My New Deaf Foster Dog is Teaching My Family How to Communicate


I’m a volunteer dog foster. This job entails me bringing a rescued shelter dog into my home and helping the animal get used to being with a family and other dogs. So far, my fosters have been great. My latest foster dog has presented me with a challenge I have never dealt with before—she is deaf.
I was originally asked to foster her because she is an Australian Cattle dog (also known as Blue Heelers, or simply heeler) and I love the breed. I currently have another rescued heeler and had another in the past. They have proven to be easy to train without much effort. So even though I knew my new foster was deaf, I figured she was a heeler, do how hard could it be?
It turns out that habits are hard to break. I knew Lupine, my foster, was deaf, but it took me a few days to remember that she could not hear me. Worse yet, just trying to get my kids and other dogs understand that as well. Needless to say, the first week was a mess. The poor dog would jump about 3 feet in the air whenever she was startled or bolt out of the door. I couldn’t call her back; she can’t hear me. Whenever she would hop on the table or steal a shoe, I’d yell for her to “drop it” or make a loud sound to distract. I’ve had dogs for most of my life, and this is what I was used to doing to correct a bad behavior. My kids reminded me time after time, “mommy, she can’t hear you.” After almost two weeks of general chaos and YouTube research, I got my act together.
I get that Lupine needed to decompress after coming out of the shelter and into a new environment, so she was extra skittish. My first step was to get her comfortable with my presence and touch. I told my family that we were going to stop yelling at the dogs and each other to get attention. Dogs and people read our body language, and we all needed to work on being better communicators without raising our voices. My kids and husband laughed. My oldest son said, “I don’t think you can go a whole day without yelling.” Wow. That really hurt. Did I yell that much?
I decided to take up the challenge. On day one, I focused on just getting Lupine’s attention. I made sure I was in her line of sight and attempted to project a kind, but confident pose. All those Cesar Milan Pet Whisperer episodes I watched were playing in my head. Be a calm, assertive leader. She made eye contact with me and proceed to sit or lay down. I tried this when she was engaged in bad behavior. I would step into her sight to distract and calming stare down at her—she stopped and sat. Awesome! I tried it on my kids next.It worked okay with the kids. Me standing there while they were fighting caught their attention, but it also solicited questions about why I was just standing there. It was still effective because it disrupted the behavior and distracted. I could do this.
I’ve been at my “no yelling” experiment for a few weeks now. I slip up every now and then. I find that Lupine, my other dogs and my kids are responding better now that I’m not yelling. With Lupine, I’ve learned that to get through to her, my non-verbal communication needs to be clear and deliberate. The same is true for my kids. Many times my yelling did not send a clear message (other than anger) that my kids comprehended. They were just focused on the anger and were too scared to process anything else.

I’m not perfect. Sometimes I just want to yell to express my anger more. However, Lupine has taught me that I can communicate better though my body language and often the message is clearer. Do my kids like this new non-yelling mom? Yep. When I discipline them for their bad behavior, they aren’t scared, they are disappointed. I am finding that I don’t need to discipline as much and feeling better, physically and emotionally form not yelling. Even better, my kids yell less. They love trying to communicate with Lupine and are not screaming at each other. Who would’ve have thought a little deaf dog would make such a positive impact on my life and family? Thanks Lu!


  1. 837724 247802I normally cant discover it in me to care enough to leaves a comment for articles on the internet but this was truly pretty very good, thanks and keep it up, Ill check back once again 675417

  2. 181517 979934Thank you for your really great info and respond to you. I want to verify with you here. Which isnt one thing I often do! I get pleasure from reading a publish that can make individuals feel. Moreover, thanks for permitting me to remark! 716240

  3. 248589 296615 There are some interesting points in time in this post but I dont know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Excellent write-up , thanks and we want much more! Added to FeedBurner as nicely 554080

  4. 960974 55392Id should speak to you here. Which is not some thing Which i do! I like reading an write-up that can make individuals believe. Also, thank you for permitting me to comment! 186792

  5. 436530 277765Its really a cool and useful piece of data. Im glad that you shared this beneficial information with us. Please maintain us informed like this. Thanks for sharing. 413312

  6. I’m impressed, I must say. Actually rarely should i encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you may have hit the nail to the head. Your thought is outstanding; the problem is something which inadequate people are speaking intelligently about. My business is very happy that I came across this during my seek out some thing in regards to this.

  7. 511392 87410I think this really is one of the most significant info for me. And im glad reading your article. But want to remark on some common issues, The web internet site style is ideal, the articles is truly great : D. Great job, cheers 728732

  8. Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this web site needs much more consideration. I’ll in all probability be again to learn much more, thanks for that info.

  9. 636416 993315Right after study a number of the websites along with your site now, and that i genuinely appreciate your method of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and are checking back soon. Pls have a look at my internet page likewise and let me know in the event you agree. 755604

  10. 724984 346306I discovered your weblog post internet website on the search engines and appearance several of your early posts. Always maintain the top notch operate. I additional the Feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking forward to reading significantly much more on your part down the line! 836329


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here