Questions to Ask Yourself Before Getting a Deaf Puppy Or Dog

By Karen A. Soukiasian

All too often, people make the mistake of letting their emotions override logic and rational when getting any puppy or dog. It's cute or it has a sad face or it had a terrible life. The motivations are endless. However, the choice to include a deaf pet into your life must be a lucid decision.

As it is, including a puppy or new dog into your family can be a challenge. Add to that, the fact you will have to go out of your way to learn a variety of ways to communicate with it may test your well-meaning commitment and well-worn patience. For the animal's sake before you even consider a deaf pet, ask yourself a few questions.

The most important question is, am I willing to make a lifetime commitment to this animal? This is not going to be a walk in the park. It will require more time, patience and creativity than trying to train and live with a "normal" pet. Do you have what it takes?

Then ask yourself:

Do I have the patience? A deaf pet may not be defiant; it just may not be aware you are trying to communicate with it or simply not understand what you want. Will you have the patience to know the difference?

Will I be consistent? As with any puppy or dog, consistency is important. Whatever signs you teach your pet must be consistent. This holds true for the entire family too!

Am I willing to learn American Sign Language? The majority owners of deaf dogs use a combination of ASL signs, as well as unique ones they have created. The important thing is being consistent. Another promise the entire family must agree to!

Am I willing to have a companion dog? Many owners find having a dog that can hear, is an invaluable aid in living with and training their deaf pet. Often, the hearing dog instinctively becomes the deaf dog's service dog!

Am I willing and will I remember to at all times, carry the necessary tools; such as a flashlight or laser penlight? Your lapse could be a matter of life or death to your deaf pet.

Am I willing to put in the additional time needed to socialize my dog? Deaf dogs can be prone to being more aggressive than most hearing dogs. If not properly trained and socialized, they could be a liability. Their aggression is often their only defense mechanism. They may startle and assume a more offensive behavior, merely as means of survival. Will you be willing to attend positive reinforcement, punishment-free obedience classes, to learn how to bond with your pet yet, maintain your leadership status? Will you be willing to socialize your dog as much as possible? Field trips to new places for positive experiences is very important? The more positive experiences they have with new people and other dogs, the happier and better adjusted they will be.

Bottom line: There is no reason why you cannot enjoy the next 10-15 years with your deaf dog, if you can honestly answer yes to the above questions. Congratulations, you are on your way to the rewarding experience of sharing your life with a grateful dog. Your enthusiasm and dedication most likely saved their life! Don't think they don't know and appreciate it.

Karen A. Soukiasian
Article by Karen A. Soukiasian
Karen A. Soukiasian, GOOD DOG! - DOG TRAINING and BED-n-BISCUITS dog boarding and training - Owner/Trainer, St. Augustine, Florida - AKC CANINE GOOD CITIZEN and S.T.A.R. PUPPY Evaluator. Visit my website at: and my page at Facebook.

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