Training Deaf and Blind Dogs
Training dogs with special needs, just like any other dog, is all about consistency and managing your expectations. The type of training you do will vary depending on the impairments your dog has.
If you have a deaf dog, you can communicate through visual cues or hand signals. Some dog owners will learn Sign Language and others make up their own signs. There’s no right or wrong as long as you are consistent. If your dog is blind, you can still use your verbal commands and combine them with touch signals. If your dog is both deaf and blind, you will want to train by using solely touch commands or tactile cues.
Living with Deaf and Blind Dogs
Living with special needs dogs is about ensuring that you support them the best way possible. You may need to take some preventative measures or make some adjustments to their environment and lifestyle activities, but it doesn’t mean that you stop going out and exploring the world with your dog, or moving your furniture.
Michelle’s dog, Diesel is fully blind. He has a Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which is a recessively inherited disease that destroys the retina over time and currently there is no cure for it. Michelle shares her tips on ‘How to Blind Dog Proofing’ the house. Read here.
Alma is a rescue deaf dog and Laura (Alma’s mum) always keeps things very predictable for her. She knows exactly how her day will play out. She knows the routine leading up to food time, where her water is, when is walking time and all the hand cues to help her get through life. Laura also makes sure she can always see Alma because she can’t call Alma to her. Read Alma and Laura’s story here.
Marilyn is both deaf and blind because of her double merle gene. Spending an afternoon with Marilyn, you’ll easily forget her disabilities, watching the way she navigates her surroundings. Ann (Marilyn’s mum) creates tactile and scent markers around the house to help Marilyn identify each room, steps, doorways etc. Read Marilyn’s story here.
Products that can help Deaf and Blind Dogs
These Dog Days has compiled and reviewed products, accessories and toys for blind and deaf dogs, as recommended by their community of blind and deaf dog owners.
These products help dogs with a range of vision impairments such as Glaucoma, Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome (SARDS), Cataracts, Diabetes and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). See products.