How to Train Your Deaf Dog to Stop Barking

Medium
1-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

One would think a dog that couldn't hear wouldn't be as apt to vocalize as much as a hearing dog. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily true! Dogs that are deaf may bark for a number of reasons, some the same as hearing dogs, some because of their hearing impairment. A deaf dog may bark out of increased anxiety or frustration due to their inability to hear. Even though deaf dogs cannot hear they can see, or come to associate certain activities like their owner approaching the door with someone arriving, and will bark in response to a person approaching, another dog passing by on the sidewalk, or a squirrel in a tree, the same as any other dog would. Most people train their dogs not to bark, or to stop barking, by giving verbal commands. Obviously, this will be ineffective with a deaf dog that is unable to respond to audible commands, so owners of deaf dogs need to find other ways to teach their dogs to stop barking.

Defining Tasks

When a deaf dog is barking, owners need to get their dog's attention and then provide them a non-audible command to stop barking. A dog that incessantly barks and cannot be stopped is annoying, not just to their owners, but to neighbors and anyone else within hearing distance, so being able to stop your dog from barking is an important skill. Teaching a deaf dog to stop barking is not necessarily any more difficult than teaching a hearing dog to stop barking, but it requires an alternative method to get your dog's attention, and a non-verbal command to cease barking. Many dogs do not develop deafness until they are older, and teaching an older deaf dog to stop barking is a matter of substituting a new visual or tactile command for the previous verbal command. A puppy that experiences deafness will need to be taught not to bark just like any other young dog would be taught, just with an alternative method of communicating the ‘stop barking’ signal.

Getting Started

Ensure you understand what triggers your dog to bark, so you can use these stimuli to teach your dog to stop barking. Have treats available to reward compliance and any equipment that you will use to get your dog’s attention and communicate the 'stop barking' command, such as a light source or vibrating collar. You may employ an assistant to create situations in which your dog begins barking. You will need to conduct training over several weeks, as situations in which your deaf dog barks arise and provide the opportunity for training, so you will need to have treats and tools for signaling your dog readily available and on hand at all times in order to maintain consistency.

The Signal Collar Method

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Step
1
Vibrating collar
Provide your dog with a vibrating collar to attract their attention when you want to give them a command. Note this is not a shock collar, but a collar that gently vibrates to provide tactile stimulation and get your dog’s attention. Vibrating collars are used to get a deaf dog's attention prior to providing a command in many different situations, and a deaf dog that is trained to attend to you and wait for your command, should orient to you when signaled with the vibrating collar.
Step
2
Alert
When your dog barks, wait for them to pause in their barking and then signal them with the collar to get their attention.
Step
3
Signal
Give a hand signal for ‘stop barking’ that is an alternative to a previously learned audible signal, or in a young dog, introduce a visual hand signal asking them to stop barking.
Step
4
Reward
Provide a treat immediately.
Step
5
Practice
After repeated cycles of barking, pause barking, vibrate, attend, hand signal, and treat, your dog will come to associate the ‘stop barking’ hand signal and treat provided with a cessation of their barking behavior. Going forward, you can provide the hand signal to signal your dog to stop barking if they can see you, or use the vibrating collar to get your dog’s attention followed by the visual signal.
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The Trigger Method

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Step
1
Trigger barking
Employ an assistant to create a visual stimulus that starts your deaf dog barking, such as walking by the house or approaching the door. Have your dog on a leash waiting for the event.
Step
2
Capture quiet
When the event happens and your dog starts barking, wait for them to stop, even just for a moment to catch their breath, then signal your dog with a flashlight aimed at your dog's feet and provide a treat.
Step
3
Practice
Repeat the procedure every day for a few minutes each day. Provide the light signal as soon as your dog hesitates in their barking and looks at you and provide a treat.
Step
4
Add signal
After several days of practice, when your dog has come to associate the light signal with stopping barking and getting a treat, start adding a hand signal to signal your dog to stop barking.
Step
5
Reinforce
Eventually you can use the light to get their attention and provide the ‘stop barking’ hand signal to communicate to them to stop barking. If the dog can see you, just use the hand signal without the light. Continue to practice and reinforce over a period of weeks, until you can provide just the hand signal, or get attention with the light and then hand signal your dog to cease barking.
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The Alternative Behavior Method

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Step
1
Make a place
Provide your dog with a mat or crate, where an activity such as a chew toy or puzzle feeder is present. Make sure this is a safe, positive place for him, and not associated with punishment.
Step
2
Trigger or wait for barking
Engage an assistant to create a situation where the dog barks while your dog is on a leash, or wait for your dog to bark due to boredom or frustration, and then put them on the leash.
Step
3
Signal
Give your dog a signal, such as hand signal or light signal or use a vibrating collar and then take them over to their mat or crate.
Step
4
Diversion
Once at their spot, provide a treat, toy, or chew toy, such as a rawhide bone to reward them for not barking, and provide an alternative activity to barking such as a puzzle feeder. With a toy or chew in their mouth, not only are they distracted from barking and rewarded for quiet, but having an item in their mouth makes continued barking difficult or impossible.
Step
5
Practice
Repeat this procedure frequently every day, until the signal causes your dog to stop their barking behavior and go to their target spot to receive their toy, activity or treat
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Luffy
Australian Shepherd
2 Years
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Question
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Luffy
Australian Shepherd
2 Years

[My dog ​​is a deaf]

1. My dog ​​is very pulling when walking.

2. My dog has long hair, so it's difficult to feel the vibration through the collar. So it’s difficult to train

3. My puppy has no concentration. When taking for a walk with me, he never focuses on me, only focuses on snuffing.

4. My dog ​​likes people very much and jumps a lot to people.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
667 Dog owners recommended

Hello, 1. Check out the Turns method from the article linked below. That method will use body language to help pup learn. Instead of saying heel, pat the leg on the side where pup is walking, in front of them so they can see the visual cue. Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel 2. I suggest switching collar brands to something like E-collar technologies EZ-900. That collar is a stimulation collar, but it also has adjustable vibration settings and you can change out the short prongs it comes with for longer prongs to help pup feel the vibration better. It is not the only collar that would work but look for something with various vibration intensity levels and prongs that can be switched out for longer prongs for long haired breeds. 3. The Turns method and a better vibration collar combined with teaching pup to look at you when the collar is vibrated should help the lack of concentration. Using a good vibration collar, practice vibrating the collar while inside and waving and jumping around to get pup to look your way when you do so. When pup looks your direction, toss a treat. Repeat this in calm locations until pup consistently looks with just the collar vibration. Work up to pup looking in other environments too until pup will look even when highly distracted outside. This will be a gradual process with a lot of repetition to get consistent obedience and focus - consider it a skill pup needs to practice in order to master, just like dancing and art, ect...with people. You start easy and get better as you practice and learn harder things gradually. Check out the Step Toward method from the article linked below. With family members practice that. With strangers, check out the Leash method found in the article below also. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Once pup has learned to look at you when they feel the vibration from the collar with longer prongs, then practice teaching pup commands using hand signals instead of words. When in real life, you can then vibrate to get pup to look at you, then give pup a hand signal command as needed for general training from there on out. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Frankie
Maltese Shih Tzu
2 Months
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Question
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Frankie
Maltese Shih Tzu
2 Months

Our Maltese wakes up many times each night, startled. He moves around in circles, as if he is in a panic. When I get up to stop him, he always goes to the end of the bed and waits for me to pick him up and put him on the bed. It is at that point that he calms down. Steve Swanson. [email protected]

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
91 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Is it possible for you to sleep with a fan on, or a white noise machine? If so, that would be my suggestion. Dogs can hear EVERYTHING. And if a neighbor or someone is routinely up at that time, that could be the cause.

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Question
Minnie
American bully
6 Weeks
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Question
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Minnie
American bully
6 Weeks

Hi there. I’m a little concerned my 6 weeks old puppy is deaf. She’s been with me for 5 days. She still doesn’t respond to her name. She also sleeps deeply and doesn’t wake up when called or making loud noises such as clapping hands, whistling, Kitchen blender on, etc. although sometimes I snap my fingers, and I get a little response from her ears but not always. Any advise would be appreciated. Thank you

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Beautiful! I would take Minnie for a vet checkup to explain your concerns as you have done here. The vet can decide if a hearing assessment is needed (based on your description, I'd say most likely but I am not a vet). Has Minnie had a checkup yet? I doubt this is the problem, but ear mites can block sound if the infection is bad enough. But even if you find out she is deaf, you can still train her and enjoy her. You can look for support forums online and also the vet can refer you to support. I have a dog born without eyes and she does just fine! She is well trained and has a great spirit. Good luck and all the best to you and Minnie!

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Question
Chester
Springer spaniel
13 Years
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Question
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Chester
Springer spaniel
13 Years

Hello. We have a deaf dog and recently fostered a very scared 11 year old Springer and our deaf dog barks so much at the foster dog and lunges at him quite a lot in the house. How can we stop this? Many thanks Angela

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Hello, I will direct you to a guide to read about helping a dog accept a new dog in the home: https://wagwalking.com/training/accept-a-new-dog. All of the methods are good but in particular, the Respect the Resident Method points out that Chester's routine must be keep the same - remember, this is a big change to his world. The What Not to Do Method has very good pointers on the safety of both dogs. Of course, it is fine to command Chester to not lunge at the new dog - it is a fine balance between understanding the position of both dogs in this situation. The following guide is called Accept a Puppy but the concept can be carried over to the Springer and Chester. (Not the clicker method, of course.) Good luck!

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Henry
American Pit Bull Terrier
1 Year
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Henry
American Pit Bull Terrier
1 Year

Henry is a deaf dog and he’s overall a good boy, one of the things we are having trouble with is getting his attention. Whether at home or during a walk. I don’t really like the idea of a vibrating collar and would much rather have him know to keep eye contact with me frequently. Thank you!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
667 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brandon, To teach pup to automatically check in with you often, whenever pup is looking in your general direction throughout the day, way your arms or make a motion that causes pup to look at your. When pup looks at you, toss a treat. Repeat this until pup is watching for you to make a motion and get a treat. When pup is checking in and watching for the motion, stop making the motion, but if pup looks at you anyway, toss a treat. Carry treats with you in your pocket in a small ziplock bag throughout the day, so that you will be ready to toss one whenever pup looks your way. Overtime, doing this should condition pup to automatically looking at you frequently. Practice this in a variety of environments, and eventually around distractions - starting with small distractions like a second person in the room, and progressing to harder ones like squirrels in the yard or other dogs walking past - as pup improves. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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