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A Dog's Sense of Hearing. A dog is born into the world deaf. The dog's ears are closed until about the tenth day of life. The dog's hearing is fully developed at three tofour weeks of age. A dog can hear a wider range of sounds over longer distances than man. A man's hearing capacity begins at about 20 and stops at about 20,000 cycles per second. Dog's hearing starts at about 20 but goes up to 30,000 and some experiments claim as high as from 35,000 to 70,000 cycles per second. A dog's hearing is most acute inwith open, funnel shaped ears and that can prick and swivel their ear flaps. Congenital deafness does occur in and is often associated with white coat coloring. Dalmatians, Australian Cattle Dogs are particularly prone to congenital deafness.
Training Implications. There is never any need to shout at a dog. The dog is extremely sensitive to changes in his handler's voice tone, pitch, tremor and will react accordingly. Very loud noises and some high pitched sounds, eg smoke detectors, may cause discomfort and even pain to- some develop sound shyness of gun shyness which is extremely difficult to overcome. See dealing with difficult .
General Comments. If the dog is to work enthusiastically and willingly in the obedience ring, the obedience commands (and the dog's name) must have a positive reinforcement association with them. This is a major drawback with some of the compulsive methods used in training. It is virtually impossible to teach a dog an exercise using harsh compulsive methods only without associating the command with negativity. For example, the 'Heel' command using the jerk method is associated with an unpleasant choking sensation, the retrieve command using the Koehler method is associated with a pinch on the ear.Much of the dreaded 'lagging' seen in heeling is caused by the dog associating the 'Heel' command with an unpleasantness. Lagging at trials often occurs during the turns or at the change to fast pace because in training, the dog has received a painful jerk to bring him to heel during turns and on changes of pace. The voice command should be firm and unequivocal. None of the voice commands should be given in a reprimanding tone. But do remember a command is an order not a request. When giving a command in trialling, we expect implicit and immediate obedience, so let's not get into the silly debate about whether we are making a polite request or not.