When training a deaf dog,
rotate your training rewards to help keep him focused and engaged!
A few months back during a deaf dog Q&A that I hosted on Periscope, I said, “Patience is the best tool for training your deaf dog.” The next thing I knew, folks on Twitter were quoting me.
As true as that statement is, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Training a deaf dog is as nuanced and complex as training a hearing dog; the only difference is the manner in which you communicate. As important as patience is, especially with yourself, it isn’t all you need.
The process of training a deaf dog requires that you have a goal and a plan to get you there. You need to understand what motivates dogs generally and your dog specifically. You need to know what skills you want to teach and what signs you are going to use . Finally, you need to have plenty of high-value treats, toys or praise to reward your deafie when he responds correctly to that twist of your finger or flip of your wrist.
When it comes to training, rewards fall into one of three categories:
Hands down, training a deaf dog goes much faster when he is food motivated. It’s so much quicker and easier to be able to sign “good boy” and slip him a tasty treat when he gives you that “sit” or doesn’t break a stay. However, if you’re working with a deaf dog that is motivated by praise or playtime, prepare yourself to settle in. Your training sessions are just going to take longer and that’s the way it is.
I’m fortunate that both Edison and Foster- most especially Foster- are motivated by food. As happy as I am that all it takes is luring my boys into a new behavior with a new hand sign and a tasty treat, training a food-motivated dog isn’t without it’s challenges. Namely, I don’t want provide too much junk food.
This post is sponsored by Instinct® and the BlogPaws Professional Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Instinct® Raw Boost® Mixers but our Blog only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Instinct is not responsible for the content of this article.
I’m a dog-food foodie. I choose to feed my dogs a rotating menu of premium, high-quality dog food with wholesome and unique ingredients. I prefer food that provides a high-concentration of protein along with novel sources of carbohydrates, and I look for food that includes fruits and vegetables because I believe that these are just as important to my dog’s health as they are for mine. Because I’m a firm believer in maintaining good health through proper nutrition, I insist on food that is crafted safely and under the watchful eye of industry best practices and strict quality-control standards.
These same values apply when choosing training treats, and I use the same ingredient checklist and rotational philosophy.
I frequently repurpose healthy food products as treats and, because boredom quickly ends any training session, I like to mix it up. Instinct® Raw Boost® Mixers by Nature’s Variety® comes in three different flavors which means I can rotate from Turkey to Beef then Chicken, ensuring that my boys’ interest doesn’t wane. These protein-packed, freeze-dried raw meal enhancers help me keep my deaf dogs focused and engaged. Edison and Foster want to learn, they want to participate, which means that they learn and respond to hand signs much faster.
Instinct® Raw Boost® Mixers are grain-free and include a small handful of ingredients, healthy foods such as pumpkin seeds, butternut squash, blueberries, broccoli or kelp. Salmon oil, rosemary and chicory root offer important health benefits, such as antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits, naturally and holistically.
Though the Instinct® Raw Boost® Mixers are made to be an easy way to offer raw-feeding benefits to your dog’s current diet, they are small yet enticing enough to also be used as powerful training rewards when teaching your deaf dog a new hand sign. The convenient trial-size packages fit into my pocket or bait bag, making it easy for me to carry them on neighborhood hikes and play-and-train sessions in the dog park.
Of course, with four large dogs weighing a total of 320 pounds, I can go through these very quickly. Since they are available at PetSmart®, stocking up is as easy as tossing several pouches or larger bags into my cart on my weekly, weekend trip to my local PetSmart® store. When exploring PetSmart®, you will find the Instinct® Raw Boost® Mixers in the Nature’s Variety® premium dog food.
So yes, patience is important when training a deaf dog, but equally important is having an engaged dog focused on earning his high-value reward. Nature’s Variety® Instinct® Raw Boost®Mixers motivate my deafies to learn but also satisfies my need to offer them something healthy and nutritious. Connect with Instinct on Facebook to learn more and join the conversation!
Which flavor would motivate your deaf dog- Turkey, Beef or Chicken?
Share your tips with other deaf dog pet parents in a comment below…!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Nature’s Variety. The opinions and text are all mine.