Talk To Your Deaf Dog. Don’t Just Sign!
When communicating with deaf dogs, I don’t just use my hands; I talk to them too- you know, like with my voice! As counterintuitive as using our voice to talk to our deaf dogs may seem, there are some very great benefits and some excellent reasons for doing so. Here are several reasons why I talk to our deaf dogs and why you should too!
The first reason we should talk to deaf dogs is that we’re human. Unlike dogs, we rely heavily on our voice to communicate with the world around us. Speaking is more natural for us.
But there’s another more important reason we should talk to deaf dogs and this is it: when we speak, our facial expressions and body language change. When that happens, we convey a whole lot more information to our deaf dogs.
As an example, if I sign “drop it” and Foster hesitates, I immediately sign “drop it!” again and say the words out loud. He sees from the change in my facial expression and body language that I mean business and he will promptly drop my underwear to the floor.
By using my whole body to communicate, he understands me better.
But it gets better still…
For anyone sharing their life with a deaf dog, teaching hand signs from day one is critical. Doing so is non-negotiable. However, as days and weeks turn into months and years, your bond grows, deepens and expands. As he learns to read your hand signs and body language, you also learn to read his as well.
There are many things I can communicate with my deaf dogs just by changing my facial expression or body language, no hands needed.
For example, if I cock my head, purse my lips and give them “that look”, they know to stop whatever they’re doing and sit. If I crouch down on my haunches, they come running for hugs and belly rubs- no words spoken, no hand sign needed.
Over time, communication between you and your deaf dog becomes more subtle and much of it likely goes unnoticed by people not in the know. Those are the beginnings of the best years of your life together, when a silent look says I Love You! and you know that he knows that it’s true.
But before you start talking to deaf dogs, check out this post on 5 Hand Signs Every Deaf Dog Should Know.
Do you talk to your deaf dog? Do you feel like you
have a stronger bond with your deaf dog and why? Please share your thoughts in a comment below!