Deaf Dogs Learn Sign Language

Canines otherwise bound for the pound are getting a second chance now that a new canine training facility in Montgomery County, Texas is training deaf dogs.

25 thoughts on “Deaf Dogs Learn Sign Language”

  1. Recently acquired an old deaf rescue who’d had some pretty rough treatment which I suspect was a result of her not being able to hear. She doesn’t see too well either, but she is a sweet, very anxious to please little lady and I’m going to try to teach her some of this sign language. Also have a blind rescue who is amazing – only has to go over the ground once or twice and he knows the way. When I say stop, he stops on a dime (someone else taught him that and he learned it well) could be life-saving for him.

    Sign language could be taught to any dog, how nice to have a dog who always has an eye on you and who responds to slight hand movements. Train with reward as this man says…what a pleasant individual he is.

  2. This video is not captioned for Deaf and Hard of Hearing TV viewers. I noticed that this man does NOT use sign language, he just used gesture or pointing. Please do not confuse the TV viewers about “sign language” since he did not use it. Sign language is different from gesture or pointing.

  3. Of course the man is using sign language Nobody claimed he was using American Sign Language, but any form of gestural communication is “sign language” and he IS using hand signs that are commonly used in the dog sports world.

    My issue is with using the prong collar for correction. Really? In the first place, a prong collar should never be used for correction. In the second place, every deaf dog I’ve ever worked with (dozens) would respond to a hand sign for “no” (and I DO use the ASL sign for ‘no’) or me making an exaggerated unhappy (or shocked) face. Also, it is not necessary to give the dog a treat to “praise” it, if you’ve been using a hand sign for praise (some people use ASL for ‘good’, I use the ASL “shortcut” sign for ‘I love you’) along with treats when you’re teaching the behavior. Hand sign (and exaggerated happy face) -> treat, just as you would use “verbal praise -> treat” or “click -> treat”. Once the dog knows the behavior you can fade treats and use just the hand sign, just as you would fade treats and use just verbal praise with a hearing dog.

    I also take issue with his statement that it’s harder to train a deaf dog. It is not. In many cases it is actually EASIER to train a deaf dog because, once you have their attention, they are not distracted by anything they can’t hear, or which is not in their field of vision. When your deaf dog is focused on you, looking at your face (the first thing I teach every new deaf dog I work with), the rest of the world disappears for the dog.

    A dog’s “native tongue” is body language. It’s how they communicate with each other, and even hearing dogs are acutely aware of OUR body language. A deaf dog’s ability to learn is only limited by its human’s ability to “speak dog”.

  4. My deaf great dane was trained on sign language and light signals i have deaf bulldog now he’s a little harder to train then she was

  5. Great story, too bad to see the use of an electronic collar and prong, not needed for a deaf dog or any for that matter.

  6. I can see why you’d need a way of getting the dog’s attention at a distance, no reason for it to be a painful method! As for teaching sign language, the agility centre where we go uses a lot more body language than words anyway!


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