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Old 09-10-2008, 10:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry Training tips for deaf dogs, boxer or otherwise

This was sent to me by a member, Andrea(Hulk) and I really appreciate the tips, thought everyone who has or may be considering a deaf Boxer might get some help from these tips of hers

Quick Tips for Living with a Deaf Dog
Written by: Andrea Flinn

1. Clear concise communication. ASL handbooks can be helpful along with basic obedience hand signals. Be creative with your own. One hand sign seems to be most effective. Create a collective handbook of your signals so that others may communicate with your dog or if you are absent communication is not lost. By the age of 1 your deaf dog should know approximately 20 vocabulary words(signs) and continue to increase with age.

*hint-I always tap Storm in the same spot when I am wanting her to communicate with me. Tapping her in the same spot one lets the dog know to watch you and secondly that you are needing to communicate. I tap Storm 2 times lightly on her left shoulder. Then give her the sign for “watch me” so that I have her full attention to say what needs to be communicated. Consistency and repetition are key.

2. Use only positive Reinforcement for both training and disciplining the dog. Never use your hands to physically punish. Your hands are the only line of talking so don’t create a negative line of communication. Instead use “time out” in a crate or spare bedroom that is age appropriate.

*hint-young deaf dogs need a ton of redirection. Instead of always using the “no” hand signal for Storm I would re-direct her towards something she could do or have. For example, your dog starts chewing on something not intended for them. Show them a toy, give them their signal for “toy”, and when they take the toy reward with the “good job” signal. Always telling them no can be frustrating for deaf dogs so use no only when necessary.

3.Provided safety. If you cannot be home have safe place for your deaf dog. Kennels or crates are often good ideas for deaf dog, unless you have another dog. Deaf dogs often experience separation anxiety in different ways then their hearing counterparts which is normal just be aware. Make sure the backyard fence is secure. Be very vigilant if you take your deaf dog to off leash parks.

*hint-I have a special collar that lets people know that Storm is deaf. Storm wears the collar to the park. Also, on her name tag it states “I’m Deaf”.
Please microchip your deaf dog. If you can’t afford it here is a place that does it very cheap and sometimes free!

4. Work on Startle Response. This is one of the biggest myths about deaf dogs is that they get scared easy then turn aggressive. Of coarse if deaf dog has not had much human contact or training this may be true. Give your dog massages, touch them everywhere. When they are sleeping wake them purposely NOT abruptly. Place your fingers in front of their nose and your scent will waken them. Some like to use vibrations to wake or by running your hand next to bedding they are sleeping on, eventually the feel the vibrations. Use positive touch whenever you can, if you feel your touching them a lot that’s good. Socialize your dog.

Hint: Don’t allow strangers to walk up behind your dog or “maul” your dog. Let unfamiliar people know the dog is deaf and approach softly and let your dog decide what kind of attention they desire. I do walk up behind Storm and she is fine with it, you really have to figure out what feels good to your dog. Sometimes it is trial and error.

5. Socialize! It is so important to show your deaf dog something new as often as possible. New places, new people, new smells, socialize with new dogs. Don’t force them into a situation that they are hesitant of but do provide new stimulus as much as possible.

Hint: I always let people know if they want to stop and say hi that Storm is deaf. With her back to me she will be looking at them for communication prompts so I often ask the person to stand next to me instead of across from me. Secondly, I don’t set her up for failure. I know kids are her weakness, she loves them! If a child wants to say hi, I bend down to hold her from jumping(even though she knows no jumping) I want meet and greets to always be positive for both parties.

6. Include your deaf dog in the family. Of coarse if you adopt a deaf dog they are in your family but make them a part of the pack. With hearing dogs you take certain abilities for granted. For example, leaving the room. Always give your deaf dog a signal that you are leaving the room. Even if they are sleeping! There is nothing worse then a deaf dog waking up alone. Give your deaf dogs the same commands as your hearing dog. Time to eat, time to potty, time to play etc. Give them the confidence and allow them to feel included.

Hint-I learned this one the hard way. I taught my other boxer Hulk to “go get” Storm if she were in the other room, outside not wanting to come in etc. Storm quickly taught me she wasn’t happy communicating through Hulk, she wanted me to know I wasn’t giving her a chance and that she was indeed capable.

7. Be sensitive to things that may scare them. I always noticed that at bedtime Storm was so anxious, she hated to sleep alone. Well of coarse, it was dark, she couldn’t see well and can’t hear, how scary! We use a night light or we allow her to sleep with us. In times of medical needs be sensitive to e-collars or other vision blocking objects. Remember they rely on their other senses and impairing that is very scary for deaf dogs.

8. Know your facts. Be able to separate the myths concerning deaf dogs. Especially those concerning the white boxers. They are not rare or novelties, genetics 101-you breed two flashy dogs the probability of getting a white is very high. They are not albinos. They are not all deaf. In fact there are 2 genes that cause deafness and it affects the flashy boxers as well. White boxers should not be bred, due the possibility of passing on the gene(lets save breeding for the professionals). White boxers do sunburn so do use preventative (I prefer waterproof children sun block). Be an educator, the general public is fascinated with white boxers. White boxers are just as healthy, smart, and playful as fawns, brindles, or reverse brindles.

Hint-Take your white boxer to public place to teach others, be an ambassador for the breed.

9. Be Vigilant in public. It was very important for me to socialize Storm but I was not going to do it at her cost. Dog parks can be great and horrible at the same time. We very aware of dog behavior, read some good books on the subject. Do not allow dogs to gang up or play to rough with your deaf dog. Dogs can sense abnormalities and some dogs will try to dominate. If you notice a dog being dominant take your dog out of the situation immediately. If anyone has a problem with it explain to them your dog is deaf and cannot hear the verbal cues a hearing dog can. I do not allow a dog to even growl at Storm. Even if the owner says, “Oh, Bingo is just playing”. Too bad I have learned that dog parks can bring irresponsible owners and with that you must be a responsible owner. One that is vigilant about your deaf dogs experience in public.

10. Be ready to learn! Be ready to read and seek knowledge. Having a deaf dog own me, keeps me constantly reading and seeking resources to help Storm. Know your limitations, if you are having a tough time training or breaking the communication gap get a trainer. Definitely share your stories through dog forums so that you meet others who can relate. More than that you will learn from each other. Knowledge is power, spread the word!

Hint- here are some helpful resources that helped me

Living With a Deaf Dog by Susan Cope Becker

The Other End of the Leash by Patricia Mcconnell

Dog Trainer Nancy is great dog trainer and has worked with deaf dogs

Dog Forums
Boxer specific
*I have yet to find a deaf forum that I like


Articles ... 570-1.html ... Page1.html ... boxers.htm

Info on vibrating collars

--WILLOW---Owned by *Angel 8/8/05 & Flick 3/8/08
Samson, waiting at the bridge 8/27/08

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Old 09-10-2008, 04:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Training tips for deaf dogs, boxer or otherwise

This was very interesting Willow, so I'm giving it a bump!!
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Old 09-23-2008, 08:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Training tips for deaf dogs, boxer or otherwise

That is great info - my last dog started going deaf in old age and I used the knowledge I had from my work experience with kids to adapt it to my dog - this info would have been a great help.

I have had to adapt the same training of children with special needs to Arbie but it would be of great help to me if someone already had some experiences with a dog.
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Training tips for deaf dogs, boxer or otherwise

ooh thank you for bumping this!! *i totally missed this thread!!!

thank you hulk!! *i love that site *who would have thought they have DD collars.

as i told you earlier today skiddy has some vision problems as well. *i tried to test her blue eye to see if she is totally blind in that eye, but she wouldn't hold still. *i'll try to get my son or paul to help me tommorow when she is calmer.

i will say, even with all the work involved with deaf dogs, the rewards are just so gratifying. *not *a chore to take lightly though. *paul and i are usually here 24/7 so skidmark gets alot of attention. *

when she was at the pound, she was picked up loose with her brother a yorkie. *the lady that didn't bother to come get them said she was tired of them getting out (idjiot) so i know skiddy was on her own alot. *i don't know how she survived loose!! *she was only about 5-6 mo old when i got her.

andrea i would LOVE to have you live near me. *where we are located, if a trainer isn't it town, it's too difficult to commute to OKC gaswise.

i'll keep plugging away at it! *even my hearing dogs are lacking training lol! *skiddy is well cared for though and although her needs don't come first above the others, paul and i both secretly sneak her more lovins heheh
Old 09-23-2008, 10:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Training tips for deaf dogs, boxer or otherwise

omg is THIS the truth! *sleep thru anything

Old 09-24-2008, 12:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Training tips for deaf dogs, boxer or otherwise

Deaf dogs do get the best sleep!
I loved it when Felix was a pup and we could come home from work and let him continue to sleep in his crate and get some peace ourselves until he woke up!
Delilah: 8 years, docked and floppy. Felix: 2 years, docked, floppy and deaf.
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