How do you teach a deaf dog to stay without using voice commands?
Teaching stay to any dog is important for both their discipline and their safety.
The stay command helps keep them from jumping up, running after something more interesting in the moment, and generally helps owners keep a better handle on a variety of situations.
Training any dog requires repetition and reward, but then teaching stay to a deaf dog, it also requires a little creativity thrown in.
Like all dogs, deaf dogs can and do pick up training easily when done correctly, so let’s dive into teaching a deaf dog to stay.
Teaching Stay Starts with Home Life
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Deaf dogs or hearing impaired dogs may have a disability, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to interact with the world.
The first step in training a deaf dog is understanding how to treat a deaf dog.
For many owners, the idea that their dog is deaf or has become deaf can lead them to treat their pooch differently than they would another dog.
They may give them broader leeway or abandon discipline altogether, feeling that they are either ill-equipped to train their dog or that training would be too stressful on their hearing-impaired buddy.
Both of these are incorrect assumptions, and that’s an important fact to know.
The truth is this: dogs are incredibly adaptable.
A dog with little to no hearing goes through life just as any other dog would, with the same motivations and reactions.
That’s why it’s incredibly important to treat a hearing-impaired dog in the same way as you would any other.
Being too lenient or abandoning training only leads to a dog who is both uncontrollable and unable to sense danger as well as another dog.
The Mechanics of Teaching Stay
Unlike other dogs, teaching stay to your deaf dog requires a bit more effort. To begin with, you can’t get your dog’s attention just by calling his name.
You’ll need another way to get him to look at you. Some owners stomp their foot hard to produce vibrations that might get their dog’s attention.
Another more reliable method is using a flashlight.
You can also use a remote-controlled vibration collar to get your dog’s attention. Don’t worry, these collars are designed for use as a way to get your dog’s attention.
They are in no way related to shock or ultrasonic collars commonly used to deter barking. As an aside, NEVER use any sort of anti-bark collar. It is a horrible, fear-based way to train a dog.
The Flashlight Method
You can train your dog to look at you by flashing a flashlight on and off.
- Begin by turning the flashlight on and off with the beam within your dog’s field of vision.
- Do this until he turns to look at you.
- As soon as he makes eye contact with you, turn off the flashlight and give him a treat.
In no time, he’ll learn that flashing light means he gets a tasty little reward.
The Vibrating Collar
- Use your remote control to activate the vibration of the color.
- Continue doing this until your dog looks at you.
- As soon as he looks at you, stop the vibration and immediately give him a treat.
Just like with the flashlight, he’ll quickly learn that when the collar vibrates, he gets nom noms when he looks your way.
Teaching the Stay Command
Your dog knows when to look at you, so now it’s time to actually teach him the stay command.
Stand close to your dog. You’ll be teaching stay in essentially the same way you’d teach a hearing dog, so you need to be close.
- Flash your light or activate your vibration collar. After you have your dog’s attention, give him the “sit” command.
- Once your dog is seated, give him the hand signal of your choice for stay. Many owners use an outstretched palm.
- With your palm outstretched, begin moving backward.
- After a few steps, give him the “OK” sign (a deaf dog’s version of a clicker) and walk back to give him a few treats.
- Continue this process, moving further and further back. If at any point, your dog comes to you without a visual cue, begin the process all over again.
- Continue in this way until your dog stays no matter how far you might be from him.
Teaching Stay Strengthens Your Bond and Furthers His Safety
Teaching stay to any dog is an excellent command for both increasing his safety and strengthening your pooch/master bond.
For deaf dogs, it’s doubly important because while they may interact with their world in much the same way as a dog with hearing, they lack that sense of hearing to help them identify possible dangers and obstacles around them.
Teach stay helps both you and your dog attain and retain mastery over the environment around you both, and it’s an excellent way to further promote other commands as well.
Once you’ve mastered the basic and the hand signage for them, you’ll be able to further your command range and teach all sorts of fun stuff to your pooch.
So get out your treats, get those hands ready, and start teaching stay to your pooch today.