How to Discipline A Deaf Dog: 9 Tips With No Punishment

How to Discipline A Deaf Dog

A well-disciplined dog not only makes it easier for the owner to live with their pet, but the dog will also be happier and more content. This is why I always recommend training your puppy from as early an age as possible… happy dog means a happy owner (and home)!

But what happens when you take in a deaf puppy or dog into your home? How difficult is it to discipline a deaf dog? Deaf dogs are just as smart as dogs will full hearing, but they rely on different methods when being trained and disciplined… meaning it is possible to discipline a deaf dog.

How to discipline a deaf dog? Disciplining a deaf dog takes patience, time, and love. Deaf dogs rely more on visual and touch signals to help understand corrective behavior. Deaf dogs also pick up on positive and negative moods from owners, meaning praise will help to discipline a deaf dog. Hand signals are also used to discipline a deaf dog.

Disciplining a deaf dog without having to punish them

Check out my list of tips to help you discipline your deaf dog (not as punishment) so they’re relaxed and content and behave as a well-disciplined dog, both in the home and when they’re out and about… a little scolding can go a long way, providing it’s done right (here’s how you can tell if your dog is going deaf).

1. A deaf dog will tune into your energies

Dogs are highly sensitive to the energies of their owner, both when you’re down and when you’re upbeat and happy. They can sense when you’re angry with them and when you’re pleased.

Your deaf dog is no different and if anything, they rely more on their senses to pick up your energy when you’re punishing or scolding them.

One of the best ways you can express your energy is through talking to your dog. Now, just because your deaf dog can’t hear, it doesn’t mean you can’t talk to them anymore. Carry on as normal and talk as you normally would with a hearing dog.

Your talking will help your deaf dog to gauge your energies, so help him along and keep chatting.

how to punish a deaf dog
If you punish a deaf dog they will quickly turn off and back away from discipline (Image via

2. Maintain a stable approach to disciplining your deaf dog

When you discipline a deaf dog you will find that they will respond much better to a composed and consistent approach to his training and disciplining. This includes using methods that are gentle but firm. A stable approach does NOT include:

  • Hitting your dog with your hands, a belt, or rolled up newspaper.
  • Making use of pinch chains or shock collars.
  • Yelling at your dog (your deaf dog may not hear what you’re saying but he’ll pick up negative energy from you which will distress him rather than discipline him properly).
  • Spraying water into his face.

A stable and consistent approach to discipling your deaf dog builds up a relationship based on respect and trust.

You don’t punish a deaf dog.

3. Use a leash and collar to correct bad behavior

One of the ways to correct bad behavior in a deaf dog is to use a leash and collar. This is especially useful when training your dog on walks in the local dog park or around the neighborhood. But you can also use it when you’re potty training them or starting a discipline training program.

The quick but gentle jerk and release action with the leash and jiggle of the collar tells your deaf dog that he needs to stop misbehaving. Your own energy while performing this technique must be relaxed but firm so your deaf dog only picks up positive energy from you.

4. Remain calm and assertive at all times

A deaf dog doesn’t need your sympathy! Being the smart creature he is, he’ll rely on his other senses such as his eyesight and sense of smell to navigate his environment. He copes perfectly fine as long as his owner (and other members living in his environment) is calm and assertive.

Showing sympathy can be construed by your deaf dog as a weakness and we all know what happens when a dog claims the role of the leader in a pack! So, remain calm and assertive while giving your deaf dog lots of love and attention.

Your dog will then recognize you as his leader and this gives him the confidence to trust and respect you too. And, to feel safe despite not being able to hear.

5. Use body language to discipline your deaf dog

Deaf dogs respond well to body language. This can include facial expressions, hand signals, and even certain postures of your body.

Develop some hand signals that indicate different commands for your dog. Remain consistent with these hand signals and it won’t take long for your deaf dog to understand what you want from him.

You can also use certain body movements to discipline your deaf dog. A slight turning of your body could indicate to your dog that he must not do something.  Turning your back completely and walking away can also be used to show your disapproval.

6. Set the intention

This requires some practice and works best if you have a close bond with your deaf dog. By understanding that your dog can pick up on your energies and what you’re thinking, you can set intentions. This means, you set the intention in your mind what you want your dog to do.

You can practice doing this whenever you want your dog to sit. Maintain a relaxed body posture, get your dog’s attention by holding his head gently and looking into his eyes.

Then set the intention in your head. By setting the intention for him to sit, in your mind, your dog will tune into your intentions.

7. Praise your deaf dog when he does something right

With hearing dogs, we praise them with words such as “Good boy” in a tone that tells your dog he’s done well. With deaf dogs, you can still praise them with words (remember, they pick up on positive energies this way) but you can also reinforce the praise by tapping him gently on his shoulder, giving him a treat, and lots of love.

Positive reinforcement works just as well in disciplining and training deaf dogs as it does with hearing dogs. The technique may be slightly different but if done properly, your deaf dog will respond in a positive manner. And this will reflect in his good behavior.

8. Avoid startling your deaf dog

When training your deaf dog to be a well-disciplined dog you need to take into account that he’s startles more easily than a hearing dog. Unfortunately, there’s a myth that deaf dogs are more aggressive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. However, if a deaf dog is startled, his response may be to bite.

One of the times a deaf dog may bite is when he’s woken up suddenly. This is a natural response, but you don’t want your dog to bite. It’s your responsibility to teach everyone in the home to approach a deaf dog gently and with care.

You can scold your deaf dog through desensitization. This process entails approaching your deaf dog when they’re awake, from behind. You then gently touch him on his body and as he turns around to see who’s there, give him a treat. Your dog will soon learn that touching doesn’t mean he has to be startled and react negatively such as by biting.

Scolding your deaf dog too much could have the reaction you don’t actually want. (Image via

9. Hire an animal behaviorist

If your methods of discipling aren’t working for your deaf dog, then consider hiring an expert in dog training. A well-trained animal behaviorist understands how a dog behaves and what drives their behaviors. By applying this knowledge, they’re equipped to teach your dog to perform in a well-disciplined manner.

An animal behaviorist will also help you undo any bad habits your deaf dog has developed. With the correct techniques and training, an animal behaviorist will be able to assist you in disciplining your deaf dog.


Just like with any dog, you don’t need to punish a deaf dog. A little scolding is fine, but punishment, anger, and hitting never works with dogs. That doesn’t mean you can’t discipline a deaf dog though… you can, and they will react to it just as well as dogs with hearing.

You just need patience, perseverance, and love.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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