Blog - Dog Training News & Tips

Recall for the Deaf Dog

5th February 2014

It is so important for dogs to be able to run off lead, safely and that includes dogs that are deaf.

With a dog that is deaf you have to be a bit more careful about where you allow off lead exercise as you don’t have that emergency recall option and you might need to keep your dog closer than you would a hearing dog.

When you start to let your dog off lead, regardless of whether the dog can hear or not, you should encourage your dog not to go too far away from you and teach your dog to keep an eye on you. If you have a dog that regularly checks in with you then you have lots of opportunity to call your dog back to you. Every time you do, make it worth his while.

Before letting your dog off lead, make sure you have spent a lot of time teaching your dog to check in with you for everything it wants and needs in life. Checking in for survival and communication should be an offered behaviour not a ‘watch me’ command.
Spend plenty of time playing with your dog. Make you the centre of your dog’s universe.

When you are around the house teach your dog to come to you every time you wave your arms around. Make sure you have a treat or something special to make your dog want to come to you. Be exciting.

It doesn’t matter what gestures you make as your recall command as long as you are consistent, your dog can see what you are doing from a distance and understand it.

So, your dog now realises it needs you in order to survive and have a good time in life so when you first let your dog off the lead, having asked for a sit and given a release command, you then need to turn around and walk in the other direction.

If you have spent enough time getting focus and motivation from your dog, it won’t be long before your dog looks around to see where you are and when he sees you walking away from him, he will come running after you. As he runs towards you, turn and call him in, waving your arms in an excited fashion. Why not jump up and down too. Give a release command to send him off again.

Repeat this exercise but don’t always turn and call your dog back in as he comes to you, sometimes just keep walking, give him a stroke when he gets to you, then change direction again. The more you change direction when you are out walking with your dog the more he will keep an eye on you.

Playing hide and seek with your deaf dog should be done with caution as you don’t have the back up of calling them if they panic when they can’t find you.

If you follow your dog, round the same park every day any dog, hearing or otherwise will soon learn he doesn’t need to keep any eye on you and he will wander off and do his own thing returning when he is ready.

A long training line can be helpful if you are anxious. You can leave it trailing (ensuring you keep a close eye on your dog to avoid injury), then if you need to you have a back-up for catching your dog.

Just like letting any dog off the lead for the first time, find somewhere your dog is safe, somewhere you feel comfortable and make sure your dog is hungry.

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