Hearing Dog Program
Hearing Dogs assist deaf and hard of hearing individuals by alerting them to a variety of household sounds such as a door knock or doorbell, alarm clock, oven buzzer, telephone, baby cry, name call or smoke alarm. Dogs are trained to make physical contact and lead their deaf partners to the source of the sound.
Phase 1: Basic Dog Obedience
The purpose of a basic dog obedience course is to train the dogs to pay attention to their owners and to learn commands. Instruction and training are by both voice and American Sign Language signals.
Phase 2: Alert Skills Training
The second phase begins when a dog completes the basic obedience course. The Hearing Dog training facility recreates a two bedroom apartment, where specific sounds are selected and trained for, such as a door knock, baby cry, smoke alarm, alarm clock, kitchen timer, TTY ring, etc. The dogs are trained to respond by leading their owners to the source of the sound. The deaf students are included in this training. The trainer works with the deaf student to help them learn commands and properly work with their dog. This training is conducted through a number of visits to the Hearing Dog facility.
Phase 3: In-Home Training
In-Home Training is the important final step of the program. Once the deaf student and dog reach a certain point in training, the person returns home with the dog and continues to work on obedience training and alert skills. This in-home training is completed once the team passes the Certification test.
Total training time for a Hearing Dog lasts approximately 12 months from the initial evaluation. Training time may be shortened with dedicated work on the part of the owner.
- What Breed Of Dog Makes A Good Hearing Dog?
Hearing Dogs do not have to be any specific breed or size. A bright, healthy dog can probably qualify for this program. In some cases, an existing pet dog can be trained. If a person does not already have a pet dog, a qualified dog can be obtained with our assistance from a local animal shelter. Our organization provides dual benefits by providing the deaf student with a Hearing Dog while providing a safe forever home for a shelter dog.
- The Hearing Dog Experience
There is no “typical” hearing dog experience as each student and dog are trained together according to their individual needs and circumstances. The student will be asked to come to our campus to train with the dog on several occasions throughout the training period and also home visits are conducted to reinforce training. Our skilled staff works hard to customize the program to encourage success for the team.