Abandoned, Unruly Deaf Dog Becomes Star Canine Good Citizen

Horus was abandoned when he was young because he is a deaf dog. Seen as unruly and untrainable, he spent his first few months of life in a drug den and was eventually brought to a rescue where he languished prior to being adopted. Under the loving care of his guardian, Rosie Gibbs, the clever dog has excelled at learning sign language and now knows over 50 commands.

Horus was taken in by the Dog Trust charity in Scotland when he was just a few months old. He was adopted soon after, but his adoptive parents returned him to the charity after one year because they could not manage him. He spent the next 18 months locked up in kennels waiting for a new home. Thankfully, Rosie arrived at the Dog Trust specifically looking for a deaf dog. Rosie is a sign language enthusiast and wanted her first dog to be deaf.

She took Horus home and within two weeks he had learned 15 commands. She says, “Nobody would take him because of his behaviour. He used to get aggressive around dogs and people, but once we got past that and began to communicate he turned out to be a brilliant pet.”

She trained Horus with Makaton – a basic form of sign language taught to children. Over the following 5 years Horus memorized 56 commands, knows a slew of tricks and has won numerous Good Citizen awards at the Kennel Club. Rosie explains, “A deaf dog can’t obviously hear you so you can’t call them back so I had to train him to “check in” with me every 20 seconds.”

She said Horus can’t hear but his other senses are stronger. She describes, “He can tell me who is at the other side of my garden fence by their smell and the shape of their shadow. If I walk into a room he notices the light change and turns around to see who it is.”

Rosie helps support other owners of deaf dogs and encourages others to not overlook them as potential pets. “People think deaf dogs are different and stupid and can’t be trained, but Horus is proof that they can,” she said. “I would recommend getting a deaf dog to anyone. He’s a member of the family.”

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