Owners of deaf dogs frequently relate that their biggest challenge is getting their dogs’ attention, whether at home or out in the world. Here are some tips for getting a deaf dog’s attention (these tips work well with dogs who hear, too.)
Hand signal for his name
Just as you teach a dog to respond to “Max” or “Spot,” you can teach a deaf dog to respond to a signal that means, “I’m talking to you now.” A simple finger point or a wave will each work and are easy to teach, but any signal will do.
To teach that the finger point or wave means “Max,” start by simply pointing or waving at the dog, then offering a reward such as a great treat.
Throughout your daily life, use his “name signal” much as you would a verbal name. If you are about to feed your dog, point or wave in her direction, then walk to the kitchen and prepare his dinner. Before walks, point or wave to your dog, then get out the leash.
Soon the dog will respond to the hand signal just as a hearing dog would respond to the sound of his name spoken verbally.
Note: Information by Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, and was taken from the Whole Dog Journal.