In this guide I will share everything I learned from having a deaf French Bulldog. This guide will be the most beneficial for people that; (a) are considering the adoption of a deaf dog. (b) have adopted a deaf dog and need further advice (c) have a deaf pet and want to keep reading to see if there is anything they can learn /change in their life for the better (d) have a dog who might be losing their hearing and (e) might be curious and want learn more about living with a deaf Frenchie puppy/ adult French Bulldog or any other breed.
If you are in any of the categories above this article is absolutely for you. We understand this article is long, however, we have a lot to say on the subject matter and great tips that can help many dog owners and their pets. We have interviewed three fellow dog mamas which all have hearing impaired dogs to get a broader perspective and more “expert mama advice”. It is also important to mention that this article is written from our perspective, by “our” I mean Bluenjy and I experience and point of view. This will not be an article that we research the subject and put together some scientific formula. This is based on our lives and true experiences.
BACKGROUNDI got my French Bulldog at 8 weeks old from a breeder in Los Angeles. The breeder promised my new blue baby boy was completely healthy. I was provided with all his documents and records. I did not have any concerns for any health issues at that point nor did I have any idea he was deaf. I took my tiny Frenchie puppy home and knew his name would be Bluenjy. Many people ask on a daily basis how I came up with this name. After all he is the only one in the world with this name. I was looking at a baby boy names’ book and came across Benji. I knew instantly his name was meant to be Bluenjy (Blue and Benji combined). I chose a unique name because I knew he was unique from the moment I saw him. There was something so special about him and I wasn't wrong. I fell in love instantly like nothing I have ever imagined.
A DEAF DOG WILL BE CLINGY BUT THAT'S NOT A BAD THING.
I never understood why my Frenchie would stalk me everywhere and not leave my sight. I attributed his “stalkerish behavior” to his breed. French Bulldogs are known to love being with their human and always chasing them everywhere but there was an extra clinginess I didn't understand. It was extra then (when he was just a puppy) and it is extra now (hasn't changed). He is ALWAYS by my side no matter what. When I'm in bed Bluenjy is laying besides me when I go to the kitchen he is right behind me, when I go to the bathroom (yes, you guessed it) he is there too. No matter where I go he will always be my shadow. Now there is only one exception that he doesn't follow me, that's only when he falls asleep and can't feel my steps on the floor. I usually have to sneak out of the room with light feet because I don't want to wake him up when he is sleeping but he is so in tuned with me he usually does. You thought a normal Frenchie is clingy? You clearly never met mine and I wouldn't change it for the world.
A DEAF DOG WILL USUALLY CHOOSE ONE HUMAN TO CONNECT WITH IN ORDER TO NAVIGATE LIFE
Bluenjy chose me as his guide and sees me as his owner/leader/mom. He doesn't really greet other household members whenever they come home the same that he does with me. I have had dogs my whole life, I don't recall ever experiencing that with any other dog. I have to make the same point I made in the section above I don't believe it is a Frenchie breed characteristic. Yes, Bluenjy is a Frenchie but I believe both his breed and deafness contributed to him choosing one person who can be his guide in life. I put myself in his position and the way I see it is following 2 people can be confusing. Following one is a lot simpler from his point of view.
WHY DID MY DEAF FRENCH BULLDOG CHOOSE ME FOR EVERY DAY TASKS OVER EVERYONE ELSE IN THE FAMILY?
It is no secret of how much I love Bluenjy however, a lot of owners love their dogs and sometimes they are not favored. So why did Bluenjy choose me to be the one person whom he can count on the most? Is it the unconditional love that I give him? Is it that I held him first when he was 8 weeks old ? Is it him being in my lap on the first car ride home (tmi next) or me being the first person he threw up on? Or is it cause I gave him his first bath? Tried to potty him and teaching him tricks? Is it the funny videos and moments we shared together? As I reflect back we have done everything together from the very first day he came home. It is no wonder or coincidence I am his go to human. He trusts me and I trust him completely and the bond we share is like no other.
THE RED FLAGS I IGNORED AND HOW TO TELL YOUR DOG IS DEAF
There were red flags very early on. I attributed them to him being stubborn even though Bluenjy is a people's' pleaser I thought maybe its puppy hood, maybe its his breed, maybe he had "selective hearing" and just did what I asked whenever he felt like doing it. Maybe I was in denial all together. I thought there was no way he is deaf, his breeder would surly inform me if he was. I needed a LOT of red flags before I said that's it this Frenchie can't hear and I need to have his hearing checked at his vet.
THE CLASSIC WARNING SIGNS YOUR FRENCHIE MIGHT BE DEAF
OUR OWN TELLTALE SIGNS AND OCCURRENCES :
If your dog is exhibiting any of the above or similar signs don't hesitate call your vet and get your dog's hearing checked. It will save you and your Frenchie a lot of frustration. I discovered my French Bulldog was deaf after he was a year old. We navigated life just fine before I even knew he was deaf, however, knowing it made everything make sense and validated so many scenarios. I was finally able to piece everything together and was able to be sensitive and understanding of his hidden disability.
HOW TO WAKE UP A DEAF DOG
There is so much wrong information of how to wake up a deaf dog its absolutely unbelievable and ridiculous at the same time. You do not want to ever wake up a deaf dog with a touch ever. We have shared this waking up video with our followers some time ago and this is the best method of waking up Bluenjy.
In this video I show my method of waking up my Frenchie. I start with light taps on the floor next to him and calling his name. They can still feel vibrations when you speak so I always do so. Slowly increase the tapping and become louder as you go. This always works like a charm. You don't ever want to wake up a deaf dog abruptly. The deaf pooch will feel vibrations from the floor signaling for him/her to slowly wake up. If your dog doesn't wake up immediately take your time and increase the taps. This is the absolutely the best method to wake deaf dogs up. Do not touch the dog whatsoever. Any abrupt movement could cause panic anxiety or worse, a heart attack.
WHAT SHOULD A DEAF DOG WEAR?
WHAT IS YOUR TOP ADVICE WHEN DEALING WITH A DEAF FRENCHIE? WE ASKED 3 FELLOW DEAF FRENCHIE OWNERS AND HERE'S WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY:
If you find our your dog is partially deaf, completely deaf or going deaf due to medical condition or old age these tips from a fellow deaf dog mamas will be helpful:
Colston_leonard_and_beckham - Our deaf Frenchie can be food aggressive at times, we have to be cautious when feeding him around other dogs. We usually put his food away from the others. In Frenchie meet ups we make sure no one brings out food and if we are giving treats, Leonard is given his treats separately from the others to make sure everyone is safe.
Leonard's mom have taken her experience with her own deaf Frenchie applied and modified their lifestyle to keep everyone safe. This is an amazing example of how you can easily make certain adjustments in order to ensure everyone’s safety.
Maude_celine_frenchie - I would recommend bell training from a young age. Even though they can't hear the bell they will learn to get your attention that way.
I believe the advice from Maude's mom is incredibly important. To the average person it doesn't make sense to train a deaf Frenchie with a bell because they can't hear, however, if you take a closer deeper thought into this you will realize that a bell replaces a bark in a regular dog that can hear. We already mentioned above that deaf dogs rarely bark and barking is a big part of dog communication so a bell makes a lot of sense. Instead of barking and telling you when they need to go potty they can giggle the bell. Also you can easily locate a pet with a bell which is another plus.
Pintsizedbuffalo - I would recommend hand signals. They learn and adjust just like any other dog. You would have to train a dog that can hear so it shouldn't be any different for a deaf Frenchie.
We couldn't agree with the above statement more. Don’t treat your dog like they have a disability find a way that works for you and your pooch. We would like to thank all three fellow deaf Frenchie mamas for their input time and advice in the hope of helping others, educating and learning.
TRAINING YOUR HEARING IMPAIRED DOG WITH HAND SIGNALS AND VOICE COMMANDS :
This is easier to do than it sounds. I was training Bluenjy with hand signals before even knowing he was deaf. To my surprise it was very easy and he was getting things so fast. With hand signals you have to be consistent. Do the same signal every time you want your do to do the same thing and reward when your dog does it.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DOGS THAT ARE BORN DEAF AND DOGS THAT BECOME DEAF LATER ON IN LIFE?
Dogs that are congenitally deaf (since birth) do not realize they can't hear, they were like that from the very first day so they don't understand they have a disability. Dogs that are born with this disability are resilient and go through life with the best attitude and without a worry. Dogs that were not born deaf have a harder adjustment and could show frustration or anger at first. They know they were able to hear once and that makes things a little more challenging especially if you have to start re-training your dog in hand signals at an old age. We recommend training your dog with verbal commands as well as hand signals whether your dog hears or not. This will be very helpful in the case that your dog ever becomes deaf one day.
ARE DEAF DOGS LOUD ?
I find myself having to explain to people my dog is not growling this is just how he breaths. When a dog is deaf they can at times be extra loud because they can't hear themselves. My Frenchie Bluenjy is extra loud when he eats, gets excited, plays licks his paws sleep or pretty much anything else. This is unrelated to his BOAS (which he had the surgery for) he will always be loud just because he can't hear his own self and that is totally normal for us.
A DEAF DOG WOULD NOT HEAR A WARNING FROM OTHER DOGS SUCH AS GROWLING AND WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO RECOGNIZE A DANGEROUS SITUATION.
My French Bulldog does not get a hint when another dog is growling at him. He will keep on going towards the dog in a playful manner even though the other dog clearly wants nothing to do with him. This is where your instinct should kick in as a parent. If you see a dangerous situation approaching please remove your dog from that environment as soon as possible.
DO NOT ALLOW PEOPLE TO SURPRISE YOUR DOG. SAFE GUARD YOUR DEAF FRENCHIE OR DOG FROM BEING STARTLED.
Not everyone will ask you before reaching their hands towards your dog, however, be adamant and be your dog's protective. Safe guard your pooch like he/she is the most precious piece of jewellery on the planet. Have your dog close to you to avoid people touching and scaring your dog. If a person asks first you can tell them your dog is deaf and they need to put their hands for your dog to smell first then it would be safe to pet.
THEY WILL NOT ALWAYS KNOW WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO DO AND THAT'S OK.
There will be times a deaf dog will be confused and that is perfectly normal. Be patient and loving to your pet. Even if your dog has done the same commend a million times before and it is expected for him/her to know and do what you want please be understanding and never lose your patience. Your dog is probably confused in that moment. Here is an example of confusion:
DEAF DOGS ARE EXTRA TOUCHY FEELY
Most dogs love affection but I found that my deaf French Bulldog need to feel and touch a lot more and often. Give them plenty of love every single day, they will appreciate it and feel secure.
We always like to look at the bright side of things, most optimistic people do and I am one of those. Here are some positive things in relation to a deaf dog:
DEAF DOGS ARE JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER DOG, IF NOT MORE SPECIAL. THE MYTH, THE LIES AND THE UNTOLD STORY BY CERTAIN BREEDERS
If you have a chance to adopt a deaf dog, don't hesitate to do so. Deaf dogs are incredible to say the least. Yes, you would have to do certain things differently but the bond you will share is like no other. Certain breeders euthanize a puppy if is found to be bilaterally deaf. Their reasoning for choosing euthanasia : deaf dogs are challenging to train, get hit by cars and they can snap or startle easily when sleeping or eating. In our opinion these are all great excuses to not give a dog a chance at life because the breeder wants a cleaner name. There are many people who would love to adopt care and love a deaf dog. They are special unique and deserve to be loved just like any other dog.
YOU CAN TRAIN THEM TO WALK OFF LEASH
You can train them to walk off leash with the "check in" method. Start in a fully fenced area to ensure safety and slowly teach your dog to check in with you every couple of minutes. Also use the same area to teach your dog to walk besides you. We would still never recommend walking off leash with your deaf dog in an open non-fenced area however, this will give your dog the framework to know what to do in case he/she accidentally gets off leash in a public space.
When you adopt a dog into your family there will be no manual that comes along with the dog. It is all a learning experience and we get better over time just like anything else in life. We should all aspire to learn evolve and get more educated on how to be the best pet parent we can be. Whether your dog is deaf, blind or has another disability they all deserve the best life they can have with unconditional love. Please let us know below if we forgot to mention anything, you have a question or simply want to share your story.
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