Q. We have two dogs, one who has completed intermediate training and one who has almost finished puppy class. We are adopting a deaf Boxer puppy and were wondering how different her training would be. We’ve read that we should use a light instead of a clicker and a vibrating collar to get her attention, but what other adjustments will be needed? Would she benefit more from private training or a full class?
A. Training a deaf dog does present some special challenges, so starting your pup in private lessons with an experienced trainer would be a great idea. You and the trainer would be able to focus solely on your puppy that way, without a distracting crowd of other dogs and people. Work on teaching your puppy visual and tactile (touch or vibration) cues for attention, come, sit and down. Also, teach her a signal that means, “Well done, pup! You’ve earned a reward!”
Reward your puppy with tasty treats and other things she likes. The more your dog learns to enjoy training, the stronger her focus on you will grow.
All dogs, regardless of their hearing ability, need to learn to pay attention to their owners when around other dogs, people, and exciting situations. After you’ve started your pup’s initial education with some private training, attending a group class could be quite beneficial for building her focus on you.