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Hearing Ear Dogs Are A Special Breed

Imagine not hearing the phone ring or a tea kettle whistle. You can not hear a truck backing up or the sound of a fire alarm. These are real and serious dangers for a hearing impaired person, and can be obstacles for someone trying to live a normal life. While there have been many advances in hearing aids and other auditory devices, in some case a 'hearing ear dog' is just what the doctor ordered.


Definition
Hearing dogs are a special kind of dog, yet they are not a specific breed. Not any dog can be trained to be a hearing ear dog. These dogs are trained to respond to sounds and convey 'sound messages' to their hearing impaired owners.


Duties

A hearing ear dog listens for its owner and responds to specific sounds. These dogs are trained to respond to everyday sounds and give their owners specific cues to alert them to these noises. The dog will wake up their owner when the alarm goes off. They will nose the owner when their attention is called. The dog can point or signal the direction of a sound. The dog can even be trained to respond to their owners name. Each dog is trained with a specific owner in mind. The bond between a hearing dog and their owners can last a lifetime.


Dog Characteristics

The hearing ear dog breeds tend to be smaller. Terriers and poodles are common hearing dogs, though larger breeds like labs and standard poodles can also be great hearing companions.


What is important is the nature not the breed of the animal. A hearing ear dog needs to be active. Hearing ear dogs also must be both friendly and willing to work.


Training Program

Dogs begin their training as a puppy. Sometimes they are bred from other hearing dogs, other times they come from rescues. The first year the dog is lives in a foster home with other hearing dogs in training.


After a year the dog is ready for more rigorous training. The dogs will be ranked and the best will attain further training. The dogs are tested routinely and the top of the class advances while the others become either a different type specialized dog or just a happy pet. Then these select dogs are matched with a partner, and further training takes place. The animal receives instructions matching the requirements of the partner. Then the two engage in a 2-week training program. This is a means of judging the actual suitability and viability of the pairing.


Variables For Matching Dog and Human Partner

There are several variables in making the right dog to human match. These include the dogs size and activity level. Then the person is assessed in terms of lifestyle and medical conditions. The two are then matched and begin to work and bond together. Hearing dogs can give a disabled person confidence and a sense of wholeness, along with providing a vital tool in overcoming a disability.




Article provided by Sarah Harris - for more information on dogs by Sarah, have a look at orthopedic dog beds & chinese shar-pei from Animal-World.

 

 


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