Deaf Dogs & Barking


Canine communication is a complex mix of body language, sound and contact. When one component is missing, a deaf dog can make mistakes interpreting other dogs or new situations. Other canines can turn aggressive as a result. Deaf dogs often become anxious, and crave the company of a kind human. But barking can be an issue that does need to be addressed to help make the partnership work.

Hand Signals

  • Identify when and where your dog barks most in the home and think about a hand signal that would be an appropriate one to tell it to "speak." Pointing upward with your right index finger might be a good choice.


  • Encourage your dog to bark and look at him excitedly as he does, making your clear "speak" hand signal as he does. After a few seconds, stop making the hand signal, produce a treat and place it firmly in your hand, making a fist with the treat inside. Place your fist in front of your dog's nose to trigger scent and smell, but do not give it to him yet.

Be Quiet

  • Placing a treat just in front of a dog's nose will immediately reduce and stop the barking behavior because your dog won't bark while smelling the treat. This gives you a brief window to make a clear "quiet" or "cease" hand signal at the same time as your dog is being quiet.


  • Stop making the hand signal and give your dog the treat once it has been quiet for a short period, praising the pet with gentle contact. Repeat the process until the dog understands the hand signals. Ensure that you wait for a period of silence before you give the treat so your dog understands what the reward is for.


  • Once you have taught the hand signals, you can use them to communicate with your dog when someone comes to the door, you are leaving your dog or your dog begins a barking frenzy. Use your lead if necessary to gain more control, remain composed and rehearse your routines daily.

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  • Photo Credit barking brown dog image by Paul Retherford from white dog image by SZILAGYI ANNAMARIA from Beautiful Dog image by Stana from dog eyes image by Vaidas Bucys from
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