It’s Deaf Dog Awareness Week!

deaf dog awareness weekDo you have a deaf dog? Many people often wonder what causes a dog to be born deaf or become deaf.  The truth is that the causes of deafness in dogs are very similar to the causes of deafness in humans.  Some common causes of deafness in dogs are: genetics, reaction to drugs, result of the aging process, untreated ear infections, exposure to loud noise and injury.

How do I know if I have a deaf dog?

If your dog seems to not listen to you, does not wake when you call his name, does not look at you when you talk or plays rough with other pets and family members, then he just may be deaf.  However, the only definitive way to know is to bring him for a BAER test.  There are a few things to do at home to gauge whether or not your dog is actually deaf or not.

According to the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund, you could try doing any number of the items on the following list to see if you get a response out of your dog.  It’s best to try this when your dog is not facing you or better yet when he’s completely distracted or asleep!

  • Jingle your keys
  • Squeak a toy
  • Call your dog in a low voice, then a loud voice
  • Clap your hangs
  • Bang pots together

Furthermore, the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund goes on to say that there are many myths associated with deaf dogs that deter people from adopting deaf dogs.  The biggest myth surrounding deaf dogs is the “startled-aggressive dog” myth.  The theory behind this myth is that a deaf dog will react aggressively when startled.  This myths asserts that the deaf dog will always startle when approached, or touched unexpectedly.  This is simply not true.  There may be a startled response but ordinarily the dog will just present a confused response or just look and turn away. There are very few that will respond aggressively or bite.  Additionally, you can train a deaf dog to respond happily, just as you train a dog in any other scenario.  Pet parents can take measures to make their dog aware of their presence but it’s more out of consideration for the dog, not to deter any type of aggressive behavior.

Deaf dogs are just like any other dog.  They are trainable, loving, playful and will provide you with many years of loyalty.   Remember, dogs are visual and body language communicators – primarily so teaching them to respond to hand cues is just as easy as teaching a hearing dog to respond to verbal commands.

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