Boogee, my deaf boy

Deaf Dog Humor

By isak, August 25, 2015

I stumbled over this list of things owners of deaf dogs know all too well, but maybe didn’t realize about themselves.

You Know You Have A Deaf Dog When …

  • Your dog ignores you by turning his head.
  • Your dog doesn’t care if her favorite toy has a squeaky or not.
  • Your dog likes to lie under your feet or across the doorway, so that you can’t leave the room without him knowing.
  • Instead of listening for the car, your dog watches for headlights on the wall and can tell your car from your spouse’s.
  • You flash the porch lights on/off for your dog, rather than for your teen-ager.
  • Stomping on the floor doesn’t mean you are angry.
  • You notice the Christmas bells in the craft store and immediately think “What a great size for the dog’s collar!” and buy a box of 24.
  • Your first thought when you see a new dog sport or trick is “hmmmm — I wonder what would be a good signal for that?”
  • You walk though the house waving a dog bowl when it’s time to eat.
  • You are the only one at the dog park “calling” your dog back by waving your arms over your head. And when she doesn’t come, you “wave louder.”
  • You constantly find yourself looking at the sky, the ceiling etc., trying to figure out what it was that your dog saw there.
  • Praising or scolding your dog consists of wildly exaggerated (and very comical) faces and hand motions.
  • Your dog watches your hands intently, trying to decide if you are talking to him and what the motions might mean.
  • You inadvertently train your deaf dog to do something weird, because a habitual gesture you use all the time caught her attention.
  • People are impressed that your dog knows so many hand signals – until you tell them that he is deaf.
  • The first question you receive regarding your deaf dog is “does she bark?” (And then you can amaze them by turning to your dog and signaling her to bark, which she does quite well.)
  • People argue that your dog cannot be deaf, he’s paying too good of attention, is responsive and well trained, and his ears move.
  • You unintentionally find yourself doing your “good dog” hand signal to your coworkers, spouse, and all dogs and cats that you encounter.
  • You find yourself making exaggerated hand and arm motions to get any dogs’ attention, instead of making clickey, kissey, smooching noises. You also ask them to sit with your hand instead of your voice.
  • You and your spouse can communicate silently in public by using your dog’s signs.
  • You can sign “sit” and your dog and kids will all sit and look at you.
  • You’ve learned to do sign language and shift gears at the same time while driving.
  • Your dog trainer stops talking to the hearing dogs, too.
  • Your other dogs have learned all the deaf dog’s hand signals by osmosis. Not only that, but they wait for the hand signal after the vocal cue, like they don’t believe you really meant it until they see the signal.
  • You can open a crinkly snack bag and your dog doesn’t notice till the smell reaches her.
  • Your dog either ignores the vacuum or thinks it’s a great thing to play with.
  • You don’t have to spell W-A-L-K or S-Q-U-I-R-R-E-L or B-A-L-L when talking in front of your dog.
  • You can sing off key and your dog doesn’t howl.
  • You can talk on the phone and still talk to your dog without a break in your conversation. Ditto for having a sore throat.
  • It’s normal for your dog to not greet you as you come home from work. Instead you have the opportunity to participate in a game of “where’s the dog sleeping now?”
  • You are able to enter your house with an armload of groceries, sneak into the kitchen, and unload them – all before your dog knows you’re home.
  • You can get up to go the bathroom in the middle of the night and your dog doesn’t wake up. If you are really sneaky, you can even get up and be completely ready for work before letting your dog out of her crate.
  • You can play possum and not have to get out of bed so early in the morning if your dog just doesn’t see you move or open your eyes.
  • You can look forward to July 4th and New Year’s Eve because the noise doesn’t bother your dog. It also doesn’t take hours to coax your dog out from under the bed after a thunderstorm.
  • When someone rings the doorbell, your dog continues to sleep (people think he’s so well-behaved).
  • You can walk your dog down the street without stopping as the neighbors’ dogs bark while you pass by.
  • Dogs can bark right outside your house and your dog will go right on sleeping.
  • When the “Twilight Bark” starts up, it skips your house. On the other hand, your dog will wake up in the dead of night to bark at something she thinks she saw, and upset all the dogs in the neighborhood over nothing.

reprinted from Deaf Dog Education Action Fund website


  1. Anne says:

    Had a deaf cat, could vacuum her – she loved how it felt. Also when it was time for supper, I had to bang on the sidewall and vibrate would alert her. She and I had almost twelve years together. Would love another deaf cat. Dog might be too much…..

    • isak says:

      Love your story. Sounds like you two had a great system. I have noticed that my deaf dog LOVES all people and all animals. He’s not a great watch dog or protector, and I’ve often wondered if that is because of his deafness; if anything but love for all things is dependent on hearing. Puppyhood is great with a deaf dog because when they sleep, they are not easily wakened, so I think there is a less rowdy time. However my deaf dog seems to bark louder than the other dogs.

  2. Sheryl says:

    Wonderful! Sooo funny and true. Are signs for deaf dogs the same as ASL? I have two brindle pits that are simultaneously losing their hearing (very sad) must learn signs. Thanks for the many chuckles. 🙂

    • isak says:

      The signs are completely up to you to create. I thought I was singularly brilliant about flipping the front porch light at night (and even during the day if my dog is looking that way) to call my dog, but found out everyone with a deaf dog knows that trick. If you have had these dogs for a while, you may already be making hand gestures that you are not aware of that you can use. For example, do you pat your leg when you ask them to come or maybe you do another “come here” gesture with your hands. Do you point to the floor when you ask them to sit? So my suggestion is to first watch what you already do that they are already familiar with.

      The first two signs my dog learned — and they aren’t exactly ASL but he knows what I am saying — were “no” and “hell no”. The “hell no” is just a more dramatic version of “no”. Funny thing is, if I am chastising him, he looks away.

      I found him when he was just a few months old. It took me a couple weeks to even realize that he was deaf. I thought he was just a rambunctious puppy.

      Good luck. It’s not so bad. It’s just another adventure… 🙂

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *