Training a Hearing Dog
The primary service offered by Australian Lions Hearing Dogs is, of course, Hearing Dogs for deaf and hard of hearing people.
Due to sourcing dogs from pounds and shelters there is no one breed that typifies the look of an Australian Lions Hearing Dog. Breeds vary from Kelpie, Labrador and Working breeds to Shih Tzu, Maltese and Chihuahuas. Most of these dogs are cross-breeds. There really are no two Hearing Dogs who look alike.
It takes 6-8 months to complete an Australian Lions Hearing Dog’s training which all completed at our National Headquarters and Training Centre in the Adelaide Hills.
Dog’s training is split into two parts. As an Australian Lions Hearing Dog has the same public access rights as a guide dog for the blind, trainee Hearing Dogs are put through an intensive socialization program where they are trained to accompany their future owners into shops, restaurants, workplaces and public transport.
The second part of an Australian Lions Hearing Dogs training focuses on alerting their future owners to sounds. All trainees are taught to respond and physically alert their owners to a number of common sounds including mobile phones, people at the door, alarm clocks, babies crying and smoke alarms.
Close to the end of it’s training an Australian Lions Hearing Dog is matched to a recipient. The dogs Trainer will travel with the dog to deliver the dog directly to the recipient and spend a week integrating the dog into the home and training the recipient how to use the dog.
During this time local Lions Clubs are trained to help support the new “Team” over the 3 month follow up period and provide much needed financial support to the program.
By the end of the delivery it has cost Australian Lions Hearing Dogs approximately $30,000 to provide the dog to a deaf or hard of hearing person, however it is given to the recipient free of charge as a gift from the Lions Clubs of Australia.