It’s deaf awareness week, and dogs can be deaf too. Some dogs lose their hearing as a result of chronic ear infections and others may suffer a traumatic injury to the ear, resulting in hearing loss. Finally, some dogs are born deaf because of a genetic defect called congenital deafness. However, adopting a deaf dog can be an extremely rewarding experience, and we have spoken to some adopters as to how they adapt to life living with a deaf dog. Read on for Bella and Shawn’s stories as told by their lovely mum’s.
Bella was adopted from Forever Hounds Trust in 2017…
Due to Bella’s deafness she can be very nervous around people and dogs, she tends to bark at them. We reassure her with hand signals like ‘thumbs-up’ if she doesn’t react and give her treats as a reward. We also distract her with treats when approaching anything that will set her off. We can let her off her lead if nobody is about, but as soon as someone comes towards us she will look back at us then we signal for her to come back, then reward with treats. Hand signals is a great help in communicating with her.Sandra
Shawn was adopted from Forever Hounds Trust in 2011…
My deaf furbaby Shawn came into my life just over twelve years ago, when I had five other dogs. I had agreed to foster him, not knowing what I had let myself in for! Once I got him home, Shawn obviously wanted to go to the toilet after our journey, I took my eye off him for one moment and an explosion from the rear end was everywhere. It then dawned on me that this little boy needed to start from scratch.
I bought books from everywhere to help me converse with him. Shawn was a quick learner and within a couple of months he knew the hand signs for sit, stay, eat, lay down, sleep and was off-lead. Shawn was nipped a couple of times by Callum who was top dog, because he didn’t hear the warning signs, but he soon learned that he had to look at at face’s. All my other lurchers understand sign language now, I tried an experiment one day when I never spoke a word and they did exactly what I asked them to do!
Things got a lot easier from then as he always looked to me from a command. I think it was so much easier having the other dogs as he followed them. He came into his own when I had other dogs come into foster. It was like he was saying “come on, just follow me, you’re fine here”.
Shawn is funny, he loves a cuddle and loves every person and dog he meets. Shawn is the most sensitive and intuitive dog I have ever adopted.
For the last few months he has been by my side, very clingy and very vocal. Four weeks ago I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. I’m sure he knew before I did.
My baby is now 13 and a half, he still brings me a toy when I come home from work. He still loves special mumma time, he never looks any different because he his pure white and looks like he isn’t going anywhere soon. Shawn is my ❤️ dog.Gill
You may have noticed that both Bella and Shawn are white, this isn’t a coincidence. Congenital hearing loss is mostly due to genetic factors, and those dogs with the piebald gene, which generally produces white coats are more at risk. Both Bella and Shawn have congenital deafness.