Happy Deaf Pet Awareness week everyone!! This week we are celebrating the awesomeness that Deaf Pets are and bring to our lives! I have had the pleasure and joy of working photographing several deaf dogs in the past - two of my all-time favorites being Linkin Bark (find him on IG HERE) and Martin who was an amazing adoptable I got to work with.
Some think that they would be harder to photograph not being able to hear all my crazy noises to get them to look at me, however, especially Linkin, have amazing trainers who made it incredibly easy! In fact, EASIER than most dogs. They had much more focus and "listened" far better to the commands to look at me or to stay and to watch!
So today I'm sharing 10 reasons why deaf pets rock as well as 10 tips to help your deaf pup at home too!
10 Reasons Why Deaf Pets Rock
1. Deaf Dogs Rock because Noise doesn't disturb them. No thunder shirts required for fireworks, thunderstorms or crazy neighbors!
2. Deaf Dogs Rock because they make amazing therapy and support pets! They often don't have the same fears and anxiety that other dogs do due to loud or frightening noises.
3. Deaf Dogs Rock because they don’t chase the vacuum cleaner but instead enjoy the vibration of that comes from the suction of the device.
4. Deaf Dogs Rock because they are super intruder sensors! They can smell an intruder (and feel the vibration of a car coming from a distance) way before your hearing dogs can see an intruder.
5. Deaf Dogs Rock because you can sneak into the kitchen for a late-night snack, open a bag of potato chips and enjoy a treat guilt-free without worrying your dog just heard you open that cheese wrapper!
6. Deaf Dogs Rock because you can do a big construction or other loud projects in your home and they don't spook due to the noise.
7. Deaf Dogs Rock because you can take a deaf dog to big events like pet expos and they can’t hear all the other dogs barking and react as the other dogs do.
8. Deaf Dogs Rock because you can play rock/country/hip hop/rap music or sing in your car, at home, or in the shower as loud as you want and your deaf dog can’t hear you and won't judge you when you sing off-key!
9.Deaf Dogs Rock because they are the ultimate Velcro dog – no matter where you are located in your house you will always have a second shadow following you around from room to room.
10.The number one reason Deaf Dogs Rock is because “Deaf Dogs hear with their hearts and souls.” Seriously (don't tell Ozzy) but I think they're some of the best I've ever had the joy of working with!
Some people are fearful of adopting a deaf dog or of if their dog or cat becomes deaf. Lisa-lee about a year or so before she passed away, we found out was fairly deaf herself. It didn't stop her enjoyment of life, she wasn't any bigger of a handful to work with. However, she did sleep far sounder and didn't mind storms and fireworks like she had when she was younger, or the kids playing or the vacuum. In fact, it brought her a world of peace!
Some people assume because it will be too hard to train the dog or, because they startle easily, might be more aggressive. Training all dogs takes practice and patience, and deaf pets are just as smart and capable of training as hearing pets. Keeping a deaf dog safe requires a little extra effort on their person’s part but is necessary for the pet’s health and happiness, especially in public settings. Here are a few rules to live by:
7 Tips for you to help your deaf dog
1. Watch Your Surroundings + Remember to Communicate. When out in public with your deaf dog, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and changes in your environment. If someone walks out from behind a parked truck, or a car is rumbling down the road, or a small child is approaching him from behind while shopping at PetSmart, it’s important to be aware of these changes and to communicate them to your dog. By pointing out things in your environment that your deaf dog isn’t aware of- remember, if he can’t see it, he can’t hear it- you are helping him respond more appropriately and avoid any startle responses. Always be aware of your surroundings in public and communicate with your dog appropriately. They rely on you for guidance, especially in the constantly changing conditions of the outside world.
Living with and training a deaf dog requires a different form of communication and requires the utilization of the pet’s other, more heightened senses of sight, smell, and feel. Using clear and unique hand signals to teach your dog basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and “good dog” is not only a good learning tool for deaf dogs but a great form of silent communication and set of visual cues for hearing dogs too!
2. Training, Training, Training! Consistent reinforcement training throughout your dog’s life not only makes your life together more enjoyable, but it also ensures that he or she is watching you for communication and will follow through on a signed command without fail. When faced with an unexpected danger or situation, there is no better feeling than knowing that he will stay, drop the Bufo toad, or come back to you immediately. Participate in basic obedience class training and use consistent positive reinforcement techniques at home.
3. Teach Other People the Hand Signs You Use. If you are able to frequently go to work with your dog, try teaching your co-workers some basic hand signs. Some great ones to start with include teaching signs for “watch me”, “no”, “sit”, “stay”, “go there” and “drop it”.
4. Harnesses, Leashes, and Collars. I think every dog, but especially a deaf dog should be wearing a collar and a harness when outdoors. Be sure to pick up an “I’m Deaf” vest, leash or collar. In doing so, you are making it even more clear to the world that your dog can’t hear and may need extra help.
5. Vests. Much like Harnesses, leashes, and collars, Vests can help identify that your dog can't hear and may need extra help if lost or in a dangerous situation.
6.Name Tags and “I’m Deaf” Tags. When putting your pet's name on the name tag be sure to add their name + I'm deaf as part of their name so people are aware. IE: Martin I'm Deaf.
7. Microchip That Dog! Though this is excellent advice for any pet parent, I think it’s especially important if your dog is deaf. Most microchip companies allow you to note any medical or special needs in his or her profile. I strongly encourage all of our pet patients to be microchipped, but this is especially important for deaf pets. In the event that a deaf pet goes missing, a microchip can accurately ID the pet and get them back to their owner as soon as possible.