Many people pass over getting a deaf Boxer because they believe they will never be able to fully communicate with the dog. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Dogs don’t speak our language – they speak in body language. So for a deaf dog, communication is achieved through hand signals and body language. Is there more difficulty because you can’t just yell to your deaf dog from across the room? Yes, but think of a deaf dog as a great tool to helping you stay in shape.
Reality: Dogs Do Not Speak Human Languages
It’s nice to think that a hearing dog understands everything that you say to him, but in reality, he only knows a few words and mostly reads how you’re feeling and what you want through body language. This is why training and communicating with a deaf dog isn’t complicated. To get started communicating with a deaf Boxer, you need to use hand signs or sign language. A good idea is to purchase an American Sign Language (ASL) book (inexpensive and readily available) and teach your dog with ASL. The added benefit of using ASL is that other people can sign to your deaf dog. It’s completely fine to make up your own hand signals or use a combination of your own signs and ASL. The choice is yours. Just be sure you’re consistent and patient with your dog.
Sign With One Hand
It’s a good idea to use just one hand for communicating with your dog because you’ll often need your second hand to be free while walking him, etc.
Careful With Your Hands
With any dog, but especially a deaf dog, your hands are a tremendous tool. For this reason, it is vital that you don’t use your hands against the dog so that he doesn’t associate your hands with bad things. If you are hitting your dog or physically punishing him, you’re not only a horrible person, but you’re doing nothing more than making your dog fear you. He won’t learn anything but fear from physical abuse. Imagine if someone wanted to teach you something but instead of giving you a chance to learn, they hit you instead? Would you be in the right mindset to learn?
Signing Made Easy
Two things to always remember when teaching sign language to your deaf dog: patience and consistency. Start out slowly. Teach your dog the essentials first such as: good, sit, come, stay, and no. Consistently use the same signs or else your dog will get confused. Boxers in general are very eager to please and love learning new things so a deaf Boxer will be no different than a hearing one in this regard.
Your Voice is Still Important to Convey Emotion
It may seem strange, but say the word when you’re signing to your dog. Even though he obviously won’t hear you, saying the word will convey the right facial expression and body language and he will learn the sign easier from the emotion that goes along with it.
Teaching New Signs
Teaching a new sign to your Boxer is pretty simple. For instance, to teach him the word “toy”, hold the toy in your hand and show it to him. Hold the toy in your other hand or keep it by your side and sign your word for “toy”. Do this about three times and then let him have the toy. When he brings the toy back to you, sign the word “toy” three times again. He will soon understand with one sign. Just remember, repeat the sign and give him plenty of time to learn. Never lose your patience.
Have a Boxer Party
Boxers are big partiers. They love the attention of smiling, clapping, and making a big deal when they do something right. Remember to throw little “parties” each time your deaf Boxer does something good. The clowns of the dog world, Boxers will take much pride and accomplishment in your display of excitement over a job well done.
Get a Boxer!
There’s no better time than now to add endless joy and companionship to your life than by adopting a Boxer in need! Visit the websites of one of these excellent Boxer Rescues and adopt one today:
- New Jersey Boxer Rescue
- New Life Boxer Rescue
- PA Boxer Rescue
- Northeastern Boxer Rescue
- Adopt a Boxer Rescue
- Go Boxer Rescue
- Second Chance Boxer Rescue
- NorCal Boxer Rescue
- Blue Ridge Boxer Rescue