15 DDR Life Hacks for Deaf Dog Families

The term “Life hacking” refers to a shortcut, unknown tip, a novelty or a trick that may increase your productivity or make life a little easier for you and your deaf dog.

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Here are some of my all time favorite Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hacks. Since we live with three deaf dogs and two hearing dogs, we’ve found that all of the following life hacks can be used on both deaf and hearing dogs.  Since most families want to keep their deaf/hearing dogs safe and healthy, the following hacks are some of my personal favorites.

**** some of the links below are Amazon Affiliate links – the proceeds from which go to support the Deaf Dogs Rock transport vehicle and web hosting costs **** 

Enjoy! ~ Christina Lee – Deaf Dogs Rock

 

Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #1 – Using the Deaf Dog Lullaby to put your dogs to sleep

The Deaf Dogs Lullaby – What is a deaf dog lullaby? Our lullaby is a slow motion wave of with the hand going up and down to calm the deaf dog/puppy at bed time. This life hack is great to use when you are dealing with a whiny deaf dog/puppy spending the night in their crate. When you use this deaf dog lullaby every night with consistency you will be conditioning your deaf puppy to go right back to sleep. When your deaf dog wakes up in the middle of the night and whines, this lullaby also works great to get the dog to settle and go back to sleep.

 

Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #2 – Use a night light so your deaf dog can see you at night

In conjunction with the deaf dog lullaby be sure to use a night light or low level lamp in your bedroom so your deaf dog/puppy can see you at night. We use a low level lamp and all three of my deaf dogs Nitro, Bud and Bowie wake up at least once every single night to check on us to make sure we are still in the bedroom. This also works great if you have little senior dogs who can’t see to very well like my senior Pepe. He is less likely to fall off the bed when he is trying to get down if he can see the ottoman we have set up for him to jump off the bed safely.

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You can find nightlights like the ones below at Target and Walmart

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View Nightlights on Amazon

Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #3 – Give your dogs a nighttime snack at bedtime

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Add a snack time right before bedtime! Before we started our nightly 9:30pm snack time, Chris and I always had 2 out of 5 dogs either getting sick to their stomach in the middle of the night or whining because they were hungry. In 50% of the upset tummy episodes in the middle of the night it was because one of our dogs was throwing up because of an empty stomach. Since we started our 9:30 snacks for our dogs (we do a 1/2 cup of dry food and 1/4 cup for the smaller dogs), they no longer get ill overnight. The best part about the late night snack is that ALL FIVE of my dogs now go poo before they go to bed which means no “mommy I have to poo” emergencies in the middle of the night.

***Another benefit of the dog food we feed our dogs is our white deaf dogs no long have those awful red tear stains running down their cheeks. We feed our dogs Merrick Grain Free Healthy Weight Recipe dog food. You might notice in all of our photos Nitro, Bud and Bowie don’t have the red tear stains anymore. Ever since we stated feeding Merrick (July 2015), all the tear stains have disappeared completely.

 

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Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #4 – Invest in a larger crate/kennel and add a stand up fan next to the kennel. 

Chris and I started out using crates with our deaf dogs but we decided to go a little bigger. Even though Nitro and Bud are  crate trained, we wanted them to have a bigger space to sleep in so we invested in a couple of outdoor kennels and put them in our bedroom close to our bed. The kennels run anywhere form $199 – $250 (here they are on Amazon) but well worth the cost because our deaf dogs love their “bedrooms”. We also feed them in their kennels. We added a stand up fan for them to use as “white noise”. I know that sounds funny since they can’t here but the smooth continuous vibration of the fan is like “white noise” to a deaf dog. This helps them sleep better so they can’t feel other vibrations of passing motorists, planes flying low, and in our case vibrations from someone shooting fireworks or a gun at night (we live in the country).

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Extra tip: Put your scent on a T-shirt to calm your deaf dog by wearing your shirt prior to putting it in your deaf dog’s crate. Does your dog get nervous when spending time in a crate at the vet’s office? Take one of your t-shirts and wear it for a day to get your scent on the fabric. Put the t-shirt in a plastic bag and seal it. When it comes time to drop off your dog at the vet’s office be sure to give them instructions to put your t-shirt in the dog’s crate while your dog is there. This works great for both hearing and deaf dogs.

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Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #5 – Teach all of your dogs the “treat” sign 

Teach your deaf and hearing dogs a universal “treat” sign. All five of my dogs know the sign for “treat”. They can all be outside wrestling each other and if I open the door and flash the “treat” sign, it is almost like magic because they all stampede to the door at exactly the same time.

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Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #6 – Use a nail grinder to manicure your dog’s nails 

Instead of using a nail clipper use a Dremel manicure tool to grind your dog’s nails. We purchased the high end Dremel 8050 – N/18 because it has an LED front end lighting feature. My dogs hate the nail clipper but none of them mind the Dremel. Chris trims our deaf dog Bud’s nails just like in the following video but he also followed the training instructions and slowly got Bud use to the vibration of the Dremel before he ever used it on him. Using a dremel nail grinder tool on a deaf dog is so easy because they can’t hear the sound of the motor.

With my deaf dog Nitro I use his “leave it” training to make it easier for my husband to do the grinding. I set up a stool with a plate of lunch meat cut up into small pieces. I have Nitro stand in front of the stool with his nose within about 12 inches of the plate. Next I stand over him and hold his collar. I place a piece of lunch meat on the stool in front of the plate and give Nitro the “leave it” sign. He looks at it and then he looks at me to give him a thumbs-up sign and a a piece of lunch meat. What this does is make him stand perfectly still and focus on me and the lunch meat while Chris grinds all of his nails. With my deaf puppy Bowie I hold him in one hand and play the “leave it” game with the other hand while Chris Dremel’s Bowie’s nails. Easy peasy!

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Not only do my dogs get really good at “leave it” training when we are using the dremel but they also get beautifully manicured nails. You can find nail grinding tools for $29.00 and up. We purchased the Dremel Micro which has a light that makes the job of grinding so much easier when you can see each nail.

 

Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #7 – Use a double fail leash system

Develop a “double fail” walking system for your deaf dog. This is a very important life hack!  Since a deaf dog owner’s worst nightmare is their deaf dog slipping out of a collar and running off, I want to share with all of our readers our “double fail” walking system we use. If you were to trip and fall your dog will still be attached to you!

What you will need:

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***A good collar (we like the Orvis buckle collar with the embroidered contact info on the collar)

***A 6′ long leash – We like the Kong control grip plus 6′ x 5/8″ leash with a clip at both ends but any 6′ X 5/8″ leash will work

***A Puppia mesh harness but a regular harness will also work.

***A 2-dog Coupler 24″-36″. We purchased the Top Paw for $13 at Petsmart

***Cross body treat bag (or doodie bag) or a leather waist strap
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What I do is clip the 2 dog coupler with one clip going on the D-ring of the harness and the other clip of the coupler going on the D-ring of the collar.

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Next, I take my 6′ leash and put a loop in the middle where I can comfortably hold onto the loop when I am walking my dogs. Next, I clip my leash to the ring on the coupler, clip the handle of the leash to my cross body bag (so I can go hands-free in case of an emergency as the dog stays attached to me).

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If you don’t have a 2 dog coupler or a double clipped leash, no worries because you can still do this by using a regular leash. If you want to use a regular 6′ x 5/8″ leash, you can loop the handle through the dog’s harness, clip the leash to the dog’s collar and then loop it in the middle where the distance feels comfortable for you to hold on a walk. The difference with this double fail is you are holding the loop (instead of the leash being attached to your belt or body bag strap) but you still have a double connection on the collar and the harness (what every you do don’t let go of the leash).

When your dogs become good loose leash walkers, you can go to just the harness or collar,  When you go to one or the other you can attach one end of the leash to the collar and the other to your bag (still with a loop in the middle). Now that my older, bigger deaf dogs Nitro and Bud are nice loose leash walkers, I can walk them without the harness. I now attach one end of the leash to the collar, the other end to my cross body bag and I loop the leash in the middle to hold onto. I like my leash attached to my leather strap on my body bag so I can go hands free especially if I am walking all three of my deaf dogs at the same time.

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I walk all three of my deaf dogs with the two big dogs attached to my cross body bag so I can keep track of my deaf puppy Bowie zig-zagging in and out of the big deaf dogs.

Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #8 – Tips on safely bathing your deaf  (and hearing) dogs 

Hacks for bathing your deaf dogs. Because many of us have sensitive white unpigmented skinned deaf dogs we have to give special considerations to their skin when bathing, feeding, and using any kind of topical flea preventative/treatment. With that being said, I want to share with you some life hacks on how to bathe your dog so as not to irritate your dog’s skin.

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I always shop for a mild oatmeal shampoo. You can use your favorite brand of oatmeal or hypoallergenic dog shampoo. Before you get started be sure to dilute the dog shampoo in a plastic picture with lukewarm water. I add 1/4 of a cup of oatmeal shampoo and then fill a plastic pitcher up with lukewarm water. Stir the water and shampoo mixture. I also put cotton balls in my deaf dogs ears (not to far down) to make sure water doesn’t get in each ear. I use a wash cloth to clean my deaf dogs faces so I don’t have to put their heads under the water spout.

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I take an old towel and put it down on the floor of the shower/bathtub/or kitchen sink so my dogs don’t slide around. I also put a big plastic pitcher (blue pitcher) to drop my sprayer in while I am bathing my dog so I don’t get wet trying to hang it up.

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I also add a Safety 1st baby gate in front of my shower for my deaf dog Bud so he can’t get escape, run and hide.

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Bowie hates water on his face so I do his entire face with a wash cloth. Nitro likes water so he doesn’t mind if I rinse his face but I make sure he has cotton balls tucked down in his ears.

 

Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #9 – Use natural flea products on your deaf dogs

Use natural flea and tick products on your unpigmented deaf dogs. As I mentioned above we have to give special consideration to our three deaf dogs because they have unpigmented skin. What this means is their skin as well as their entire nervous system is very sensitive. I personally get dozens of emails every year from deaf dog family members telling me the devastating effects regular spot on flea treatments (and some oral treatments) had on their deaf dogs. We get stories about the spot-on flea treatments causing major damage to the deaf dog’s central nervous system. We had one family who put a spot-on flea treatment on their deaf 6 month old Bull Terrier puppy and within six hours of the treatment the puppy started spinning and could not stop. The chemicals used for spot treatments are only tested on full pigmented dogs (dogs with color in their coats like beagles)and not white unpigmented dogs. For this reason it is important to consider using a natural flea preventative. We now use Wondercide here at Deaf Dogs Rock.

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If you have several dogs like we do also consider buying a good heavy duty spray bottle (from the garden center) because the sprayers don’t always work properly and I like to order 2 bottles at time and put all of the Wondercide from two bottles into one bottle.

If you find your deaf dog has fleas, another safe product to use on your dog and around your house is Diatomaceous Earth. You can also give your dogs Diatomaceous earth to eliminate roundworms, whipworms, pinworms and hookworms. Read more about Diatomaceous Earth by clicking here: 

Be sure to order Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth and read about the health benefits for yourself. I personally drink a 20 oz glass of water daily with a teaspoon of Diatomaceous Earth.

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Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #10 – Use a long line to exercise your deaf dog

If you don’t have a fenced yard but you want your deaf dog to play in the yard without running off, there are two things you need to consider getting. The first is a 20-30 foot long line. These long lines run from $10-$20 (on Amazon). Well worth the money (we also use the long lines for deaf dog “recall” training).  With a long line you can connect it to your waist and throw a ball. If you throw the ball far you will need to run behind the dog or you can play fetch in a 30′ radius.

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A second item to consider is the Dome Stake for securing the long line.  This runs around $20 or you can get a cheaper version for around $6.oo.  dome stake

***We DO NOT encourage any dog to be left unsupervised on a staked long line. 

 

Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #11 – Play games with your deaf dog using a flirt pole

If you live in an apartment the dog flirt pole is a great tool to give your deaf dog some fun exercise and at the same time work on his impulse control (we practice “drop it” often). The price of flirt poles starts at $17.00 on Amazon and go up to $30 or more depending on how sturdy of a pole you need.

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Your dog should be doing a solid ‘watch me’, ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘down’, ‘wait’, ‘leave it’ or ‘drop it’ commands before you use the flirt poll. You can get your dog consistently doing all these commands by implementing “Nothing In Life Is Free” training every single day.  Your deaf dog will earn a reward for chasing the object/toy at the end of the flirt pole. The dog does not get to participate until you give the “go play” sign. The dog gets to play as long as he is consistently follows your commands. This practice is a great impulse control exercise for your deaf dog and may also help your dog who is easily distracted when smaller animals are in sight.

The video above is a PERFECT example of flirt pole training/exercising. This is by Cinimon Clark of Turnaround Training and her Head Trainer Allie Hashimoto demonstrating some basic Flirt Pole Techniques you can use these techniques with your deaf dog using sign commands.

The game should be fun but also somewhat structured with some basic rules. For example the dog should do a ‘sit’, ‘down’ and ‘wait’ before getting permission to chase the toy. You can come up with a sign for ‘take it’. I use my sign for ‘find it’. The game will start and stop if the dog grabs the toy without permission. Once you give the ‘go find it’ sign let the dog really play for awhile. Let the dog have an exciting tug time but also after a few minutes slow down and ask for a ‘drop it’ sign and start all over with a ‘sit’ and ‘wait’. Don’t let your dog jump too high and be sure to change directions often. Keep the flirt poll toy close to the ground most of the time.

 

Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #12 – How to make life easier by strategically placing dog gates throughout your home

By strategically placing dog gates throughout your home will make living with a deaf dog much easier because as we all know our deaf dogs love to get into things when we are not looking. I use my taller hallway dog gate area for a “time out” training area. I take advantage of my dog gates often especially when I  have company over for a visit. This helps Nitro and Bud from getting too excited by putting them in a separate area until they calm down.  I use a Safety first baby gate when I go to give Nitro or Bud a bath in the shower. By using the baby gate, I don’t have to body block from trying to escape.

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Above: We use baby gates to keep all five dogs out of our walk-in closet (there are lots of yummy shoes and boots in there) and the end of the hallway is our official “time out” area for Bud when he gets into things or plays to rough with Bowie he gets put in a “time out”.

Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #13 – Dog enrichment using stuffed Kong dog toys

I don’t know what I would do without Kong dog toys  that can be stuffed with treats. If I need to run into town and leave the boys in their kennels, I make sure to stuff a couple of Kongs to keep them busy. If I know ahead of time I will line the interior of both Kongs with Merrick grain free canned dog food and freeze them. When it is time for me to go both my deaf dogs Nitro and Bud race to the back bedroom and jump in their kennels and wait for me to serve them their yummy stuffed Kong treats.

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Deaf Dogs Life Hack #14 – Take advantage of the afternoon sun for great photos

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Rockin Photography Tip! The first tip is to use the afternoon sun to your advantage when taking photos of your dogs. Do you love taking photos of your deaf and hearing dogs? I love to share a peak into our daily lives with our followers on our Deaf Dogs Rock Instagram page. I take advantage of the afternoon sun.  I wait for the sun to shine directly through our living room window (around 11:am -2pm) before I start taking pictures of my pups. Once the sun is shining into the living room, I get out all of the dog toys and scatter them all around the living room floor. As soon as the dogs start focusing on their toys, I have my camera phone out and start taking pictures with the sun shining directly on their adorable little faces. Sometimes I wait until nap time. Waiting for the sun to shine on them is my number one secret for getting good photos of my dogs.

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My deaf Bud napping as the afternoon sun shines in the living room. 

 

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Sometimes I like to get the rays of sunshine beaming through the window and make it part of my photo composition. 

Below: More sun photos taken in the living room in the afternoon. 

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Bud: “Talk to the paw!”

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Bowie: “S’up dawgs?”

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Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hack #15 – Use the Shutter Hugger to get your dog’s attention to take great photos

Use the Shutter Hugger to get your deaf dog’s attention to get a good photo! A while back I saw this totally cool product on the Ellen Show called the Shutter Hugger so I ordered one.

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I thought I would try it out on my camera while photographing my dogs out in our front field because most of the time when they are outside playing, they are usually distracted. I highly recommend this product because as you can see from my photos below it totally captured each one of my dog’s attention. These cool little camera creatures only cost around 19.99!

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Photos below: This is what happened when I slipped the Shutter Hugger on my little Nikon D3000. All of my dogs just stared at my camera!

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I hope you enjoyed our Deaf Dogs Rock Life Hacks! Rock on! ~ Christina, Nitro, Bud and Bowie

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