gentle vibrations to peak your dog’s curiosity, which you can do in the following steps:
1. Press on the activate button to trigger vibrations. Let the vibrations continue until the dog looks at you, and then stop the vibration once they make eye contact.
2. Give them their favorite treats once they look at you after activating the vibration. Moving forward, reinforce the training prompt by pressing the button again to catch their attention and follow up with treats.
3. Repeat the process until your furry friend automatically looks up at you once the collar vibrates.
The Hand Signal Method
If you don’t want to rely on a vibrating collar, you can still tell your dog to watch you using hand signals. Dogs are smart creatures, so they can learn basic sign language too, so long as you follow it up with high-value, tasty treats! Here’s how you can get your pup to look at you with just a wave:
1. Get your pooch excited by letting them a good nose full of some new, pungent treats. The smellier it is, the better it will be at calling their attention.
2. Don’t let them munch on the treats just yet! Hold the smelly treats up to your face so they will be forced to lock eyes with you.
3. Once they make eye contact, act on your hand signal. It can be anything you want, though it’s best to keep it simple. When they notice the hand sign, go ahead and reward them with a treat.
4. Let them associate the hand signal with making eye contact by repeating the process until the action is reinforced. Once they freely look at you when you make a sign language, follow up with a new hand signal that represents a different command.
Of course, this will take another round of treat-filled indulgence before you can establish smooth communication with your four-legged buddy.
The Bottom Line: Training Your Deaf Dog to Look at You with a Quick Prompt
All dogs, whether they have special needs or not, can keep a loving relationship with their families. All they need is some patience and a few tricks up your sleeve to get them to “listen” to your commands just like any other pooch!
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