Hearing Dogs

Hearing Dogs at home.

Our Hearing Dogs are trained to alert people to household sounds that are necessary for everyday safety and independence. They are trained to make physical contact and lead their person to the source of the sound. Through sound awareness and companionship, these dogs provide greatly increased freedom.

Hearing Dogs in public.

Many people are curious about what Hearing Dogs can do for people who are deaf or hard of hearing when they’re in public. The most important thing a Hearing Dog provides a person in public is an increased awareness of his or her environment. A Hearing Dog isn’t specifically trained to alert to sounds, such as a siren or honking horn, in public. But, when a person who is deaf or hard of hearing takes a Hearing Dog into public, he or she will gain an awareness of the environment by paying attention to whatever the Hearing Dog is reacting to. When the dog hears something and looks, the person will notice and turn to see what’s happening as well.

Better Lives: Vincent & Otto from Dogs for Better Lives on Vimeo.


  • Training generally takes four to six months of temperament evaluation, obedience training, socialization, and sound training. The dogs are taught using positive reinforcement.
  • We train our Hearing Dogs to respond to several sounds: fire and smoke alarms, telephone, oven timer, alarm clock, doorbell/door knock, a name call and baby cry, if requested.
  • Once placed with their deaf or hard of hearing partner, the dogs easily learn to respond to additional sounds such as the microwave, tea kettle, and washer/dryer. Hearing Dogs can be taught to alert people to any repetitive sound that can be set up and practiced regularly. If a sound is inconsistent or too difficult to set up and practice, it is hard for the dog to learn to work it.


  • When ready for placement with an approved applicant, the trainer travels to the client’s home for one-on-one training with the client and all family members.
  • Placement training is generally three to five days in length.

Follow up:

  • Dogs for Better Lives provides follow-up training for the life of the team. This training includes guidance and suggestions consisting of verbal contact, written contact, and in-home visits.


What does it cost to get a Hearing Dog?
There is a $50.00 application fee. When an applicant has been approved to receive a Hearing Dog, we then require a $500.00 Good Faith Deposit. This deposit is refundable after the person and the Hearing Dog have been together for one year. Once the dog is placed with the client, they are financially responsible for the ongoing care of the dog.

How do I apply for a Hearing Dog?
Before you decide to apply for a Hearing Assistance Dog, please read about our Application ProcessApplication Requirements, and Points to Consider.  Applicants must be 18-years of age.

You can download and print our Hearing Assistance Dog application packet by clicking HERE. Fill out the application completely and mail, along with your $50.00 application fee, to:

Dogs for Better Lives
10175 Wheeler Road
Central Point, Oregon 97502

If you would like us to send you an application, please contact us using this webform or call us at 1-800-990-3647.

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How did you hear about Dogs for Better Lives and our programs?*

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I have a fenced yard that is secure & attached to my home*

I understand that Dogs for Better Lives is unable to train personal pets as Assistance Dogs*

I have other dogs in my household*

I understand an Assistance Dog is a trained working animal, not a pet or a guard dog*

I understand I will not be able to choose a specific breed, color, or sex of dog*

I understand not all Assistance Dogs are certified for public access*

I understand the wait time for a Hearing Dog certified for public access may be longer than the wait for a Home Hearing Dog*

I understand I will be required to pay a non-refundable $50.00 application fee upon submission of my application*

I understand upon acceptance of my application I will be required to pay a REFUNDABLE $500.00 Good Faith Deposit*

I understand the REFUNDABLE $500.00 Good Faith Deposit can be returned to me after the dog & I have successfully been together one year*

I understand I must be willing & able to physically, mentally & emotionally care for a dog without assistance*

I understand I will be required to attend obedience training classes or hire a private obedience trainer*

I understand there will be a steep learning curve for approximately the 1st year*

I understand Dogs for Better Lives will be there to help me for the lifetime of my team*

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