This is Dakota’s Happy Tail sent in by Erica Thayer. Thanks Erica for sharing Dakota’s story with our readers and thank you for saving Dakota and making him a great example of how awesome owning a deaf dog can be with the right training commitment. According to my deaf dogs Nitro, Bud and myself the Thayer family totally ROCKS!

Christina, Nitro and Bud – Deaf Dogs Rock



My husband and I had been looking for a young dog or puppy to add to our family so we started volunteering at a local animal shelter. Every pup we came across the shelter staff tried talking us out of adopting. They even went as far as saying ” oh you don’t want to adopt that dog. He’s deaf and deaf dogs are difficult to train and require a lot of time and patience” but thank goodness in the long run we did not listen to the naysayers at the shelter.


Even though we were warned that we should not get a deaf puppy, I started browsing a local online classified ad and found a 3 month old Australian Shepherd puppy that they thought to be possibly deaf.

We made the 4 1/2 hour drive to go pick up our puppy, where we discovered that these people purchased he and his sister from a breeder in Colorado. They said he wasn’t responding to any noise and they lived on a farm which made them fearful for his safety. They gave Dakota to us for free under the stipulation that we get him fixed. We were thrilled we finally found our dog, the catch was neither of us had experience with training a deaf dog and had no idea where to start.

Dakota my handsome puppy-

We found a local dog training facility and they helped us teach Dakota universal hand signs, which he picked up very quickly. His house breaking took a little longer, 7 months to be exact, but now he gives us a sign when he has to go. We introduced him to other dogs, small animals, and young children as soon as we got him and now he loves them all.


As Dakota has matured, he has become protective of his people and his home. I have extreme depression and anxiety so having a dog that makes me feel safe and secure was necessary, especially since my husband is in the military and can be deployed at any time. We are now expecting a baby in the next couple months and are thrilled our little one will have such a great dog to grow up with! My family and friends all love Dakota and can’t believe how well behaved he is, being a dog with special needs. Just because a dog has special needs doesn’t make him any less of a dog! Deaf dogs rock!!