How to Care for a Deaf Dalmatian

A deaf dalmatian can lead a normal, happy life.
i Dalmatian dog image by LiveMan from

With 10 to 12 percent of the breed being born deaf, dalmatians have the highest incidence of inherited deafness, according to the ASPCA. A dalmatian requires you to be energetic, active and patient. If you have the time, this is a highly trainable breed with or without hearing.

Step 1

Learn sign language for commands. The basic commands are sit, down, stay, come, no and stop. Add additional words after your dog learns these commands, according to Susan Cope Becker, author of "Living with a Deaf Dog." A deaf dalmatian trained with sign language can recognize a sign across the yard. To get your dalmatian’s attention try waving, stomping your foot to create vibrations or turning a light on and off.

Step 2

Reward with treats, smiles and clapping. Verbal praise has little meaning to a deaf dalmatian, but treats positively reinforce good behaviors. Like people, your dalmatian can read your mood based off your facial expressions, so smiling is a positive indicator of a job well done. Clapping is the sign for “good job.”

Step 3

Keep your dalmatian leashed during walks, in unfenced yards and at the park. If your deaf dalmatian instinctively chases a squirrel or rabbit, he can't hear you yell or hear honking cars if he runs into the street.

Step 4

Reduce your dalmatian’s startle reflex. Walk up behind your dalmatian and gently touch his shoulder. As he turns around, immediately put a treat in his mouth, according to Becker. This teaches your dog to expect good things when touched unexpectedly. If your dog is sleeping, gently touch his shoulder while holding a treat in front of his nose.

Step 5

Tell your dalmatian you're leaving. If your dog can't find you, he becomes anxious. Give your dog a treat and make sure he watches you leave. If he is sleeping, wake him up and have him watch you walk out the door. You can also teach a sign that you're leaving.

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