How to Train a Deaf Dog to Sit and Stay

Training a deaf dog obedience skills and basic manners is very similar to training a puppy. Instead of verbal commands for new skills, you will use hand signals and body language. Your deaf dog is just as eager to learn as a new dog.

As with all dog training, you need to commit time and energy into teaching your deaf dog. To avoid confusion, make sure each person in the household is using the exact same hand signals for training.

The benefits of learning how to train a deaf dog to sit and stay go beyond necessity and good manners. Training your dog is a bonding experience for both you and your canine. Once your dog learns hand signals you will have opened up an avenue to communicate with your dog.

Your deaf dog welcomes a challenge and is able to put their intelligence to good use. Every dog enjoys mental stimulation, it keeps them active and healthy. Training also is an opportunity for physical movement and building muscles.

When training a deaf dog, you will need to know how to get their attention, a way to signal they are doing it correctly, such as a “good dog” signal, and the hand signals for sit, stay, release, and shake commands.

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How to Train a Deaf Dog to Sit and Stay:  Getting the Dog’s Attention

The first question when you begin learning how to train a deaf dog to sit, stay, or shake is, how do I get the attention of my deaf dog?  There are four common ways to get a deaf dog’s attention; one is through vibrations on the ground, vibration through a vibration collar, through light signals and gentle specific touch.

How to Train a Deaf Dog to Sit and Stay: Ground Vibrations

There are two common ways to get your deaf dog’s attention using vibrations on the ground.  You can stomp your feet on the floor or use your fist to make tapping vibrations. 

How to Train a Deaf Dog to Sit and Stay: Collar Vibrations

Vibration collars are worn on the dog strictly for communication purposes. This type of collar should not be mistaken for an electronic shock collar. A gentle vibration collar can symbolize the dog’s name and draw their attention to you. 

How to Train a Deaf Dog to Sit and Stay: Light signals

This form of getting a dog’s attention is best used when it is dark inside or outside. You can use a small flashlight to get the dog’s attention.

How to Train a Deaf Dog to Sit and Stay: Gentle Touch

Be consistent with how you touch your dog and where you touch your dog when you want to get their attention. Often people will use two fingers and gently touch the dog’s shoulder or backend.

Before we begin how to train a deaf dog to sit, stay, and shake, make sure your dog has a signal for “good job”.  Dog owners with deaf dogs often use the thumbs up symbol as a way to praise their dog.

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How to Train a Deaf Dog to Sit and Stay – Sit

When you begin training your deaf dog, make sure they are awake and ready.  One suggestion is to take them out to eliminate and then begin their training. The first command to teach your deaf dog is “sit”, as many other commands can build off that one.

Sit.  You will need treats for this exercise.

  1. Hold a tasty treat in your hand, specifically between your thumb and pointer finger.  Your hand will be positioned away from your body with palm facing up.
  • After your dog smells the treat, begin to bring your hand upwards. Position your hand close enough to the dog that they will move forward to get it.
  • As you continue to move the treat upwards, your dog’s head will go up and their bottom will go down. The moment they touch the floor, use your praise symbol, and reward your dog.

Once your dog is 100% sure that a raised hand (palm facing up) means “sit”. You can slowly back off the treats.

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How to Train a Deaf Dog to Sit and Stay Stay

You will need treats for rewarding and your dog will need to know “sit”.

  • Place your dog in the sit position.  Keep in mind it is easier for a dog to keep that position if they are sitting on carpet or a mat. Tile floors are difficult for long sits for dogs.
  • Take a small step to the dog’s right, return, and reward your dog. Next take a small step to your left, return, and treat your dog. If your dog got up from the sit, position them back in a sit and take a smaller step next time.
  • Next you will take two steps away, return, and reward your dog.  Keep moving slowly and treating your dog for staying in the sit position.
  • Once your dog has the idea that you want them to stay in one position, you can name the position with a hand signal meaning “stay”. The palm of your hand is stretched out in front of the dog with fingers facing up.
  • Keep practicing “stay”, by giving the hand signal and eventually walking around your dog.  Only increase the distance between yourself and dog when they are ready.  Keep repeating this exercise.

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Free – Release from Stay.

It is equally important that your dog knows when the exercise is done, and they are able to move out of the “stay” position. 

Use the hand signal for release. Move both your hands up to your shoulder level, palms of your hands facing out.  Your dog is free to go play or rest.

Bonus trick! How To Teach A Deaf Dog To Shake!

Shake.  You will need treats for rewarding your dog.  It is helpful if your dog knows the “sit” position and knows how to give you eye contact. 

  • Get the attention of your deaf dog, place them in sit position, and have them give you eye contact.
  • Tap the back of the dog’s paw, pick up their paw, give the “good dog” signal and reward with a treat.
  • Repeat. 
  • Next, hold out your hand with the palm up, when your dog places their paw in your hand, signal “good dog” and reward with a treat.
  • An alternative method for teaching shake is whenever your dog naturally picks up their front paw, hold it and say “shake”.

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Learning how to how to train a deaf dog to sit and stay is rewarding for you and mental stimulating for your dog. An easy way to reinforce sit and stay is to use them throughout your day with your dog.

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