Sourcing Our Hearing Assistance Dogs
For many years, our dogs-in-training have been sourced from pounds and shelters, mainly AWL and RSPCA in South Australia, Dogs Homes of Tasmania in Hobart, and a wide range of rescue organisations, including Yorke Peninsula Puppy Rescue. When assessing a dog’s likely suitability to become a Hearing Assistance Dog, we look for friendliness, curiosity, that they are food motivated, and less than three years of age. An opportunity to give these dogs a second chance at life is something we are extremely proud of.
There is no one shape or size of an Australian Lions Hearing Dog. Breeds vary from Labradoodle and Beagle, to Shih Tzu, Tenterfield Terriers, Maltese, Chihuahuas, and many many more. Most of our dogs are cross-breeds due to their rescue background, creating a diverse dog training program.
As fewer and fewer suitable dogs were becoming available through rescue sources, our Puppy Program was launched in 2018. A range of breeds are purchased as 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 Foster Carers, who care for them for up to 8 months as they learn to socialise and grow up as stable, secure dogs, ready to return to our Training Centre for formal training. Each pup’s progress with their Foster Carer is closely monitored with fortnightly visits from our Puppy Coordinator. Because of this close involvement, Foster Carers need to live relatively close to our National Training Centre in Adelaide Hills. We are always seeking new Puppy Foster Carers to join our program. To learn more or apply to be a volunteer Foster Carer, please visit the Foster Carers page for more information.
Every four weeks, our puppies attend our National Training Centre for observation, socialising 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.