Thanks all so much for your suggestions. I will follow up on all of them.
I do quite a bit of dog training, using positive training/clicker method. Since it's based on luring, food rewards, and hand signals first, Pepper's done quite well. I just couldn't figure out why he could learn so quickly but I couldn't get him to move on from hand signals to verbal cues. Eureka! One quick visit to a local BAER testing location and I had my answer. He's not just deaf in one ear, it's bilateral.
He now knows about 20 hand signals - come, sit, down, stand, stay, roll over, sit pretty, crawl, wait, let's go, drop it, watch me, eat, walk, drive, ball, halter, etc. We're going to start agility nex week, so he'll be learning a lot more
Just for anyone else who might be interested in this topic - Sue Becker wrote a great little book "Living With a Deaf Dog" ; I'm enjoying "Amazing Gracie" right now; and have "Animalsign to You" as my next read. This one is based on a fascinating concept of training the dogs to sign to you
! I figured if his life was going to include so much body language comm from me, we might as well try learning the reverse as well.
Wish us luck! Laura