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Your little snuggly bundle of joy is learning his way around the house, and understanding your ways, and what is expected of him. Not only can puppies be goofy, they can test you. Sometimes, when they want something, or want to do something right then and there, and you are not cooperating, they take matters into their own paws.
Turning a deaf ear is a ploy that my dog Shasta pulled every once in a while. It took me a few times to figure out what was going on, but I finally had her number. The problem is, you have to make sure your puppy is trying to pull a fast one, and not, in fact, going deaf.
When Shasta was mad at me, she would actually sit with her back to me and ignore me, even if I said “cookie” (that’s what I called treats). I’m not kidding when I tell you that she would actually lift her nose in the air and sniff, as if she was a socialite that had been insulted into next week.
Real deafness is a problem and needs to be diagnosed after you are certain that there is an issue, and not an attitude that requires an adjustment. Puppies can be born deaf (congenital), or they can experience temporary deafness due to wax build-up in their ears. Ear infections, antibiotics and other medications can cause a dog to go deaf.
There are also certain breeds that are known to have hearing problems. The most recognized breeds are as follows:
• Australian shepherd
• Boston terrier
• Cocker spaniel
• German shepherd
• Jack Russell terrier
• Toy poodle
• Miniature poodle
• West Highland white terrier
Perform a few tests to be certain your puppy has a hearing problem. Try to be as sneaky as possible so you get good results. When your pup is taking a nap, make a loud noise – clang pan covers together, or drop a pan on the floor and see if he responds. Another thing to try is to go outside and pound on the door. See if he barks, or jumps up with his ears in alert mode.
If he doesn’t respond to noises he has never heard before, or even sounds he is familiar with, such as his favorite squeaky toy, there could be a problem. Have you noticed him shaking his head? Or, do his ears smell stinky? If so, he could have an ear infection. Keep in mind, if he is deaf, he won’t hear himself bark, so if he goes on a barking spree, he won’t be aware that he is annoying everyone because he can’t hear the racket!
Other things to look for are if he sleeps through loud noises, or if you pat him and he jumps up, snaps at you, or even bites you because he didn’t hear you approach. How many times has someone pulled that on you – tapping your shoulder and you didn’t see them coming at you, and you practically jumped out
of your skin?
Whatever you do, don’t punish him for something he has no control over. If, however, he’s pulling one over on you, then it’s leash time!