It’s not uncommon to see a dog leading and assisting a blind person. You have probably seen a few of those trained dogs during the course of your life. But have you ever noticed a dog helping a deaf person?
It’s true – dogs can be trained to assist deaf people. These hearing dogs are called hearing ear dogs as well as service dogs, signal dogs, and hearing guide dogs. They are similar to Seeing Eye dogs, but act as ears, instead of eyes, to assist the deaf.
These dogs are trained to tell the difference between sounds such as a siren, fire alarm, crying baby, telephone, or car horn, and to alert their owners. They are trained anywhere from 3 to 5 months to learn obedience, correct response to sounds, and how to respond to voice and hand signals.
A hearing ear dog candidate doesn’t immediately own the dog. The candidate must first go through a week-long training with the dog so they can learn how to work together. This trial period will also give the potential owner and the dog time to bond. Then, if they establish a good relationship, the candidate becomes the dog’s owner.
For more information about hearing ear dogs and where you can get your own, visit the American Dog Trainer’s Network.
These dogs are truly remarkable and impressive. Not only do they assist their owners because they have been trained to do so, they also truly love their owners. Nothing makes these dogs feel more important and more loved than being an integral part of their owner’s life.
“Service and Assistance Dogs.” American Dog Trainer’s Network. 25 Aug. 2008.