Dogs can lose their hearing or even become completely deaf when they get older. You may start to notice that your once alert pet stops responding to the ring of the doorbell or seems to be ignoring you when you talk to him. To deal with his hearing loss, you will have to find other ways of communicating with your pooch. You will also have to take additional safety measures as he can easily miss dangers in his newly “quiet” world.
When you have a dog that’s hearing impaired, it becomes more important than ever to keep him on a leash whenever you go outside, as he may wander off and not be able to hear you when you call for him. Worse, he can wander into traffic and not be able to hear car noises or horns honking.
Hence, you will also need to find new ways of getting your dog’s attention. Sometimes a sharp sound such as clapping your hands works when you’re near him. Otherwise, you will have to get his attention either visually or by touching him. Your pet may be easily startled if you touch him, so it may be best to catch his attention visually first. Each dog is different, so you will have to figure out how yours reacts.
It’s a good idea to use hand commands that your pooch may already know. Or you can come up with some hand signals that work for you both. You will need hand commands for sit, come, lie down, and anything else you want your dog to do. Exactly what you do with your hands is up to you. Find the gestures that work for you, and be sure to use them consistently and praise your dog (a yummy treat or a good petting will do) whenever he responds correctly.
Remember to be gentle and understanding with your pet’s hearing loss. He is adapting to a new, silent world, and it’s certainly scary for him to suddenly notice someone at the door when he didn’t hear the doorbell or see you speaking but not hear your voice. Maintain a positive outlook when you communicate with your dog via hand commands and keep supporting him – you’ll find that your bond with each other will deepen even more.