Dog Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
We are pretty sure that my family's 10.5 year old Springer Spaniel is gong deaf.
Looking for resources or stories from people who have been through this sort of thing.
We have a vet visit scheduled soon,but clearly if he's losing his hearing we need to start training better with hand signals since he was mostly trained with verbal commands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
871 Posts
My dog started going deaf when she was 11. Everyone called it selective hearing but she loved training and I found it hard to believe that she would start ignoring us. Slowing down yes, but out right ignoring without even acknowledging? I don't think so. The vet said it looked like she was slowly loosing her hearing as an old dog thing and had no other ear problems.

I started working on hand signals as I had primarily worked on voice only for years. I started out going over known cues, saying the signal word very loudly (she still could hear some) and adding in a hand signal. Then slowly started to phase out the verbal cue. Some things I had to reteach her from scratch like she didn't know the cue in the first place. Most things she did catch on quick.

The hardest thing slowly became getting her attention, when she wasn't looking at me. When she couldn't really hear my voice I taught her a loud clap was like a look at me. I would clap and give treat when she looked for the noise. The clap worked for getting her attention until she was 15, a few months before I had her PTS. Anything else she couldn't really hear, and she had to be relatively close (within 20 feet)

If you are close enough to touch, I would teach that a light tap also is a 'pay attention' cue.

I noticed that waking up a pup with hearing loss can be startling for them, she started getting jumpy when petted while sleeping. Off leash can be scary if you dog isn't a glued to your side type. I learned the hard way at the dog beach, she had a good recall...when she could hear or see the hand signal. When she saw a flock of birds out at sea she took off swimming after them at 13 years old. She wouldn't come back and I was scared that she get exhausted then drown, so I had to jump in after her (with clothes on mind you).

Besides those things it wasn't a hard thing to deal with. Mind you I don't think she ever lost 100% of her hearing. So it could be different in that aspect. Mostly things took a week to transition from a verbal cue to only a hand signal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,839 Posts
I've had a lot of elderly dogs in my life, many of them were completely deaf by the time they were put to sleep.

I found that the higher frequencies go first, so doing stuff like whistling...doesn't work as well as a low toned call to the dog would do. But, eventually that didn't work either, so vibrations can help...as far as getting their attention.

Even old dogs can learn hand signals. I use to put my fingers to my lips to indicate food, and would lower my hand and come here was just gestured using my hand, as if they were to follow me. To tell them to lay down, I would just point at their bed. Of course, these hand signals were taught as the dog was going deaf and I don't recall it being much of an effort to teach them or for them to learn.

Just be sure as your dog's hearing gets worse that you try to use vibrations and such to let it know you are near by...they get startled really easily when they can't hear and you suddenly come up behind them and pet them or something. I started making it a habit of approaching my dogs from the front so they could see me coming and know I was reaching out to them.

Hopefully, your dog won't go completely deaf, but know that even if that does happen, they can still have a very good life and will still interact with you and others. I don't think dog's dwell on it that much...they adjust...and it's we humans that feel their loss more than they do. Just my 2 cents. : )

Stormy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
I've heard of people using vibration collars as a way to get a deaf dog's attention. My friend had a big back yard (fenced in) and if she didn't use the vibration, the dog would sniff about for a while before realizing someone was calling to her.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top