Training a Naughty Deaf Dog Through Sign Language

When Rosie Gibbs adopted an ill-trained dog with hearing problems, she didn't give up on him like everyone else had.


After moving from house to house for more than a year, Horus the orphaned deaf dog was having a hard time landing a new forever home. Untrained and abused in his formative years, he only knew to behave badly until he met Rosie Gibbs. According to the Daily Mail, she was able to teach the pup how to read sign language.

Gibbs used Makaton, a basic sign language method that is more often used on children. When she was through with Horus, his vocabulary included 50 different commands.

The five-year-old troublemaker is now a happy and healthy, well-behaved pup. His signing repertoire includes sit, stay, play and he even knows how to open drawers.

Horus has become the star student at his obedience school and has earned a bronze, silver and gold at the Kennel Club Good Citizen Awards.

“People think deaf dogs are different and stupid and can’t be trained, but Horus is proof that they can. Horus now knows 50 signs, I’ve actually run out of things to attach signs to,” said Gibbs of her mongrel mastermind.

Gibbs adopted Horus when he was two from the charity Dogs Trust. She was aware that he had a very troubled past, spending much of his life jumping from different homes and being locked up in kennels, waiting for a new foster family.

It only took Gibbs two weeks to teach Horus his first 15 commands. “I used food at first, and every few seconds I would feed it to him so he got into the habit of checking to see if I had any. Once he had mastered that it was easy.”

This article first ran on our friend site, Pawnation. See more recent stories from their site:

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