IHDI has trained more than 1,300 professionally certified Hearing Dogs since 1979 for persons with hearing loss. All of the dogs that are trained and selected come from local animal shelters. The dogs are generally mixed breeds, six months to a year in age, in good health, and with aim-to-please energetic personalities.
Hearing Dogs Develop “Ears” for Their Owners
Once selected, each dog receives a thorough medical examination to ensure a long healthy life. This includes blood work, vaccinations, and spay or neuter if necessary. During daily training sessions, dogs learn to respond to a variety of sounds:
- Doorbell or knock
- Emergency alarms
The dogs can also be custom trained to any sounds the individual needs, such as a baby cry, apartment buzzer, etc.
General obedience and socialization round out each dog’s four to eight months of custom training.
Hearing Dogs Are Welcomed Home
A professional trainer delivers the Hearing Dog to its new home and works with the recipient for up to five days. During this time, the recipient is taught how to maintain the dog’s training to ensure a good working relationship and proper care.
After placement and successful completion of a 90-day trial period, the dog is certified as a Hearing Dog and receives an orange collar, leash, and official ID card. Hearing Dogs have legal access to all public places while accompanied by their owner.