A while ago I wrote an article about the possibilities of training my pet puggy to be a hearing dog and since then I’ve managed to get down to an open day at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People in Buckinghamshire to probe them a bit more about the idea.
The open day itself, was extremely informative with lots to see and do. It was a sort of interactive tour of the facilities with extra bits of info here and there. All people and dogs were welcome on the grounds…although normal doggies weren’t allowed in some areas to prevent the hearing pups and dogs from catching things….like stupidity.
One part that I particularly enjoyed was making my partner experience the horror, that is tinnitus in a variety of rage inducing forms. She tried reading, watching tv and lip reading while listening to various whistles beeps and squeaks…
She did pretty well in the lip reading test but overall found the experience frustrating and was glad to be rid of the headphones at the end of it all.
But I digress…we were there for the dogs, not to torment my partner (I can do that whenever I feel like it).
So, are we any closer in my quest for a hearing puggy?
Sadly, not really. According to all those in the know, there is no way of certifying your pet dog, as a hearing dog.
You can have a pet dog trained and registered as an assistance dog with Dog Aid, but for some reason they don’t work with Deaf clients (unless you have other disabilities as well)….go figure.
It’s all good though, I still love the pug and I can still train him to be useful in his own way, thanks to a very helpful demo given at the hearing dog open day.
He can already sit, lay down and high five (the most important of all dog skills) with verbal AND sign commands…well…as long as there’s an edible reward involved…
It’s just a shame that we wont ever have the same privileges as other owner/assistance dog partnerships.
Read more of Teresa’s articles for us by clicking here.
Teresa is a freelance film maker, photographer and full time cynic. At school, she was voted “Most likely to end up in a lunatic asylum”, a fate which has thus far been avoided. Her pet hates are telephones, intercoms and all living things.
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