Thursday, September 18, 2014

National Deaf Dog Awareness Week September 21-27

The week of September 21-27 is recognized as National Deaf Dog Awareness Week and Pet Health Market is joining in to help raise awareness for these pets and correct myths about ownership of deaf dogs. Just like humans, the loss of a dog’s sense of hearing can be attributed to many different causes. Some examples are that they were born deaf, experienced a bad ear infection, an injury to the ear or a dog may experience hearing loss due to old age.

The truth is, deaf dogs live long, happy lives and fulfill the lives of their human owners just as much as hearing dogs. They don’t get afraid of thunderstorms or fireworks, and since they can’t hear, you are free to listen to your rock music as loud as you want while running the vacuum cleaner!

One of the deaf dog myths we need to debunk first is that they become startled easier, thus making them become aggressive over time. This has long been a myth of deaf dogs and maybe no other myth has caused more damage to them. Truthfully, a deaf dog adapts to their hearing loss and is comfortable with their surroundings. Deaf dog owners recommend desensitizing pets to the startle effect by touching them then immediately giving a treat. This way they associate an unexpected touch with a positive experience and treats. When waking up on a sleeping, deaf dog, it’s recommended you put your hand in front of the nose allowing them to smell you, then slowly touch and pat the dog awake.

The “more likely to be hit by a car” myth states that because a dog with hearing loss cannot hear an approaching car, they are more likely to be hit and killed than a hearing dog. The problem we have with this myth is that it implies all dog owners allow their dog to run around without a leash and that all dogs will bolt first chance they get. The truth is that no dog should ever be allowed to run free without a leash and that no dog is born with the association that an approaching car and horn means danger.

The final myth we’d like to debunk is that “deaf dogs are incredibly hard to train” due to the fact they’re unable to respond to verbal commands. Fact is, dogs are incredibly in-tune with an owner’s body language, making visual signals more effective than voice commands. Unfortunately, a deaf dog has a harder time getting adopted because of this myth but all it takes are different training methods that focus on visual cues. There are plenty of resources online on how to train a deaf dog. 

We hope by reading this blog post you had some of your deaf dog myths debunked! If you or anyone you know has some extra love to give to a disabled pet, please pass on these adoption sites: