Mike's Q&A

An interactive question and answer forum with expert dog trainer Michael Wombacher for all of your most pressing dog behavior and dog training-related questions.

Deaf Dog Nervousness - What to Do?

Q: I have a deaf 6 year old chihuahua/terrier mix. Recently he's been acting weird. Whenever I bring him outside for a walk, he seems scared as if something is behind him. A week ago I took him to Fort Funston and there was this big dog that kept chasing him. My dog got scared and we carried him in order to prevent the big dog from attacking him. Ever since, my dog is very scared whenever I bring him outside for a walk. Even at home, he is also scared of something. What can I do to help him in this situation? Do u do training for a deaf dog?


A: Wow! That’s a bummer. One of the first things to know is that unfortunately many Chihuahuas, deaf or not, have tendencies towards nervousness. Generally the best way to deal with that is to try to couple something the dog really likes with the situations that freak him out. Bring some steak or chicken to the beach, keep him focused on you and the treats and try to have some fun with him doing little bits of training or fooling around and rewarding him with treats. Keep it all upbeat and probably do it in short increments so the dog doesn’t get overwhelmed.  You will have to be patient with this as anxiety related issues are always the most difficult to resolve. And having a dog missing one sense naturally exacerbates this. And yes, I definitely work with deaf dogs. Have worked with dozens of them, in fact. Not as hard as it might seem. As you can imagine, blind dogs are much harder.