Deaf Dog Hand Signals

21 Comments

These signs are not special or official sign language for dogs. They are not from a book of signs. They are simply ones made up to use with my deaf dog Berkeley.

For more information about living with and training a deaf dog, please see Deaf Dogs.

Deaf Dog Hand Signs

This is only a very small sample. You can add to them and adapt them in whatever way you like. The main thing to bear in mind is that whatever signs you choose you must be consistent. Make a note of the signs you intend to use and maybe draw or photograph them. Put them on the fridge door or somewhere easy to view and stick to those signs.

To get their attention

To get their attention
Lie down

Lie down
Come here

Come here 
 Stay

Stay
 Go in the garden / do a wee

toilets
Walkies

Walkies 
 I'm going out (without you)

I'm going out without you
 Lets play / Get your toy

Lets play
Drop

Drop
Down

Down
 Bring it to me

Bring it to me
Eat / Dinner time

Dinner time 
 No / Stop it

No Stop it
 Someone is at the door

Someone is at the door
Sit

Sit
 Quiet / Calm down

Quiet
All done / Finished

Finished 

By Jenny Prevel

© D for Dog www.dfordog.co.uk
This article belongs strictly to D for Dog and we do not authorise the copying of all or any part of it.


A Morris
07 February 2019  |  18:23

I found this so helpful 'as am hoping to take on a dog who is def and partly sighted. The sighs seem not to hard for a dog to pick up. The only one I don't see a sigh for is to get him to go to bed.


Derek West
15 March 2021  |  16:21

For got to bed on our partially sighted deaf dog we simply point to the bed. She pick this up quite quickly


K Smith
26 July 2021  |  20:15

Our dog knows what it means but shakes her head no and lays down.


Doris Aquilina
18 July 2020  |  11:54

Is there a sit sign


D for Dog
18 July 2020  |  11:59

Yes, sit is shown above. We used a fairly standard sit sign but don't forget you can use whatever you like, these were just examples of ones we made up. Use whatever you like, just be consistent :-)


Michelle Issatt
09 August 2020  |  15:28

need help as our german shepard is going deaf


Monica
02 August 2021  |  7:12

Hi there, Iím looking for a trainer for our deaf puppy.. do you have any one to recommend? We live in London SE4. Thank you Monica


Shelly
05 January 2022  |  7:07

Can I ask if these are American sign language signs? I have taught dogs with hand signals but not these. If I should do it differently I would like to know!


D for Dog
05 January 2022  |  8:42

These signs are not special or official. They are not from a book of signs. They are simply ones made up to use with my deaf dog Berkeley.


Linda
28 February 2022  |  18:18

At first I thought Bj didn't like his name, he is my forth generation I had his great great great grandparents his great great grand father his great grandfather(who was the best dog I've ever had) and his Daddy RIP to all my babies my babies are straight up hienz 57s but there so beautiful! My 3 babies were saved from the mother's owner who only was looking to make money off the babies there short haired and were made to stay outside in 40į weather in a tent and I'm curious if that played any roll in bj being deaf I don't know if any other than the three I have are deaf I just know my white one blue eye one brown eyed baby can't hear at all but his sister and brother help him he learned to sit by watching them and he recognizes my hand sign to sit


Derek
25 March 2023  |  18:07

It is quite common for white dogs to be deaf, not all.


Kelly Morrison
13 June 2022  |  17:41

What about signs for good boy or good girl? Positive reinforcement is important.


D for Dog
13 June 2022  |  17:57

Hi Kelly, thinking about it, we didn't have a specific sign for good boy. He could tell when he had done well. I think people naturally grin, pat them, give them a treat... you know, all those kinds of things, when a dog does well and maybe we exaggerated them more without thinking about it. So no, we never had a particular sign for "good boy". I did sometimes used to use a head tap to say "yes" but that kind of just evolved as he was very ball intent (staring at his ball) so I needed a sign where I touched him. If you want one, you can make up any one you like :-)


Jeff R
11 September 2022  |  15:30

Wow, I'd have thought it was obvious...thumbs up sign for Good Boy/Girl. I do it with our hearing dogs already, as they will likely go deaf with age, when they will need it most!


Marian
23 November 2022  |  10:49

I use both thumbs up in a wiggly way for extra emphasis. And a big smile, they really read your expressions.


Gretchen
16 July 2022  |  14:39

My 8 year old dog went deaf after being treated for a yeast infection with Claro Otic. The signs you picture, for the most part, are IMO useless.


D for Dog
16 July 2022  |  14:51

And why is that Gretchen?


Jeff R
11 September 2022  |  15:39

All seem perfectly logical, Gretchen - However, as stated by DForDog, they are suggested, not mandatory. I hope you are not so negative with your canine companion, who probably doesn't understand your opinion either.


Nancy Weinrich
14 February 2023  |  1:13

This is a great sample but they also stress to use what works. I think we "talk"more with our hands than we think and with my deaf pup, it's really been easy BUT you have to be consistent. For taking a ride, I pretend having both hands on a steering wheel moving back and forth....dinner time is putting my fingers to my mouth and then I "chew"....Most all signing can be same as you'd use for your toddler.


Liz
27 February 2023  |  0:09

I just adopted a 14 y/o cockapoo who is deaf. I picked up some pointers from this article. We communicate pretty well for only being together two weeks but he is a barker. It is good that he barks to let me know he needs to go out, needs water or food, get on the bed, or wants to play. But he barks long after he gets my attention and I am in route to meet his needs. He also barks every time I go in the kitchen to get something, clean, or just sit at the table. He also barks when he can't find me. Any tips to control the barking?


Judy G
20 July 2023  |  23:52

This is wonderful! I rescued a little Pomsky, no hair, terribly malnourished, abused, etc. Turned out he is also deaf, 3/4 blind and not potty trained. If I touch him when heís sleeping, he goes crazy; also if anyone comes near me. Crazy meaning frantic, terrified, snarling, snapping. The rest of the time he is a loving, sweet angel. Any extra suggestions for me, or what I should look for in a dog trainer (he is so bad with strangers Iím afraid most would be mean to him and thatís part of his problem, the prior abuse). Heís almost 10 yrs old. Thank you for sharing this good info with us.