Meet Our own deaf
Winter is my deaf boy. When I agreed to take on a deaf puppy I wondered if I was up to it. Now I wonder at why I had never tried it before. He's the best dog/puppy I could have hoped for.
A lot of the credit for his disposition is due to the woman I got him from, she exposed him to lots of handling right from the start and he was always corrected for mouthing etc. She raises one litter each year and gives choice of the pups to a companion animal project for people with Parkinson's disease. So understandably her line of dogs has excellent temperament to begin with but her attention and loving care make a difference also.
My girlfriend is a petsitter and for the first six months I had him she would pick him up every workday morning and take him with her on her rounds. This exposed him to other dogs, cats and people which was a tremendous help in making him behave around others. She helped me teach him how to behave and to learn some hand signals. I haven't been as good about teaching him signs as I probably should but he is a good dog and does as I want most of the time so I just haven't bothered to push it.
I had three other rescue Danes when I acquired Winter and they were also quite helpful in teaching him. I do rescue to a small extent here in New England and my dogs are rescues themselves who have learned to be tolerant of new rescues passing through. So a puppy wasn't too much to expect them to handle though at times he could get difficult for them.
He learned right from the start to follow the lead of my oldest male and Rajah was happy to have the puppy around to liven things up. The other dogs have all been very tolerant of his puppy teeth and antics, they've actually enjoyed the new plaything he was until he got bigger than they are. I have to say that we seem to be a very happy pack and everyone gets along well and Winter's deafness doesn't seem to have any effect on the others except that they show him more patience it seems.
I work part time at a small NASCAR track and I bring him and all my other Danes to the track on race nights and walk them in the stands so they get to meet people and learn how to deal with crowds. They all love meeting the people and the attention they get, especially Winter. He always gets the most attention from the kids and many of them have watched him grow and look for him every week during the season. Sometimes he can be a little too frisky with people but he usually is more careful around small kids in the crowds.
I have never seen any of the nervousness and jumpiness that I hear deaf dogs are supposed to have. As I have tried to explain we have made extra effort to expose him to anything and everything he might encounter so he knows how to deal with it without reacting aggressively. When I tell people that he's deaf they find it hard to believe that he's so well mannered but there's really no reason that he should be any different from any other dog.
Overall I would have to say that there are certainly some difficulties in raising a deaf puppy but the benefits far outweigh any problems. My only fear is that he seems to be more sensitive to outside factors and I worry that he might take sick more easily than the other dogs. I notice things like extra sensitivity to foods and heat or cold but he is still only a big puppy and hopefully he'll outgrow a lot of those problems as he matures.
I would recommend a deaf Dane to anyone who has plenty of patience and is willing to be loved unconditionally by a creature who may have a few more problems than another dog. We've found the rewards to be far beyond the extra effort spent raising him.
Thanks for your interest,
Paul E. Spencer firstname.lastname@example.org
A dog is not "almost human" and I can think of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such. - John Holmes
Website © Copyright DDRI, 2002-2011