How do you wake up a deaf dog without startling him? Jake has always had a fear-startle response to being woken physically. He has relaxed a little since we first got him 6 years ago, but used to be that if he was snoozing and you were lying back on the couch relaxing and you accidentally nudged him with your foot, he'd fly awake and grab for your foot all in one motion.
People had told me that in his early days as a rescue he had a horrible fear of feet and they suspected that he had been kicked a lot. Most of my dogs I've been able to rub their tummies with my toes (when we've both been in extremely lazy mode), but he won't have feet as a tool of affection, although he doesn't automatically try to grab and bite at them (ususally) any more. He did spin and grab at someone's heel at the agility trial 2 (3?) weeks ago when we were doing warm-up tricks and the someone walked by and stepped on his tail (which he has also always hated horribly).
Last couple of days I haven't been able to rouse him by voice, and even trying to touch him gently has him leaping into crazed, half-stunned awakeness, spinning to find his attacker, a feral look in his eyes as he tries to figure out where he is that is quite frightening. And if he's not hearing me, a soothing voice isn't going to help.
As I said--this will be interesting.