But I Gotta Go...

We have aquired a Border Collie who is deaf. She is two years old and is very well behaved. We use sign language to communciate with her. She has no problem understanding us. But we have one problem which is she does not know how to tell us that she needs to go to the bathroom. We have been basically timing it. We prefer to have her tell us when she needs to go rather than her depending on us. How can we train a deaf dog? Any suggestions?

A deaf dog in this situation is no different than a normal dog - because she needs to give the signal to you, not you to her. Some people use bells attached near the door that they can ring. Others just have their dog scratch at the door (expect a scratched door though). It's pretty easy to train them to do it. Just get them to paw at the door or bell with the use of a treat. When they get close enough to doing it, open the door and let them out. Continue over many repetitions.

My personal opinion however is not to train them to do this. It becomes the dog training you real soon as they ring the bell constantly to be let out, whether they have to go or not. Becomes the boy crying wolf routine. All my own dogs and rescues that come through must adjust to my schedule. They go when they are let out and that's when I decide to do so. Go then or forever hold your peace. I try to maintain a regular schedule so they have predictable bathroom times but they've pretty well been trained to go as soon as they get the chance because they can't expect to be let out again in 30 minutes.

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