5 Myths About Deaf Dogs

IMG_1987 copyIf you're thinking about adding a deaf dog to the family, or you already have, you will find that there is very limited information on the internet for you. A lot of it is conflicting and confusing. One site will tell you something, and another will say the complete opposite. So what is true and what is false?

Owning a deaf double merle has allowed me to meet and talk to many owners who have deaf and/or blind dogs and we often talk about some of the crazy myths we see and the even crazier things people say to us. I just wanna debunk some of those myths so you don't feel so discouraged. So here are 5 things that I hear people ask pretty frequently because they've read it somewhere and believe it must be true.

1. Deaf dogs startle easier and are more likely to bite.

Any dog is capable of biting. It's ability to hear should be irrelevant. If a dog is sleeping and suddenly startled awake, it can be spooked and bite unknowingly. Respect should be used for every dog. If your dog is sleeping, kindly pet them to wake them up. Don't be rough or frightening and you'll never be in that situation. A deaf dog is not more likely to startle or bite than any other dog.

2. Deaf dogs must live life on a leash.

I can't say this is a complete myth because in reality most people do not train their dogs recall well enough to be off leash. A deaf dog who doesn't have a perfect recall is more of a safety risk than a hearing dog just because they can't hear cars or other hazards that could be around them. However, it's 100% possible to train a deaf dog to be off leash. This goes back to teaching a "watch me" and "come" command. If your deaf dog knows to look to you for a command, they won't go far. We took a hiking trip this spring. Keller was off leash 85% of the trip. I snapped this photo of her climbing ahead and stopping to turn and check that it was okay to go on.

3. Deaf dogs are hard to train.

Personally, I think deaf dogs are easier to train than hearing dogs. They can't hear distractions! You can freely work in the back yard and you won't have to worry about your dog being distracted by neighbors, sirens, kids, or anything. Also, as discussed before, your deaf dog will learn that they have to look at you for commands, so the focus on you will be amazing!

4. Deaf dogs don't bark.

Sometimes I wish this were a myth, but it's not! Deaf dogs definitely bark. Deaf and mute are two totally separate things. Most of the deafies I've met are more vocal than their hearing family members.

5. Deaf dogs don't have a good quality of life.

It's a sad reality that deafness is looked down upon when it comes to dogs. Deaf dogs in shelters don't stand a chance compared to their hearing counterparts. People think that they can't live normally, but it's so far from the truth. Deaf people live normal lives, so do dogs!


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Positively Expert: Amanda Fuller

Amanda, with her dog Keller, are deaf dog advocates, doing everything they can to remove the stigma around owning special need pets. Do you know what a double merle is? Amanda can tell you.


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2 thoughts on “5 Myths About Deaf Dogs

  1. Ellen

    I'd love to see an article on ways to improve a blind dogs quality of life too or Myths around owning a blind dog. Not much info on those types of dogs either sadly.

  2. BigWhiteDog

    My deaf boy barks! He's an LGD breed and he knows his job. He may not be barking at the right things but he barks! lol He also has training issues but that is more because he is "not all there" shall we say. He's a great dog though and we love the heck out of him.

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