How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Deaf?

By Kinsey Jamison

Deafness in dogs is a fairly common ailment that affects almost every breed of dog. While having a deaf dog does mean unique challenges when it comes to training, there are many proven methods for working with deaf dogs. A deaf dog can make a great family pet or working dog despite their disability. Recognizing deafness as early as possible is important for starting training and learning how to interact with your pet in a way they will understand

How to Tell if Your Dog is Deaf

Watch your dog as a puppy for signs of deafness. The most common sign of a deaf puppy is when they do not wake up when it is time to feed, yet all of their litter mates are nursing. Another common sign is biting even when their litter mates yelp out of pain. Yelping is generally an instinctual reaction to being bitten too hard and puppies will back off when they hear the sound.

Have a BAER test administered. According to, the Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response test is the most accurate method of testing to determine whether the dog is fully or partially hearing impaired. This is the identical test to the one performed on human babies, and can be administered any time after 6 weeks of age. This test can be expensive, therefore this option may not be viable for you. However, there are many facilities that offer the BAER test at a variety of costs to the owner.

Ringing a bell behind your back should cause a response in your dog.

bell image by peter Hires Images from

Test your dog with home supplies. You may notice that your dog doesn't come when called or doesn't react to sounds. One of the better tests is ringing a bell or cell phone, or squeaking a toy behind your back. If the dog does not react in any way, it may be possible that they are hearing impaired. Be sure that they cannot feel the vibrations of the sound during the test, as this can give incorrect results. You should also use a variety of tones and pitches because a dog can be deaf to some tones and not others.