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
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.
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
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
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
last a lifetime.
The hearing ear dog breeds tend to be smaller. Terriers and poodles
are common hearing dogs, though larger breeds like labs and standard
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.
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
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
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
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.