To teach a deaf dog to sit and stay is no small task, but with these few simple steps, you can make this process as easy as possible. Teaching your dog to do this is vital in order to be a responsible pet owner.
But before you go through the process of teaching a deaf dog to sit and stay, there are a few things you should consider.
Things to Consider Before teaching a deaf dog to sit and stay
Pic Credit – wikiHow
Dogs who are deaf can still learn lots of basic obedience commands, but there are a few things you should know. Teaching them to sit and stay will be a little different than teaching your hearing dog. You’ll need to use gestures and body language, but here’s what you should know before starting:
1. Start with an understanding:
The first thing you should realize is that deaf dogs are just like dogs with normal hearing. They have their own set of quirks and personality traits. Dogs can be trained to understand what the word “sit” means, but because they can’t hear the command, they are likely to become distracted or excited during training sessions.
By taking a few extra steps in your training and working at it consistently over time, you will be able to help your dog understand what you’re doing.
2) Teach your dog that Sit is used as the default position when you enter or leave the house.
3) Have some healthy treats handy so that your dog will have positive associations with the command “Sit”.
4) Use an open palm facing down on the floor in front of your legs to cue Stay while they’re sitting.
5) A toy sits on the floor in front of your dog at all times.
6) Never allow the dog to “break” the Sit command by bringing their paws up until you tell them to, even when they’re tired.
7) Always begin teaching both Sit and Stay on a VERY short leash (1-2 feet long).
8) The first time you attempt to teach Sit or Stay, practice with your dog sitting or lying down before going through a small doorway and having them sit while they’re still on the leash. This will help reinforce getting them used to sitting when they are not on a leash, which is what you’ll be doing when teaching them to stay in place.
9) Have a t-shirt with a small hole cut out of the back not just to use treats, but to place a piece of liver on. (If you’re leery about this, have your dog sit and stay before going anywhere where you don’t want them to go. Then let them go in the car or get into their crate, etc., and then give them the treat.)
10) The first time you attempt to teach Sit or Stay when your dog is tired, give some treats immediately (or if they’re not tired enough yet, just reward them after they’ve sat still for 2-3 minutes.
How to teach a deaf dog to sit and stay
Step 1: Introducing the verbal command
The first step in training your dog to sit and stay is to introduce the verbal command. Tell your dog that he is a “good boy” every time he does something positive for you, like sitting down. Eventually, he will get used to hearing the word and will learn its meaning. This way, if you are ever unable to use hand signals, your dog will still know what you want him to do. Once you have mastered this initial step, move on to step 2.
Step 2: Teaching the hand signals
Once you have your dog’s attention, instruct him to sit or stay using the verbal command. Turn yourself into a human “happy stick” by waving the word “sit” in different directions, holding it up near his eyes, and moving it in an arc so he can see it.
Then, put your hand in front of him, palm out and fingers pointing up. Say “stay,” then wave your hand toward him with an open palm and finger pointing down as you move it by his side. Repeat this motion several times until your dog is relaxed enough to relax as well.
Step 3: Practice makes perfect
Practice these hand signals during everyday activities, such as eating or playing. Remember that dogs learn through repetition, so the more you do it, the better she will be able to understand what you’re trying to say. There is no need to worry about your dog getting bored with these exercises; dogs learn best when they are having fun!
Always praise your dog when he follows your hand signals correctly and make sure you are consistent with each command. Eventually, you should be able to sit on the couch and call your dog over by using a hand signal, without saying a word. At this point, your dog will come to you and wait for your next command.
Step 4: Teach new commands
Repeat the first step of teaching hand signals until your dog knows what the words mean and what action is being requested. If he understands his name and hand signals, you will be able to teach him new commands as well. Once this has been mastered, you can move on to teaching him to “come,” “stay,” or “leave it.” It’s up to you! As long as he listens, learns, and benefits from the training, then that’s all that matters.
Step 5: Re-teach hand signs and words
Dogs can easily memorize words. If your dog is a good listener, he should be able to learn and repeat what he has learned if you repeat the earlier steps of how to teach him. It’s all about repetition, repetition, and more repetition!
As much as possible, try to avoid teaching commands in a “rushed” manner. When learning new commands or skills that you have not taught him before, take time to teach each step so your dog can learn each valuable lesson.
Keep these tips in mind:
Always work with your dog when he is relaxed and not distracted. Dogs do not always respond the way we expect them to, so use these training sessions to build a foundation for obedience instead of trying to hurry through it. Once a dog has learned a command, it should never be repeated unless there is new information for him to learn.
You can use the initial training steps repeatedly, as long as your dog gets excited or distracted. The quickest way to train is to teach your dog what you want him to do, then give him praise when he’s done it correctly. Do not let your dog get distracted while training; distract him and he may forget what you told him. If he is trying to figure out a command, it will be difficult for him to learn.
Things to avoid when teaching a deaf dog to sit and stay
In the section, we’ll cover all the things that you should avoid when teaching your deaf dog this command. You’ll only be adding positive reinforcement for them. Remember that the goal of training is to have the dog learn what you want them to do, and stay until you tell them that they can get up.
Now here are the things we should avoid when teaching a deaf dog how to sit and stay.
1) Do not reprimand them when they are staying in place. If you punish them for sitting, they might get the idea that an object is the key to sitting and staying in place. So don’t do that!
2) Don’t smack your dog for even trying to sit down. This can cause a lot of problems with a deaf dog. With their hearing, they could think that you’re going to slap them for sitting down. [This has happened with ours.]
3) Do not use food as a reward when teaching your deaf dog to sit and stay. The first time we tried this, the dog did not respond well at all. So we decided to try giving them positive verbal reinforcement instead.
4) Do not push your dog into sitting down. Although this may work for some dogs, it may just make your deaf dog resent training time. So never push or force a deaf dog into doing anything.
5) Do not tell your deaf dog that they’re bad when they cannot do what you ask of them. Remember that you are in charge and you are the one who has to teach them what to do and what not to do. Don’t make your dog feel inferior by telling them that they’re bad when they don’t know any better.
6) Do not make the training session last too long. This could make your dog get tired or bored and not want to do what you ask them.
7) Do not ignore your deaf dog when they try to sit down. If you ignore them, they will become frustrated and stop trying to sit down.
8) Do not ask for a sit when your deaf dog is already sitting down. This is pretty obvious!
9) Do not ask for a sit only if the dog is lying on the bed. This is another obvious mistake that can be made. If you are looking for them to lie in a certain way that may seem like cheating in the training process, it probably will end up making them feel cheated and unwanted by their owner.
10) Do not hook your pet with a harness or leash while they are sitting in place. The dog will often confuse this with having its collar on and will try to get it off of you.