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Deaf Dogs

Deaf dogs get along better than most might think. Why? Dogs view the world very differently than humans. A human communicates in this order...

1. Hearing

2. Seeing

3. Smelling

While a dog communicates in this order...

1. Smelling

2. Seeing

3. Hearing


Depending on the breed, a dog’s sense of smell is 1,000 to 10,000 times more sensitive than a human’s. A human has 5 million scent glands, as compared to a dog that has 125 million to 300 million. When a dog smells something, it can tell a lot about it; it's almost like reading a book—where the object has been, what it has eaten, what it has touched, etc.

Deaf dogs rely on their nose and eyes, and those senses become even more sensitive. It is important when grooming a deaf dog not to cut off its whiskers, as dogs use these to sense the distance of things around them.

A dog that is born deaf does not know he is deaf, or rather, he does not know everyone else can hear. To him, the world is what it is. A human who is disabled in some way, in most cases, is very aware of it. Humans have a tendency to dwell on their disability. Dogs do not dwell on what they do not have because they do not think about it that way. They do not sit back and reminisce about the past, or plan for the future. For a dog, it's all about the now and what it is doing at that very moment.

Besides the three senses, hearing, seeing and smelling, dogs possess yet another sense we humans lack. Dogs can read energy. If a person is nervous, they know it; if a person is scared, they know it; if a person is feeling sorry, they know it. While they can read these emotions, they read them differently than a human. To a dog, nervous, scared, pity, etc., are read as weak. Yes, if you feel pity for a dog it reads it as a weakness in the human.

A dog is an animal that instinctively lives in packs. Within the pack is a hierarchy. The definition of a hierarchy is "system of persons or things ranked one above another." When a dog lives with humans, the humans become his pack.

Even a family of humans has a hierarchy, in the sense that the parents are above the children, making the rules and dishing out the punishments when the rules are not obeyed. For a human it's culture.

For a dog, it's a primal, animal instinct which tells them there MUST BE an order.

Since a dog reads emotions such as pity, sadness, nervousness, fear, passiveness, etc., as weak, when these emotions are picked up on, instinct tells him he must take over and be a leader, for the pack’s survival. Without a really clear order, a dog will not be happy and more often than not, try and "save its pack" by becoming the strong leader its pack is lacking.

The ideal way to communicate with ANY dog is with body language and energy. Dogs need fewer words, more hand signals, along with a confident handler who can send calm yet firm vibes to the dog. A dog will feel this confidence in you and will respond.



In the vast majority of cases where a deaf dog has behavioral problems, it is due to the lack of leadership on the humans’ part and/or the humans’ emotions that are being directed at the dog.. A human may be able to hide their true feelings from another human, but we humans can never hide our emotions from a dog.

Never feel sorry for a deaf dog, because he does not feel sorry for himself. Deaf or not deaf, be your dog’s strong, confident, firm pack leader. Provide plenty of daily exercise along with lots of consistent boundaries and discipline. Teach the dog to heel on a lead and to enter and exit all door and gateways after the humans. After you have provided those things for your dog, give him love and you will have a well-balanced dog, deaf or not. Read more about  A Dog's Senses.




Written by Sharon Maguire © Dog Breed Info Center ® All Rights Reserved




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