Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Did you know that Assistance Dogs aren't only for people with visual impairments? As we discussed yesterday, there are dogs which can help people who have mobility issues, diabetes, MS, Epilepsy and for people with mental disorders. Today, we are going to talk about Hearing Dogs - the dogs trained for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
So how do Hearing Dogs help a person with a hearing impairment? It's fairly simple, Hearing Dogs are able to alert a deaf person to sounds which are specific to their needs. This includes noises such as doorbells, telephones, alarm clocks, baby monitors, or smoke alarms and fire sirens in an emergency. They can also be used to notify a deaf person that another person in the home is calling them. As their owners cannot hear them bark, Hearing Dogs are trained to make physical contact to alert their owners of a specific sound. They will make contact with their owner and also lead them to the source of the noise. Many dogs are also able to respond to hand signals if their owners are unable to communicate clearly.
Hearing Dogs are generally small to medium in size and can be almost any breed as long as the dog is adaptable and confident. You will be able to identify a Hearing Dog in public as they generally wear an orange collar and vest which identifies them as as a service dog. This is in contrast to Guide Dogs for the blind, which usually wear red collars and vests.
It is always important to remember not to distract or touch a Hearing Dog, or any service dog, when you see them in public. They are quite literally working and distracting them could break their concentration and leave their owner vulnerable. If you would like to talk to or pat a Hearing Dog, be sure to ask the owner for permission first.
To people who are deaf and hard of hearing, Hearing Dogs provide a measure of independence, security and freedom to their owners. Not to mention companionship! To learn more about these wonderful animals please visit http://www.canadasguidetodogs.com.