Training a deaf dog is not all that different than training a hearing dog, says Deaf Dog Education Action Fund. The basic principles are the same. The dog has to be taught the meaning of a signal the owner gives. The only difference is that hearing dogs can be taught to respond to noises as signals and deaf dogs cannot. The first step in training a deaf dog is teaching the dog to look at the owner in response to a vibrating collar. Once the dog can look at the owner on cue, the dog can be taught to follow hand signals for all other basic obedience commands.
Buy a remote collar with a vibration function
There are many remote collars on the market that offer a vibrating function; sometimes it is referred to as a pager function. When selecting a collar, ensure the receiver is 100 percent waterproof and has sufficient range to communicate with the dog if the dog takes off running. The transmitter should be small and have a button devoted to transmitting the vibration signal so it can be used easily and quickly in case of an emergency.
Introduce the dog to the collar
Put the vibrating collar on the dog, and let the dog wear it until the dog becomes accustomed to it. With the dog right next to the trainer on a leash, trigger the vibration and give the dog a treat immediately. Repeat the page-and-treat sequence multiple times.
Wait for the look
With the dog on leash next to the trainer, page the dog and wait. The dog should look at the trainer immediately, expecting a treat. Give the dog a treat immediately when the dog looks at the trainer. Repeat the page-look-treat sequence multiple times.
Repeat the training in many locations
Continue performing the page-look-treat sequence frequently. Take the dog to many different locations and repeat the training. Once the dog is consistently looking at the trainer in response to the page, start asking the dog to perform other behaviors in response to hand signals, such as sit or come. This training should follow a sequence of page, wait for the look, do a hand signal to tell the dog to sit and then reward the sitting dog. Repeat these sequences many times.