- Remember: "Come" may be the most important sign you teach your pup. It could save your pup’s life.
- Again, teaching the recall is the same for a deaf dog as for a hearing one – you just have to get his attention first and make coming to you the best thing in the world!! This is when you use the most delectable treat of all!! (Of course it must be one that will not hurt your pup.) I use small pieces of chicken. My husband uses small pieces of roast beef. The only times we use these treats are when we are teaching our pups to come. It’s got to be special.
- Teaching the sign for cookie helps, too. If I sign "cookie," they come running.
4. How do I begin to desensitize my deaf pup from being startled?
- To desensitize my pups from being startled, I would gently walk up behind them when they didn't know I was there and touch them. When they saw me, I would give a vigorous rub down. Of course, each pup is different and will accept "vigorous" at different starting points. My boy, Hogan, took months to accept "vigorous." My girl, Georgia, accepted it immediately. But, keep at it. I also would wake them out of sound sleep. I started by patting the bed or area they were sleeping. Add suddenness and make your patting gradually harder. Again, be patient and work slowly. Do not expect it to take only a few days. You can add a favorite reward when you awaken or "startle" your pup - make it something that is delicious and saved for this training. Confidence and feeling safe takes time. Remember that the saying, "Let a sleeping dog lie," started with our hearing pups. We need to desensitize all our pups from being startled when sleeping or at any time. I also took walks and asked many people to approach from the front and give treats. Because Hogan was untrained and unsocialized for the first 18 months of his life, it took me much longer to desensitize him to sudden movements. By the time I completed that training, I could just about "bounce" on him, and he didn't care. Slow, gentle, consistent, continuous training, loving, and rewarding will work wonders.
- I also recommend that you exercise your pup at least twice a day in active, aerobic fun - something he or she absolutely loves to do. Just playing at will in the yard doesn't count. I played Frisbee, ran them in lure coursing, or on our mini agility course, and took them on brisk walks. My pups bonded closer to me than I ever imagined they would. Many deaf pups bond tighter, love harder, and learn quicker. The rewards are awesome.