MYTHBUSTER: "Impossible to train, aggressive and unruly, and incapable of living a normal life" are all stereotypes FALSELY attributed to deaf dogs. "Adopting any dog means that you are committing your family to providing a loving forever home. Training a deaf dog is not necessarily harder than a hearing dog; it just requires a different approach.
One key point in their training is that if they are not looking at you, they can't receive feedback...they have to learn sign language and body posture which needs to be consistently delivered," says Dr. David Nelson, Clinical Associate Professor and director of Emergency Services at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Another training technique helpful for communicating with your deaf pooch is to train them to respond to a vibrating collar. Keep in mind that the vibration from the collar should never have a negative connotation, or your dog will be afraid to respond in the future.
Another common misconception of deaf dogs is that they are aggressive. "It is not deafness which determines suitability of a dog to be with children, but the personality of the dog, the child, and the home environment," says Dr. Nelson. "Deafness does not mean that the dog is bad for this or that; the dog's personality and the owners' training determine those results." Deaf dogs can be startled when touched unexpectedly, so establishing a "communication spot" that you touch when you need to wake them up is a good idea. "We have trained [our dog] that the top back of his head is the communication spot, and when we touch it and he is sleeping he immediately begins wagging his tail because he knows it is one of us," said Dr. Nelson.
Despite the few adaptations you must make for training and living with a deaf dog, the love and appreciation you receive far outweighs any perceived adversity from their disabilities.
Source: Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine