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D2003-40

Dear Daisy Dog

We are thinking about adopting a Dalmatian, but we’re concerned because the dog is deaf. Is it possible to train a deaf dog?

Daisy Responds

We dogs communicate with each other through body language. Very rarely do I use my voice, and then it is only to repeat what I’ve already communicated through my body posture, tail, ears and facial expression.

When my mom taught me obedience, she used vocal commands and hand signals at the same time. I can assure you, the hand signals were easier to learn.

Join an obedience training group and learn the hand signals for come, sit, down, stay and so on. Buy an American Sign Language book and teach your dog the signs for car, walk, potty and other important words.

Be sure his identification tag includes not just your address and phone number, but also the word “deaf.”

Get his attention in the house by stomping your foot on the floor. When he’s out in the yard (be sure it’s fenced), call him with a flashlight.

For more information on training a deaf dog, go to www.deafdogs.org/training/.

October is Adopt-a-Dog Month. Celebrate by giving this dog the chance to show you what a wonderful family member he can be.

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