Is it getting more difficult for your aging dog to hear you? Does it get startled when you walk up behind it? If you answered yes to those questions, your dog may be suffering from age-related deafness. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do to stop the progression of the disease. However, there are some things you can do to help you communicate with your dog. Here are three methods you can use to improve communication.
Learn Sign Language
If your dog is completely deaf, you're going to have to get creative if you want to continue communicating with it. That's where sign language comes in. Start out slow. Learn the signs for the basic things your dog needs most – food, water, love, and walks. Teach one sign at a time. Once your dog understands the basic signs, you can add additional words to its vocabulary.
Lead By Touch
It can be difficult to get your dog's attention if it can no longer hear your voice. Once your dog has lost its ability to hear, you'll need to find non-verbal ways to get its attention. This is particularly true if your dog is sleeping. You want to be careful, so you don't startle it from a deep sleep. Try gently tapping your dog on the shoulder to wake it up. Touching your dog gently while it's asleep will allow it to wake up without being startled.
Light Things Up
Nighttime can be particularly distressful for a dog that can no longer hear properly. Teach it to follow the light. You'll need a flashlight for this. Go outside in your backyard or somewhere else that's safe for your dog to walk without a leash. Walk beside your dog while shining the light on the ground in front of it. Walk with the light so that your dog learns to follow the light.
Once your dog has learned to follow the light, you'll be able to use the method to get from one location to the next. This is particularly helpful when it's time to call your dog to bed for the night.
The tips provided above will help you continue to communicate with your dog when hearing loss sets in. If your dog can no longer hear you, be sure to get its hearing checked by a veterinarian. They'll be able to rule out any medical issues that could be causing the hearing loss. Contact a center like Edinburgh Animal Hospital to learn more.