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Deaf dog - How to teach focusing & leave it?

January 5th, 2006, 10:30 PM
I am currently fostering a 1 yr old deaf catahoula leopard cross.
She is starting to learn basic commands (come, sit, down, stay) using sign language, but has recently figured out, the "I'm not looking" method of ignoring me, when she doesn't want to do something. (Obviously, 'visual contact' is crucial, as she is completely deaf.....if she doesn't watch or see the command, it won't be done)

I've tried training her to 'watch me' by bringing my hands up to my face, and then rewarding her, which works......sometimes.....again "I'm not looking!" when she doesn't want to do her training exercises (little bugger! :evil: )

I've had her for approximately 2+ months def'n could be just lots more practice....but since I've never trained a deaf dog - maybe there's some better /alternative methods to try??? (Hopefully w/out confusing her...)

Also, any suggestions for teaching "leave it". Since the dog is usually getting into something they shouldn't be, you can already assume, she's not looking at me....vibrations (ie. stomping my feet) & flashing a light work sometimes.....any other ideas both for grabbing her attention, and training the 'leave it' command?
The typical method I've used, is to put a treat out, and use the command 'leave it' when the dog moves towards it.....however, since the dog is focused on the treat, she won't react (or see) to any physical (visual) cues.....

Unfortunately, since she is a foster dog from a rescue group, funds are very limited for professional training sessions....

Lucky Rescue
January 5th, 2006, 10:58 PM
How wonderful that you're helping this dog!!:)

Here is a fabulous site for owners of deaf dogs. Tons of links and info.

July 4th, 2006, 04:53 PM
Wanted to revive this thread... I have a hearing dog who I want to teach sign language to. The commands he already knows, such as sit, down, shake, roll over, etc, he already knows with words and signals (he won't shake without seeing my hand in front of him to "catch" his paw), but what if I want to change those signals? Or what about teaching him things he hasn't learned the words for yet? Do I teach him the word and a signal together??

To complicate things, my dog only has one eye, so I'm worried that when he's older he might go deaf and blind.. then what?? Are there any collars that have like a little vibrator in them that I can control to tell him things? Or am I being paranoid and worrying about things that are 10 yrs away or might never happen? Or maybe I need to invent a collar that can be programmed to vibrate patterns for certain commands? *inventor's light bulb*

If this would be better as a new thread, I can do that!

July 5th, 2006, 05:11 PM
I recommend using both voice and sign, make your own treats like baked liver, little cheese cubes something that won't repulse you to hold in your lips. Hold the treat in the corner of your mouth holding up your hand up below your chin to give the signals this helps the dog to focus on you for the treat and frees your hands for things like shake a paw and being he has not seen your take the treat out of you mouth he can focus on the act instead of expecting to recieve a treat out of the hand instead, teach your dog to walk on your side that has the good eye as it make it easier to watch you. Sightloss is usually gradual so if he was starting to loose eyesight you would mostly like have time to retrain using a vibrating collar as an addition to the training he is doing already, it just becomes an extra cue for him will he still has sight, and only takes a couple weeks to learn those cues as well thru repetition just have the vet check his eyes at each exam so you have warning when to start training if needed. I notice in the link Lucky Rescue posted there was a link for a vibrating collar by innotek

July 6th, 2006, 05:41 PM
Thanks! I'll try that... not sure if I'll be holding any treats in my mouth or doing signals near my face, as he's so small I'm not sure he could see my face with my hand in front of it if I'm standing or sitting over him, but I'll try adapting the process somehow.

Saw the link for the vibrating collar, but it appears to be a dead link (didn't work for me at least), so I'll have to source a different one.