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Do Deaf Dogs Bark?

Cute brown and white puppy sitting on chair with head tilted

Absolutely. In fact, deafness is one of the biggest reasons for excessive barking in dogs. Yes, you read that right! Barking is just like speaking, and it has no connection with the hearing ability of your pup. Although deaf dogs can’t hear, they can still testify and respond to the activities going around them. For instance, they will bark to alert their owners about a potential danger.  

It can be quite problematic for you (and your neighbors) if your deaf dog barks excessively. Quite obviously, it is harder to train such canines, and a lot of effort is needed to control your furry friend’s barking. Read on to learn how you can detect canine deafness and train deaf dogs not to bark.

Why Deaf Dogs Bark?

Australian cattle dog playing with chihuahua

Canines with hearing disabilities can bark for several reasons. Some of them are general causes of barking while others are specific to deafness. For example, a deaf dog may bark out of frustration because he/she is unable to hear the owner’s commands. Some prominent reasons that urge deaf dogs to bark excessively are discussed below.

Anxiety

This is possibly the biggest reason why your deaf dog barks excessively. Separation anxiety is quite common in the canine world. It is a condition in which dogs feel and behave distressfully in the absence of their owner. Typically, separation anxiety manifests within minutes of the owner’s departure as the dog can’t cope with the loneliness.

Discomfort

An injury or ailment can also make your dog bark excessively because he/she is feeling pain and discomfort. Sick dogs use barking to tell their owners that they are not feeling well and need to see a vet. Another thing that can make your pup uncomfortable is an excessive display of affection. Some canines don’t like excessive hugging and cuddling and will bark to admonish the person.

Frustration

A deaf dog becomes frustrated when he/she is unable to understand the command of the owner. Excessive barking is a common method for dogs to show their frustration. This can be a serious problem for those parents who don’t know hand commands because verbal cues only bring frustration to the dog.

Unintentional Reinforcement

Sometimes, we unintentionally reinforce the unwanted behavior. For example, pushing your dog when he/she barks (while playing) can create a misconception in the pup’s mind. He might take it as a part of the game and associate barking with playing. In this way, your dog will learn to bark whenever you play with him. Even if you don’t assess these types of interactions as appreciating, your deaf dog just may.

Signs of Deafness in Dogs

The following list of signs and symptoms can help you to assess whether your dog is deaf or not.

  • Irresponsive behavior towards sounds in the surroundings
  • No response to verbal commands (defiance)
  • A sudden increase in shock impulse
  • Non-stop barking
  • Prolonged sleeping time
  • Rattling or quaking his head

How to Detect Hearing Loss in Your Dog?

Woman kneeling in grass calling to dog

It can be quite hard to tell whether your dog is actually deaf or not. However, you can conduct different observations and experiments to indicate deafness in dogs.

For instance, you can examine a change in the behavior of your dog when the door is knocked. A dog who used to dash towards the door to answer it has started to show no reaction to these sounds. If that’s the case, deafness is the most likely culprit.  

You can also conduct other experiments like silently getting into your dog’s room and then making a sudden sound. If your dog’s reactions don’t change, it’s pretty much evident that he/she is unable to hear. Similarly, several tests can be done on your own to get an idea about the deafness of your dog.   

How to Train a Deaf Dog to Stop Barking?

Yellow Labrador sitting at owners feet on a leash outdoors in the grass

It is comparatively easier to train a hearing dog to stop barking because you can use verbal cues. In the case of deaf dogs, vocal commands don’t work and you have to look for some other ways to train. An effective method for controlling excessive barking in deaf dogs is explained below.

Stimulate Barking

For this step, your can ask your friend to create a visual stimulus. For example, ask him/her to walk near the window of your house or approach the door. You can also use a leash in this training for making quick progress.

Distract Your Dog

As soon as your deaf dog starts barking, distract his/her attention by using a flashlight. Point the light at the paw and he/she will start playing with it. You can also keep him/her occupied by offering a treat.

Flash light turned on laying on a dark surface

Ensure Regular Practice

It is really important to practice this procedure daily to get the desired results. Keep distracting your canine companion with a flashlight and treats whenever he/she starts barking. Ideally,  keep the training session short so that your dog is always at ease.

Include a Gesture

When your dog starts linking treats and flashlight with quietness, you can also add a hand gesture in the training. This will help you in stopping your dog from barking once the treats are eliminated from the process.

Strengthen the Behavior

Reinforce the behavior by excluding treats. Now, only use the flashlight and your hand gesture for the training and keep practicing for several weeks. Once you feel that your dog has become good at it, you can try to exclude the leash as well.

What Breeds of Dogs are Prone to Deafness?

According to Pet MD, more than 30 dog breeds are considered vulnerable to deafness. The most popular of these breeds are as follows.

  • Australian Shepherd
  • Boston Terrier
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Dalmatian
  • German Shepherd
  • Maltese
  • Poodle

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