We often think of dogs as being creature that are inherently keen of hearing. They’re able to pick up on the tiniest noises and even hear in sound ranges beyond our own ability to detect. It’s almost like a superpower!
Did you know, though, that dogs can be deaf just like humans? It’s true. Much like us, dogs can be born or become deaf through genetic defects, disease, or injury. This in no way impairs their ability to enjoy a full, long life and act just like any other dog, but it can bring about its own unique set of challenges.
That’s why the last week of September is set aside as Deaf Dog Awareness Week! It’s not only a time to educate yourself on the issues surrounding deaf dogs but also to promote the adoption of deaf dogs across the country.
So what should you know about deaf dogs (and potentially adopting one)?
First off, know that deaf dogs don’t suffer from any lack of intelligence or physical ability. Just because they can’t hear doesn’t mean they can’t function normally. They’ll make all the same noises and have the same behaviors as a hearing dog.
Deaf dogs also don’t require a “hearing companion,” i.e. a dog that can hear normally to guide them around or otherwise keep them safe. Dogs have numerous other senses they can rely on beyond hearing in order to navigate the wide and wonderful world.
Deaf dogs are also fully trainable! They can pick up on sign-language commands quite well and will become visually cued to your actions–just like any other dog.
The main warning of note with a deaf dog is that they should never be allowed to freely roam outside. Since they can’t hear, they aren’t always aware of cars or other dangers that might sneak up on them. If outside, they should either be supervised at all times, leashed, or contained by a fence.
Have you ever wondered if your dog is deaf or not? Here are a few simple ways to test this:
- Call your dog in a normal voice
- Jangle keys or coins while standing behind your dog
- Whistle for your dog from across the yard
- Have someone ring your home’s doorbell
- Squeeze a squeaky toy across the room for your dog
If your dog fails to respond to these various auditory signals, it might indicate partial or complete deafness. If you’d like more information on deaf dogs, be sure to visit the Deaf Dog Education Action Fund website. There you’ll find plenty of helpful resources plus see the many ways you can contribute to the fund’s efforts to support deaf dogs and their owners across the world.
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