Our old girl has become quite deaf over the past couple of years. She doesn’t hear us when we come home. If she is sleeping I wait for her to wake up before I greet her so I don’t make her jump out of her skin. She doesn’t notice when I run the vacuum unless she sees it. She once got lost on one of our favorite hiking trails two summers ago. She couldn’t hear us call her. (That was a scary day!) Fireworks still spook her. I think she can feel the vibration.
To compensate for her loss of hearing we have had to develop some new ways to communicate. She watches us very closely. Shoes and coat on – go for walk? Go to work? Am I coming? When she wants to come in from outside she barks louder. Maybe she thinks we don’t hear so well either. Leaning hard on the leash at the corner means my old legs have walked far enough – can we take the short route?
When we were first training her when she was young we used a mix of hand signals and verbal commands. Obviously, the verbal ones don’t work anymore. These are some of our new hand signals that we have developed over the past couple years.
What sort of communication routines have you and your pet worked out?