Hello!!  I am so very glad to hear from you.  There is so much to say about loving and living with a deaf pup that I can only begin here.  What I know for absolute certainty is that I would not trade my life with my deaf pups for anything in the world!!
        The best advice I can give anyone with a deaf pup, child, friend, or relative is to establish a solid method of communication.  COMMUNICATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS!!!!!!!  I bought a pocket-sized book on American Sign Language.  I did not know ASL prior to adopting my male, Hogan.  I chose human sign language because there are a great number of folks who know at least a bit of sign.  Also, when I had to leave the pups with a sitter or the vet, I merely had to leave the handbook or make copies of the important ones.  That made it possible for them to talk with my pups without a great deal of instruction - critical in sudden situations!!  My pups were also never left in a totally "silent" environment - someone could always talk to them.  I also had a deaf female, Georgia, and they both (along with my hearing black lab) understood many signs and short sentences. (I used over 60 signs with them.)  It was wonderful.  You could see them watching my hands and face for messages, and they loved to be signed to.  They were so intent!!!


        I started through simple repetition. "Sit" is great to start along with "cookie."  Believe me - once your pup puts together cookie and the reward, you will be off and running!!!!  Keep it simple and always use a sign for what you want.


        Deaf pups are smart - most pups are - and they learn.  They are physical in nature and naturally watch for signals and body language.


        My pups loved to ride in the car and when I signed "car," they ran for the door. "Kiss" was fun and going for a "walk" met with approval.  "Potty" (I used the sign for toilet which is simply the letter "T") is great.  I signed it every time I took them out to go potty, and they knew I meant business, especially if it was late and I wanted to go to "bed."


        Repetition was how I trained my pups to sign - instead of using the spoken word, I used the sign for the word and then had my pups do what I wanted or needed them to do.


        Be gentle, patient, and very positive.


        Reward, never punish.  The more you reward, the more the pup will respond.  This is how I did all my training.


        Socialization is also extremely important - and never stop.  It must be continuous!!!!!  Let others give treats!!!  This will make meeting someone a wonderful experience for your pups.


        Desensitization to scary situations (such as being startled or awakened suddenly) is a must and must be done with care, patience, and a slow pace.


        Praise is crucial; touch is essential; and massage works wonders.




                AND . . . remember that a tired dog is a good dog!!!
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