Soon, we’ll all be heading outdoors for the standard fall activities: hiking, camping, playing in the leaves and more. As we all head out to enjoy the great outdoors, it’s important to remember that soon we’ll celebrate another National Deaf Dog Awareness Week, from September 20 – September 26.
Signs Of Ear Or Hearing Problems With Your Dog
According to The Bark, if your dog experiences the following, it could be a sign of deafness or another ear condition that should be evaluated by your veterinarian:
- Inattentiveness or change in obedience
- Inability or confusion when following familiar vocal commands
- Prolonged barking
- Difficulty waking up
- Repetitive head shaking or tilting toward side of affected ear
- Painful ears or smelly discharge from ears
- Change in personality
Myths and Facts About Deaf Dogs (from deafdogsrock.com)
- Myth: Deaf dogs are more aggressive than hearing dogs.
Fact: Data suggests that congenitally (born) deaf or blind dogs are significantly less likely to display aggression than their hearing or seeing counterparts – in fact, 20% less! This data can change perceptions and the lives of deaf dogs everywhere. The next time someone tells you that deaf dogs are more aggressive and dangerous, share this fact and take charge of that conversation.
- Myth: The only way to train a deaf dog is with hand signs.
Fact: False. Though using hand signs to train and communicate with a deaf dog is very common, one alternative is to communicate with physical prompts or “touch training”. In fact, according to some research, touch training is used almost as frequently by deaf dog pet parents as hand signs. Touch training involves touching the dog on different parts of the body or in different ways (1 tap, 2 taps, a short directional pet, etc.) to communicate different commands. One example she shared was teaching a deaf dog that a rub along the chin means to “come”.
- Myth: Deaf dogs are more likely to experience separation anxiety.
Fact: No significant differences in frequency of separation anxiety was noted between deaf and hearing dogs. That said some theorize that the reasons for separation anxiety in deaf and hearing dogs is different. One primary cause of anxiety for deaf dogs is waking up or looking up from a really interesting dust bunny he’s playing with and realizing that his person has disappeared, whether that’s into a different room or from the house altogether. In these circumstances, the deaf dog will go hunt for his person and, once found, will frequently return to what he was doing and relax. A hearing dog with separation anxiety, generally, has more to do with being left alone. For deaf dogs, it’s more of a case of “Where are you?” causing stress rather than, “Why am I alone?” One workaround is to notify your deaf dog when you leave a room. When this is done, deaf dogs do not seem to exhibit behavior similar to separation anxiety. Of course, every dog is different, but this is a good rule of thumb.
- Myth: Deaf dogs don’t bark.
Fact: Ask any owner of a deaf dog – this couldn’t be more false! In fact, excessive barking was reported by deaf dog pet parents much more frequently in comparison to hearing dogs. Barking is just one self-stimulatory behavior that deaf dogs are more prone to engage in.
- Myth: All deaf dogs are easily startled
Fact: True and False. Deaf dogs, depending on his or her individual personality and his personal life experiences could be more prone to startling when touched. The circumstances of being touched also plays a big factor into any startling behavior. That said, any dog- hearing, deaf or blind- can startle. Strategic desensitization to startle responses can significantly reduce or eliminate this unwanted behavior, so it’s something to work toward.
- Myth: Talking or using your voice to communicate with a deaf dog is pointless.
Fact: EXTREMELY FALSE! When humans speak, our body language and our facial expressions change, communicating a whole lot more information to our deaf dogs than we may even realize.
- Myth: Dogs born deaf are the result of irresponsible breeders.
Fact: True & False! Improper breeding is just one cause of deafness in dogs.The other most frequent cause of congenital deafness in dogs is related to a lack of pigmentation of the skin, not the coat. A significant lack of skin pigmentation cause nerve endings in the inner ear to atrophy soon after birth. When this happens, the puppy is left completely or partially deaf in one or both ears. Since puppy ears don’t open up for the first week or so of life, these dogs frequently never hear.
- Myth: Deaf dogs are more bonded to their human than hearing dogs.
Fact: Some research reveals that deaf dog can exhibit a higher degree of attachment, physical and otherwise, to their human caretaker. This supports the anecdotal experience of deaf dog pet parents who frequently refer to our deafies as “velcro dogs”.
- Myth: Deaf dogs bark funny.
Fact: Hilariously (sweetly) true. Research has found that a deaf dog’s bark is a combination of excitement and frustration. As deaf dogs are less adept at picking up and learning social cues from other dogs (another interesting finding!) and because their deafness affects their ability to adjust the way in which they bark, deaf dogs tend to have a funny-sounding bark. If a deaf dog does have any residual hearing, it tends to be isolated to higher pitched sounds. Taken together, deaf dogs do tend to have a unique bark! Spend some time with several deaf dogs and you’ll quickly learn “the telltale sound”.
- Myth: Hearing dogs adapt their behavior to accommodate a deaf dog.
Fact: False. Most professionals believe that hearing dogs can tell that something is different about a deaf dog, but have found that they typically do not adapt their behavior to accommodate this difference.
Treat a deaf dog in your life
Here’s where Remy’s Kitchen comes in – we want to make the day of a deaf dog in your life! Consider rewarding them with Remy’s Kitchen goodies. Not only will it make their day, but we think their owners may feel the love too!