Monday, October 13, 2014

When a deaf dog is a good listener

Daria came to us with an unusual name, and none of my friends and family who have met her could remember it. So they ended up calling her variations on Delia, Doria, Dorito, and Dahlia. It's hard to motivate to decide on a name for a deaf dog; after all, you're not going to be calling her. But you do need a way to refer to her, and for a foster dog you need something catchy that will make would-be adopters stop and take a look.  

I like Dahlia; it's a bit smoother and more feminine than Daria and so that one has stuck.  

Dahlia is really settling in with us--she is very attached to me and Florian and has adjusted well to our routine. She is still a wacky little pill in the evenings, though she settles down more quickly for sure. The other night, she was pestering me and barking and without thinking I told her to Sit! and that little butt hit the floor faster than I've ever seen it on any of my dogs or past foster dogs who could hear perfectly fine. 

It was almost as if she could hear.

But I think what really happened is that she is very tuned in, very treat motivated, and very eager to please. She sat just because she is a smart little thing who thought it was a good bet that a Sit would bring a treat.

For me it just brought home a little more how not a big deal her deafness is. In a few short weeks she has been readily and easily trained in the basics--and she's got them down better than many of the hearing dogs I've had. 

So proud of my little deaf piglet-pill!


  1. I've never had a deaf dog but I've heard from friends that their other senses more than make up for their inability to hear sound waves.

  2. Our Ping is deaf from old age and we had no idea because she so keenly picks up on signals from us and our other dogs we only realized when we returned home once from an outing with the other dogs and she was asleep and did not wake up when we came in the door. Her deafness really causes her no issues she is able to get along and do very well

    retro rover

  3. Daria reminds me of the moody girl from that MTV show. I like Dahlia, it sounds happy! I love how in tuned deaf dogs can be. When Kaya & Norman were young, I taught them using a lot of hand signals and eye contact. I think it really helped them learn to pay attention to me, read my body language and helped us bond. I wouldn't be surprised if deaf dogs learn to read lips too!

  4. Very interesting and very cool! I have always wanted to have a deaf dog someday and I don't really know why, but everything I hear about them is inspirational.

    I like Daliah too. Sounds like you are going to have a blast with her! Keep telling us more. :)

  5. I've had a blind dog before, but never a deaf dog. She is so cute!

    Monty and Harlow

  6. Names are really important for people. Any word could be used as an attention-getter. But names draw us to animals. I think Dahlia is a nice choice.

    But it makes me wonder: should we develop a hand signal for deaf dogs that works like a name. Do you do something like that to signal to Dahlia to pay attention to you?

  7. I chuckled as I read about the name issue. As with our deaf boy him whatever you want - he can't hear ya! I think that deaf dogs are so much more aware of their people and look for the non-verbal clues which makes them seem so smart. Or maybe, they just are!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.