THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE THESE DOGS A SECOND CHANCE AT LIFE IS SOMETHING WE ARE PROUD OF
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SOURCING OUR DOGS
The technological advances with hearing aids and cochlear implants continue to improve with this day and age. However, there are times when something extra is needed. This is where the complementary assistance of an Australian Lions Hearing Dog makes a real difference.
There is no one standard breed of dog used in our program. Our organization takes an individualized approach to recruitment and selection. Breeds and sizes of the dogs we train vary from small Chihuahua crosses to Labradors. Most of our dogs are cross-breeds due to their rescue background, creating a diverse dog training program.
However, as fewer and fewer suitable dogs were becoming available through rescue sources, ALHD’s Puppy Program was launched in 2018.
Our Puppy Program focuses on recruiting a range of breeds of puppies from reputable breeders.
At eight weeks of age, the puppies join us at our National Training Centre in the Adelaide Hills for a few days before being picked up by their volunteer Puppy Socialisers, who will care for them for up to 8 months as they learn to socialize and grow into stable, secure dogs, ready to return to our Training Centre for formal training.
Each pup’s progress with their Puppy Socialiser is closely monitored with fortnightly visits from our Puppy Coordinator. Because of this close involvement, Puppy Socialisers need to live relatively close to our National Training Centre in Adelaide Hills.
Every four weeks, our puppies attend our National Training Centre for observation, socializing with other pups, and basic training. Once the puppies reach about 10 months of age, they return to our Training Centre to commence their Hearing Assistance Dog Training and accreditation journey.
We are always seeking new Puppy Socialisers to join our program. To learn more or apply to be a volunteer Puppy Socialiser, please visit our Puppy Socialisers page for more information.
TRAINING OUR DOGS
Training a Hearing Assistance Dog takes approximately 6 months and is split into two parts; public access and sound training.
An Australian Lions Hearing Dog has the same public access rights as a guide dog for the blind. It is essential therefore that they are comfortable and relaxed in a range of outdoor settings. Consequently, trainee Hearing Assistance Dogs are put through an intensive socialisation program where they are trained to accompany their future deaf or hard of hearing owners into shops, restaurants, workplaces and on public transport.
The second part of their training focuses on alerting their future recipient to sounds. All our dogs are taught to respond and physically alert their owners to 10 common household sounds including mobile phones, people knocking at the door, alarm clocks, babies crying and smoke alarms. This is also customised to each recipient, ensuring that their Hearing Assistance Dog will work to their individual requirements.