The Silent Dog World

The silent dog world

There he goes, running across the back fence to warn the dog walking down the road that if he gets any closer, he will have to reckon with, Tucker, a beautiful, shiny black furry of a dog. It makes me wonder when I am watching him act all big tough guy, that when he joined our family as a wee little pup, he would provide us with a perspective of a dog’s world without sound. He was 515 miles away which didn’t seem far to go rescue such a sweet, smushy face of loveness. The description on stated this pup, who was up for adoption, was a New Finland mix.

As he grew, the New Foundland remained hidden somewhere deep in his DNA. Regardless he was a happy, social dog, getting along well with the other 4 legged animal members of the family, prancing around like a little prince. He quickly understood that the dogs were to potty outside, meals were provided twice a day and riding in the car usually meant a visit to the park. Once he was old enough, he began his behavior training classes. No doubt Tucker was special, but during classes, it became evident that the special was not something we expected. Commands were given to the class verbally, along with hand gesture commands. Tucker rapidly learned. (treats were definite motivation). Yet there was something different, when all the other dogs were panting, whining and barking, Tucker was sleeping. He had to be gently touched to wake him to do his commands. Once when the teacher dropped her stack of notebooks by his head, not a muscle moved on his furry black body.

At home, waking him out of his sleep required a stomp on the floor or a nudge on his body. Once he was able to see a hand signal, he responded quickly and with much excitement. Yelling his name or asking him if he wanted a treat, received no response. He will come sliding, skidding across the floor to do any of variety or tricks as soon as the smell of an open treat bag reached his nose. Once while on a walk, without a leash, he decided there might be something at home he was missing. Tucker did his quick little prince prance down the street, heading for home. He just kept prancing until the leash thrown in his way, caused him to turn around and look as if to say, “what?”

Just to verify what all of Tucker’s humans pretty much suspected, the veterinarian looked into his ears, discovering a birth defect. The bones needed in his ear’s to create vibration, were missing. Tucker could not hear anything. Tucker doesn’t know he can’t hear. He isn’t bothered by it. As his caretakers, we need to remember the world according to Tuck. What I have learned from being around a deaf dog:

  • Touch them gently. They begin to understand that they need to look at you for direction.
  • They will always need to be on a leash outside of a fenced yard unless you can run really fast.
  • Stomping on the floor will also work to get their attention. Doesn’t work on cement.
  • Teach them hand signals.
  • Yelling doesn’t help. Not even loud yelling.
  • They don’t hear cars, trains, children, bikes, and are therefore startled when it arrives in their vision. Tucker barks when he is startled. This frightens people. Be aware.
  • Tucker learns how to be a dog by watching other dogs. This is probably true with most dogs but can be very helpful for a deaf dog.


Posted by
Cheryl Wilson

Cheryl Wilson created Why We Wag in 2012 as her result of her lifelong love of dogs. After 22 years in the Educational sector, Cheryl utilizes her expertise as an award winning educator, to educate dog lovers, along with offering supplies that support a healthy, meaningful relationship with canines. Residing in Utah, Cheryl is celebrating her 5th generation with dogs and now her first generation of grand-dogs.