Finding out your pet is losing their hearing or vision can be a devastating blow to any pet owner. Concerns regarding care and quality of life are common, and many pet owners also wonder how they’ll maintain their pet’s obedience skills if they can no longer see or hear.
The team at West Park Animal Hospital wants to assure you that training blind and deaf pets doesn’t have to be difficult. With a few adjustments and plenty of loving compassion, your special pet can still reap all the benefits of obedience training.
Thinking Outside the Box
When a person can no longer see or hear, their other senses take over. The same principle applies when it comes to training blind and deaf pets. The key to success is to remember what a pet is still capable of rather than what they can no longer do.
What They See is What You Get
Training a deaf pet is remarkably similar to training one that can hear, the only difference being you can no longer rely on verbal cues. Instead, teach your dog hand signals that correspond to commands, and reward correct actions with a treat. Try creative ways to get the attention of a deaf pet, such as stomping your foot on the floor or using a flashlight or laser pointer.
Deaf dogs still closely monitor facial expressions and body language, so these will come into play during training, as well. Take care to be extra expressive and to project the right attitude through your body language. This will be more important than ever when interacting with a deaf dog.
Make Some Noise
When it comes to training a blind pet, your voice will play a huge role. Keep your commands simple and clear, and be sure to offer rewards quickly. Many pet owners also have great success using auditory cues, such as clicker training, or you can try creating a unique noise for each command instead of using words.
Making use of your blind pet’s amazing sense of smell can help accelerate the training process. Try a small drop of vanilla or lavender essential oil to mark the corners of rooms, furniture, or hallways to help them navigate their environment and make it easier for them to come to you when called.
Tips for Training Blind and Deaf Pets
- Keep it simple. Whether you’re using visual or auditory commands, make sure you keep things short and to the point.
- Be consistent. Training a pet can be challenging regardless of disability, and consistency is crucial in order to establish new habits and patterns. Set a time each day to practice and stick with it. Always reward desirable behaviors, and eventually, you’ll see a change.
- Be a leader. Regardless of whether they can still see or hear, our pets are connected to us on a deeper level. Being blind or deaf will not affect your pet’s ability to sense and respond to the energy you project, making it more important than ever that you remain patient and understanding.
We’re Here for You!
At West Park Animal Hospital, we have experience caring for blind and deaf pets, and we’re happy to provide support as you navigate life with your furry companion. Please don’t hesitate to contact our staff with any questions or concerns!