This year, National Deaf Dog Awareness Week is observed from September 19 to 26. Here at The Gentle Pit, we believe this week is important, as many precious pups who have disabilities are often overlooked at rescues and shelters. While you may be uncertain about taking care of a deaf canine companion, there’s a good chance that you’ll be missing out on an incredible dog if you decide to not rescue a pup, just because they are hearing impaired.
According to Neighbors’ Animal Wellness Clinic, it is relatively common for a dog to be hearing impaired, and “[c]ongenital deafness, or deafness due to genetic defects, has been found in about 80 breeds of dogs,'' such as Dalmatians, Boxers, Welsh Corgis, Australian Shepherds, and Great Danes. Like humans, our furry friends may be deaf for several reasons, including genetics, “injury to the ear from infections or trauma,” and old age.
Those who adopt deaf dogs will have to accommodate your furry friend’s needs. For instance, training your pup will look a bit different. In a May 2020 YouTube video, dog behavioralist Rich Eff of Perfect Pooch Dog Training explained that “teaching your dog hand signals is imperative to communication.”
“Because the dogs are deaf, they can’t hear you, so they need to be able to understand what it is we are asking them to do based on visual signals,” said Eff.
He then explained that owners have the option of showing their deaf dogs praise by “giv[ing] them a thumbs up,” “an okay sign,” or “jazz hands.”
“Along with the praise it’s very important that you project good, positive, and excited energy so that the dog knows that you are happy with them,” stated the behaviorist.
He also noted that “there are several ways to get your dog's attention,” including waving, “stomping your foot,” hitting furniture, “clapping,” and “flash[ing] a light.”
To celebrate National Deaf Dog Awareness Week, consider going to your local shelter to see if there are any deaf dogs available for adoption. If you are currently unable to adopt, fostering a precious pup who is hearing impaired is also a wonderful option.