Thanks to Dawn Peterson one of our Deaf Dogs  Rock adopters for adopting Hocus Pocus who we had listed on our site a little over a year ago. When I received a message from Hokie’s new mom Dawn, I also noticed on her cool new blog The Second Hand Dogs that she was featuring an 8 minute training video using positive reinforcement clicker training (instead of a clicker you will see in this video how she uses an open flash of her hand). I use a three finger flash of my hand with Nitro so I can still hold a treat in the same hand. Several of our deaf families have mentioned they would love to see a deaf dog training video using captions so they will love this video. There is no audio only text right before each training session so you can see what Dawn and Hokie are doing. Dawn is not using ASL for her sign commands but she has made up her own sign commands.

Dawn’s video will show all of you exactly how I trained Nitro with a flash and then a treat.  As you can all see from this video, Hokie’s mom Dawn has been doing a great job of making videos of Hokie in training.

Hokie is a little more advanced so when you start training your deaf dog, you might want to put the treat in a closed hand so the dog can smell the treat first. Be sure to keep your hand closed with the treat inside your hand and guide the dog to where you want the dog to go. For example, if you want a puppy to sit, you would hold a treat slightly above his head where he will naturally sit to get the treat. If you want your dog to lay down, you point down at the ground and hold the treat to the ground. When the dog lays down to get the treat, then you will  flash your hand to mark the correct behavior and then give the dog the treat. You will see your dog’s wheels turning and the dog will try several things until he/she gets the right response and earns the treat (just be sure to flash as soon as your dog figures out the right move and then treat). All of this is considered  positive reinforcement clicker training. 

I also recommend doing the training on a leash at first so you can get your dogs attention and work on the “watch me” command. With the “watch me: command every time your dog makes eye contact with you, you flash and treat. Be sure the dog can’t see where your treats are coming from or they will stare at your treat pouch instead of making direct eye contact with you. When you start with the “watch me” training then you will have your dog’s full attention to advance to higher training levels. The “watch me” command also conditions your deaf dog to check in with you often (which is priceless).

Dawn’s training video is an 8 minute video (with no audio just captions before each section) so you can see how she asks her deaf puppy Hokie to do a certain command by using a sign, (when you first start out you might need to have a treat in your closed hand to lure the dog in place) then she marks the correct behavior with an open flash of her hand followed by a treat.

I hope you enjoy these training videos as much as I do. Be sure to leave comments below if you have any questions. ~ Christina Lee – Deaf Dogs Rock


Please Read:

Please consider if your dog is having serious behavioral issues, please contact a professional for an evaluation and tips on how you can improve your situtaion. The tips shared here are from my personal experience and I am not a professional trainer. Nothing I write on this blog can take place of a meeting with a trained K9 dog training professional.

Nothing on this website or any tips given by Deaf Dogs Rock or Christina Lee will be held responsible for any incidents related directly or indirectly to the materials published on Christina Lee or assumes no liability or responsibility for any of your actions taken after reading our published material on this site.