Sometimes, it does bother me. Like when I want to grab her attention by calling her name, but she doesn't even notice. Her recall was not great before, but now I don't even bother calling her to come inside. I'm much better off putting on my shoes to round her up back into the house from the yard.
In light of things, I started thinking about all the good reasons why it's not so bad when your senior dog goes deaf. I'm not saying that I'm happy about it, but just trying to embrace this new stage in her life. It's really not the end of the world, after all. Now, we just do things a little differently.
1. She doesn't get scared or worked up by thunderstorms or fireworks anymore.
Shiner wasn't always nervous during thunderstorms, but her anxiety during them grew just a little bit as she aged. She was just more clingy during them and wanted to be close to me. Also, in the summer time here the baseball field across the street always has fireworks every Friday or Saturday night. She'd hear them sometimes and get all worked up barking and groaning and carrying about.
Now, she doesn't even bat an eye to these scary noises and sleeps peacefully during thunderstorms and fireworks.
2. No more barking at every little noise she hears.
If Shiner were to hear a noise that she found unacceptable, she would immediately jump off the couch and bark really loud. 95% of the time, the noise turned out to be nothing. But her barking was a good way to wake me up or anyone else that might be asleep in the house.
These days, Shiner barks at noises much less than she used to. She just isn't hearing the noises anymore. I can say hello to more quiet sleep and less interrupted naps for my daughter.
3. She can sleep more peacefully.
4. New ways to communicate.
Because Shiner can no longer hear my commands, I have to find new ways to communicate with her. It's a challenge sometimes, but it's also a wonderful bonding experience. When I trained Shiner basic commands - sit, shake, lay down, and stay - as a puppy, I used hand signs with them. Thankfully, even though Shiner probably cannot hear me speak these commands she can still identify what I want her to do with hand signals.
Now if I can only get her to quit being so stubborn about getting off the bed when I want her to! ;)
5. She wants to be with me all the time.
This one does have its ups and downs, but it's nice to feel loved. As Shiner has aged and lost her hearing, she becomes closer to me and seems to want to be where ever I am most of the time.
Have you ever had a senior dog with hearing loss? Tell us about them in the comments!