Tips For A Dog that Has Lost Its Hearing
30 January, 2013

My friend, Wanda, has a dog named Poggibonsi (one our of our beloved Petpav members) that recently lost her hearing.  Her loss of hearing was gradual and Poggibosni was at first confused.  Yet, after her parents learned how to communicate with her, it eased her anxiety.

As we all know, it is so hard to watch our dogs’ age and become less responsive to us and their environment.  It’s even harder when we have trouble communicating with them especially as they lose their hearing.

Below are some ways to help you and your dog communicate and be fulfilled even without their hearing.

Communicate with your hands

Try to communicate with your hands.  You can point things out to your dog when it is time to eat.  You can also show your dogs his or her leash when you plan to take your dog out.  It might take a little time to get used to communicating with your hands, but our pups are smart and will learn hand signals in a short time.  Practice and patience is key and the more hand signals you can use to communicate, the better.

Use touching as a way of communication

You can touch your dog and then use your hand signals.  If you need to make a point, touch or pet your dog (preferably from the front so you don’t scare your pup or a light touch to his back) and then gesture with your hands what needs to be done.   If your dog is sleeping, you can even tap next to him as he should feel the sound vibrations.    And, of course, pet your older dog often as your dog ages as a sign of love and caring; this is a scary time for him as he transitions into old age.

 

Buy a disaster whistle

Buy a disaster whistle and use it to condition your dog as a means of communication.   Even deaf dogs tend to hear this high pitched whistle.   You can train your dog that this is a good sound and a way to communicate.  When you blow the whistle, pair it with some rewards or treats, so when your dog comes to you and can associate the sound as a positive experience.  This means of communication can be very important if your dog gets out and can’t hear you calling his name.

Make your house manageable for a deaf dog

Try to manage your house to prevent situations that might cause accidents due to your dog’s lack of hearing and response.   Just think of your dog as a puppy and a lot of the things or sounds he might encounter could seem new and be a potential threat.   If you have more than one pet, you might want to separate them when you aren’t home.  The other pet or pets might not be sensitive to your deaf dogs needs and unintentionally hurt him or her.

Be extra cautious when you take your dog out

When you take your dog out for a walk, make sure not to let him or her off-leash.  Your dog might not hear oncoming cars, a barking dog or other outside noises or threats.  Your dog further might not notice approaching bikes or runners so keep an eye and ear out for your pup.  If you decide to go to a dog park, supervise your dog and make sure that the playing doesn’t get rough.

As our dogs get older, just like humans, we need to be more gentle, understanding and patient.   It is so hard to watch our pets’ age, but we can help them live a long, fulfilling life.

Come and join all of the other dogs and cats:


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