There’s something special about dogs. Perhaps it’s their unwavering loyalty and devotion or their unique ability to read our emotions and body language. Maybe it’s the way they inspire joy in our lives every single day. Whatever the case, the bond between human and canine is awe-inspiring.
When most of us look at our dogs, we only see their inner light, and this is never more apparent than with deaf dogs. Unfortunately, deaf dog myths abound in our culture, but in reality, dogs of any ability level can lead happy, productive lives. At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we’ve set out to dispel the top 5 deaf dog myths and to show our readers what these often misunderstood pets can do.
Top 5 Deaf Dog Myths
- Deaf dogs don’t bark. Deaf does not mean mute, and deaf dogs have the same vocalization abilities as hearing dogs. Although they may not bark in response to noise-related stimuli (such as thunder or fireworks), deaf dogs can certainly bark when they see other animals or people, when they want something, or when they’re excited or alarmed.
- Deaf dogs are difficult / impossible to train. While a deaf dog may not respond to verbal commands, the majority of deaf dogs can be trained using hand signals or other visual cues. Dogs and humans have evolved alongside each other for thousands of years; this bond has made them adept at watching and interpreting our body language, making it possible to train virtually any dog.
- Deaf dogs are easy to startle/more aggressive. There’s a widespread belief that deaf dogs are inherently more likely to bite or snap, especially when touched unexpectedly. The reality is that many dogs, hearing or otherwise, simply don’t like being startled! Deaf dogs that do startle easily can be slowly acclimated to unexpected touch with the help of a trainer or patient owner. They’re no more prone to aggression than any other dog.
- Deaf dogs always have other health problems. There’s no scientific evidence behind this idea, especially since there’s a wide variety of reasons a dog may be deaf. Causes can include trauma to the head, prolonged infection, foreign bodies in the ear, a response to antibodies or certain medications, congenital issues (from birth), or simply a result of aging.
- Deaf dogs have a poor quality of life. This is perhaps the most damaging of all deaf dog myths and is probably the reason why so many hearing-impaired canines languish in shelters or are euthanized by breeders as puppies. Deaf dogs are just as capable as their hearing counterparts of experiencing joy, love, and a fully active life, as well as the uniquely special bond with their human companions that dogs are known for!
At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we love and admire dogs of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities, and our certified dog trainer is experienced at working with dogs that are deaf. If you have any questions about living with or training a deaf dog, or about your pup’s next wellness appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions or concerns.