These days thanks to continuing advances in veterinary care, our canine friends are able to enjoy a better quality of life for much longer. However, it is often their hearing and sight that fails them in old age. Fortunately, dogs have an amazing sense of smell which compensates for the loss of the other senses and provided we take their disabilities into consideration, they usually cope very well.
Hearing is usually lost gradually and you may notice that on walks your dog may seem disobedient if he doesn’t return to you when called. However, if he can hear the shaking of his dog biscuit box or the fridge door opening from the other end of the house, you are probably right to assume that disobedience is the problem!
Other signs of deafness would be not waking up when you enter the house, when normally he would be ready to greet you, or seeming in a deep sleep. At the first signs of deafness, it is always advisable to arrange for your dog to have a check up at the vets as his deafness can be caused by something other than old age – ie a blockage which can, of course, be cured.
Approach a sleeping dog with care because if he cannot hear you he may well not realise that you are there. You can teach a dog basic hand signals for sit, wait and come here. Go back to basics and reward your dog with treats just as you did originally when you taught him with words.