Point to your
eyes with two fingers.
GOAL: The dog turns and looks at you.
If you don’t have the dog’s attention, you’re simply not going to get the behavior you want. This is true for both hearing and deaf dogs, but, for a deaf dog, the communication must be visual. Learning to look at you for direction is absolutely essential for her success. It’s what gives her the confidence to perform at her best in all situations.
While we teach a hearing dog to turn and look at us just by calling her name, we need to use a tactile cue for a deaf dog. You have three options:
Tap the dog on the shoulder
or haunch with the hand.
No need for a separate device
You have to be within arm’s length of the dog.
Use a stick to tap the dog on the shoulder or haunch.
You have a longer reach.
You have to have the tapping stick with you and you’re limited by the length of the stick. Also, some onlookers may misinterpret your use of the stick as punishment.
Have the dog wear a vibration collar set to “vibrate” — NEVER to “shock”. Vibration-only collars are available from Wolfwill and Petsafe.
Allows you to alert the dog to look at you from a distance
The dog must be wearing the collar and it should never be left on when the dog is at rest. Conditioning is required for the dog to perceive the vibration as a good thing.
This video by Elisabeth Catalano demonstrates how to condition a dog that a vibration on his collar is a cue to check in with the handler.