Hearing Dogs – Points To Consider

HEARING DOG – Points to Consider
Before you begin the application process, it is important that you read this information and give it some serious thought. The following information is given to you so that you realize everything that is involved in applying for and having a Hearing Dog.


  • We typically require a fenced area attached to the home. A common area or dog park is not appropriate.
  • Due to the difficulties of having a dog work around distractions, Hearing Dogs must be the only dog in the home except possibly with one of our retired Hearing Dogs.
  • Hearing Dogs are only placed with clients over the age of 18 years.
  • You will be required to attend obedience training classes or hire a private obedience trainer as prescribed by your professional Dogs for Better Lives trainer.
  • We select dogs from area shelters based on temperament and age, not size, sex, or appearance.

Please carefully consider the following points:

Our professionally trained Hearing Dogs require:

  • Minimum of one full year as a training year for both of you
  • Total commitment and willingness to work with your dog daily
  • The ability to place practice sessions ahead of other pressing demands
  • Stopping whatever you are doing to work with your dog when he/she is confused or does not work properly
  • Being patient and positive with your dog
  • Play time and rewards for a job well done each and every time they work for you
  • Exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis
  • Taking sole responsibility for the care of the dog so that the dog will bond with you
  • Family members to refrain from giving the dog attention until the dog has completely bonded with you

About our Hearing Dogs

All of our Hearing Dogs receive extensive sound work and obedience training. Hearing Dogs are trained to alert to sounds by making physical contact then leading you to the sound. Additionally, many of our Hearing Dogs are also trained and certified for public access. Our standards and criteria for determining whether or not a dog is suitable for access to public places are very high. Only dogs that can ignore other dogs, handle being exposed to busy, noisy and crowded environments as well as comfortable with all types of people are appropriate to be in public.

When we match a Dog with a client, we look at a variety of factors:  the needs of the client both for work at home and in public, lifestyle and energy level and the confidence the dog has in new environments and situations.

For clients that have sound work needs at their workplace or travel frequently and need to be alerted to sounds in a hotel, a Hearing Dog who is comfortable and trained for public access would be most appropriate.

For clients who need a trained dog to alert to sounds in their home but do not require a dog to accompany them in the workplace or travel frequently, a Hearing Dog with sound work and obedience training would be most appropriate. These dogs do not have public access certification but are professionally trained with sound work and obedience skills.

Home Environment
There can be no other dogs in the household with a Hearing Dog, with the possible exception of a retired Dogs for Better Lives Hearing Dog or Autism Assistance Dog. If you have other pets and are not willing to re-home them, your application may be denied due to the difficulties of having a professionally trained dog work around those types of distractions.

We typically require a fenced area attached to the home. It is crucial to have full cooperation and support of all household members for a successful working team to develop.

Financial Commitment
Those accepted to receive a dog will be required to pay a $500.00 refundable Good Faith Deposit. Once the team has been together for one year, the deposit is refunded.
The cost of feeding and caring for one of our professionally trained dogs could be over $750.00 per year. This includes but is not limited to food, toys, vet care, etc. This does not include any unforseen illness or injury. The client is financially responsible for the dog’s care once the dog is placed with the person.

Personal Skills
For HEARING DOGS, a client must be willing and able to physically, mentally, and emotionally care for the dog without assistance. To provide the best support for our clients, our dogs are trained for one specific skillset and not, for example, dually trained as Hearing Dogs. Please call for more information and clarification.

The Hearing Dog is a trained working animal, not a pet. The entire training program is based on rewarding or playing with the dog every time they work. Consistent practice, patience, and praise are necessary for the dog to succeed.

Please remember that our dogs are not trained to be guard dogs. They are friendly, stable dogs that help people with different challenges and provide companionship only.

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