March 14, 2023
Deaf Dogs | Dog Edition #87

We humans assume deaf dogs feel bad about not hearing. Not so! They take it in stride, and are as easy to care for as a hearing-enabled dog. Their deafness can even be a doggy superpower.

Deaf dogs don’t get adopted, and we tend to feel really badly if our own dogs go deaf. What ignorant humans we are! On today’s show we hear from leading voices in the deaf dog advocacy community, and they set us straight. Turns out that if you can train, care for, and live with a hearing-enabled dog, you’ll love training, caring for, and living with a deaf dog, too. And yes, sign language for dogs is a real thing, and it works, just as well as voice commands.

Deafness can even be a doggy superpower. These dogs can perform with zero distractions in high volume circumstances that would make a hearing-enabled dog spin out. In fact, deaf dogs have broken two Guinness World Records.

It’s a lot to take in, but we promise, you will reform your own attitude toward hearing after listening to our guests today … and you’ll also have some simple ways to test your dog’s hearing at home.


Terrie Hayward is the founder of Positive Animal Wellness, an online resource for all-around positive reinforcement training that also specializes in deaf dogs.

Melissa Millet is the founder and head trainer at In Dogs We Trust. Melissa’s deaf dogs Jellybean and Lollipop are both Guiness World Records holders

Christina Lee is the founder of Deaf Dogs Rock, a 501-c3 nonprofit whose mission is to spread education about caring for, training, and living with a deaf dog.


Melissa Millet demonstrates basketball passes with her Guiness World breaking dog.

More info on the Piebald gene, a gene linked to deafness in dogs.


0:00 Intro

1:25 Why people (wrongly) overlook deaf dogs

3:37 How to use visual cues to train deaf dogs

4:50 Deaf dogs and sign language

7:20 More on training and living with a deaf dog

9:53 Some “advantages” of deaf dogs

11:36 Guiness World Record-breaking deaf dogs

15:46 Causes of deafness

18:37 Determining if your dog is deaf

About Dog Podcast Network (DPN)

DPN is the first of its kind. A podcasting network as devoted to dogs, as they are to us. Our mission is simple: entertain, inspire and inform. We will improve the quality of life for dogs and the people who love them.

Check out Dog Podcast Network for other dog-adjacent shows:

The Long Leash where we rescue tasty scraps from the editing room floor in an unscripted interview show

Dog Cancer Answers which offers vetted advice from real veterinarians who answer your questions about dog cancer

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