My attempt to move from Southern California and create a happy and sustainable urban homestead in North Dakota, with some musings on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Friday, March 25, 2011

Seven Reasons Deaf Dogs Are Better Than Hearing Dogs

All dogs are awesome, even "regular" hearing dogs.  But if you've never thought about it before, here are seven ways that deaf dogs are better than their hearing counterparts.  

1) - I can sneak around on them.  Let's say it's a quiet Sunday morning and I'm lounging on the couch reading the paper.  The missus and pooches are all having a lazy Sunday nap, all is perfect. Except that EGADS!!, my coffee cup is empty.  No problem.  I can sneak to the kitchen and refill my mug with hot caffeinated liquid happiness.  I can't do this with hearing dogs, they'd wake up, see me going to the kitchen and think I'm getting some bacon, and start thumping around and wake everyone else up.

2) - Thunderstorms don't bother them.  We get a lot of thunderstorms here in North Dakota, especially in late Spring and summer, but it doesn't bother the dogs one bit.  I know a few dogs who are extremely frightened of thunderstorms and will freak out, hide under the bed, run away, or have accidents in the house.  It's not their fault, they're just terrified.  My deaf dogs?  They sleep right through the thunderstorms.  Every once in a while a big clap of thunder right on top of us will rattle the windows and they may perk their heads up and look confused, but that's the extent of their reaction.
3) - Sirens don't bother them either.  Ambulance, fire, or police sirens have never started my dogs to barking or howling, which is nice.  My old house in San Diego was in the territory where my sister was stationed as a firefighter.  She was an engineer and drove the fire truck, and when they came back from a call and her route took her by my house she would always blow the air horn (which is very, very loud) and it may have scared the crap out of me (I'm pretty sure this was her goal) more than once, but never startled or woke my deaf pups.

4) - Neighborhood barking parties.  When something triggers one neighborhood dog to bark and pretty soon EVERY dog in the area is barking and howling, my dogs never join in, which is nice.

5) - Neighbors and strangers are impressed. Here's the scenario.  I'm out walking one or two of my deaf dogs and we encounter a neighbor or other friendly neighborhood denizen.  Across the street a dog is racing around in their backyard barking like mad because they smell my dogs.  Since my dogs can't hear the frantic barking from that far away, they stand calmly or sit as I converse.  Quite often I get a "your dogs are so well behaved" comment.  I usually try to explain that they're deaf (which most people can't seem to process), but on occasion I just say "thank you" and smile to myself as I walk away. 

6) - No crazy doorbell reactions.  If my dogs are asleep and the doorbell rings or someone knocks, there's no trigger of barking and growling at the potential intruder.  If the dogs are asleep I can usually calmly get up, sign for my FedEx package, purchase my Girl Scout cookies or snarl at the door to door salesman, and come back without every waking them. 

7) - They can warn against approaching underground monsters.  Since they can't hear and are very acutely attuned to ground vibrations, I think they could better warn us against an onslaught of carnivorous subterranean monsters, like from the Kevin Bacon movie Tremors, than hearing dogs.  This one may be a bit of a stretch, but I really wanted to have seven reasons and couldn't come up with another real one.

While we're on the subject, you should check out Deaf Dogs Need A Voice which has some great information on deaf dogs. 

3 comments:

Jazzie Casas said...

Dogs who lose their hearing later in life, may become aggressive but it is only because of their confusion. Unlike humans, they do not understand what is happening to them and can lash out in fear when startled. Never come up behind a deaf dog who is sleeping. Even when he is awake, if he can't see you come up behind him, he may be momentarily startled and and act aggressively.

It is extremely important to learn how to communicate with, and train, your dog using hand signals. Whether you use American Sign Language, standard obedience signs, or signals of your own development, it is very important that you and other people who interact with your dog, are consistent with the signs that you use. Additionally, it is wise to use signs that require only one hand and can be easily detected by your dog from a distance away.



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El Gaucho said...

Jazzie,

The "startled dog myth" is one of the biggest lies/frauds about deaf dogs. See the Deaf Dog Action Education Fund website or the Deaf Dogs Need A Voice website to learn more information about these untruths that are perpetuated.

I have three deaf dogs and I approach ALL of them from behind when they're not aware and when they're sleeping and they don't startle, they don't snap, and they don't act aggressively towards me. They're the sweetest dogs you can imagine. They are all congenitally deaf and only one has needed any training or conditioning to wake up calmly, the other two are perfectly calm and don't startle. Please learn more about this so that the deaf dogs - "startled aggressive" myth can start to go away.

Anonymous said...

Actually the thunder one can be scary. When my dog was a pup, she was out on the deck chewing on her toy not a care in the world. Lightning was hitting so close to the house my hair was literally standing on end and she just kept chewing on her toy.