Deaf puppy learns sign language

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When Yolanda Evagelistis and Luke O’Toole adopted Bruce, a blue-heeler cross, they had no idea that he was deaf. Now Bruce is being trained to interpret hand signals and has become a very well behaved puppy.

Bruce was adopted by Evagelistis and O’Toole in November from The Lost Dogs’ Home in Australia. His previous owner never disclosed that he was deaf and Evagelistis and O’Toole had no idea he couldn’t hear when they first took him home. They soon suspected something was off with Bruce and brought him back to the Lost Dog’s Home to be checked out. That’s when they learned he was deaf.

“We just fell in love with him and his friendly nature,” said Evagelistis. “I can’t believe how happy he makes us.” To help with his inability to hear Bruce has been training to learn hand signals, make eye contact and obey commands. Every Saturday he goes to doggy school and every day Evagelistis and O’Toole work with him to learn the various hand signals. Bruce has learned hand signals that tell him to come, sit, stop, drop to the ground and go for a walk. “He is doing well and his trainers have said he is the best dog in his puppy class.”

2 thoughts on “Deaf puppy learns sign language”

  1. This just proves that every dog deserves a chance; handicaps are not an impediment to having a loving dog; they just need more work.

  2. When I was doing an externship for Dog Training at a local shelter, I encountered a similar situation. The Shelter had a one year old Black Lab who had lived outside since he was born. I was asked to see if I could do anything with him and my mentor asked the shelter if I could take him on as a project to train him. I did and he got adopted by a wonderful couple. I got an email from one of the staff who received an email from the dog’s owners. They said he was doing great….as long as they remembered the hand signals I taught them because when they did it wrong, Silver would just give them a strange look until they got it right.


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