Hearing Dogs for Deaf People Volunteer
Once I handed back Rolfe (the police dog puppy that I puppy walked) please read the pages relating to this, as I am sure that you will find it very interesting – but get the hankies ready for the end bit!!!). I felt the need for another dog, but did not want to be tied for the next 10 or so years with my own dog.
I saw an advertisement in my local paper for the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People Charity asking for volunteers to be a to be a puppy socialiser. I read all about the charity and seeing it was very similar (although very different) to the police puppy walking scheme, I decided that I would apply, as it was something that I would like to do again.
Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
This is a national charity and centre of excellence in training hearing dogs to alert deaf people to everyday household sounds and danger signals in the home, work place and in public buildings.
Hearing Dog Training
The Charity trains hearing dogs to alert deaf people to important household sounds and danger signals such as the alarm clock, doorbell, telephone and smoke alarm – providing independence, confidence and security, as well as valuable companionship.
What Does A Hearing Dog Do?
Hearing dogs alert their deaf recipients to household sounds by touching them with a paw or nudging with a nose to gain attention.
The recipient then asks the dog ‘what is it?’ by voice and/or hand command and then the hearing dog leads the recipient to the source of the sound.
For danger signals such as the smoke alarm, the hearing dog will alert the recipient in the same way, but when asked ‘what is it?’ the dog will lie down to indicate danger.
Deafness can be a very isolating and lonely disability, a hearing dog can offer a life-transforming practical alternative to technical equipment – particularly for those deaf people who find such equipment restricting – with the added benefit of giving the recipient greater independence, increased confidence, companionship and a feeling of security.
HRH The Princess Royal has been Patron of this charity since 1992 and it also has quite a long list of celebrities who support it, including:
Matt Baker, Stephanie Beacham, Ben Fogle, Philippa Forrester, Kate Humble, Joe Inglis, Emma Milne, Esther Rantzen, Mary Rhodes, Camilla Sacre-Dallerup, Amanda Tapping, Pam St , im Vincent, Rebecca Wilcox, Naomi Wilkinson
Please have a look at the two videos below
The Video below gives a little insight into the Charity and its work, which includes some examples of how these wonderful dogs have changed a deaf persons life
The Video below is just a very short training video
I was visited by a trainer for the area, who came and interviewed and assessed myself and my home and gave me a very comprehensive puppy socialising handbook.
I was accepted and as it is expected that the socialiser goes to a fortnightly training class, I was asked to attend the local puppy training class, to see what was expected.
I have to say it was absolutely brilliant and opened my eyes to a completely different way of training of puppies (completely different to the police puppy walking scheme, which I have to say was very poor, as we were basically given a puppy with the aim to socialise and give it basic training, without being provided with any structure) with lots of help and advice.
It was wonderful to see how such young puppies were being trained using a very kind, soft approach and rewarded by giving them treats. Some of the things that very young pups were achieving was brilliant.
I was advised to purchase a very useful book which they base their training methods on called “The Perfect Puppy” by Gwen Bailey, and I can recommend that if anyone is thinking of taking on a puppy to read this book and refer to it throughout the first 12 months of a puppies life, as I am sure that you will find it invaluable.
I decided that I would like to take on another puppy and waited to hear when one might be available.
During the couple of weeks wait, I had to change my mind, as my Mum, who is in her early 80’s needed my time (as I am her only child) and felt that I wouldn’t be able to give a small puppy the time and effort that it needed, and I had to make the decision that at this moment in time I would have to pull out.
However, they do have another scheme called “borders” where a puppy who is with a socialiser goes and stays with another family for a few days or couple of weeks at a time, and decided that this would be absolutely perfect for me.
The puppies are placed with the boarding family as part of its training and to see how it reacts in a different environment and with other people. Borders are also used or if the socialiser goes on holiday or needs a little time out, and also to give the puppies a little “time out” of their own, like a little holiday, although the bording family are expected to use the same commands and continue the basic training.
I had a call to ask if I would have a 9 month labrador, Piper for about 10 days, which naturally I accepted.
Please read about him in my blog post