Hearing Dogs - Training Your Own Dog as a Hearing Dog

Sometimes, when deaf people become aware of hearing dogs and how helpful they can be, they ask if their own personal pets can be trained as hearing dogs. 

My mom is deaf and has always had a dog with her to help her with letting her know the doorbell is ringing, and so on. Now we want to get her dog certified and registered to go into public places, etc. So Beloved Pet (her dog) can provide even more assistance, and Mom won’t have to rely one of us kids to let her know if someone is talking to her.

Human communicating with dog
Photoboyko / Getty Images

Some readers responded with helpful comments, as follows:

You do not need professional certification in order to get your personal dog recognized as a service dog, according to ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act].
- MishkaZena

...One must make sure the animal in question has the right temperament and compatibility. No health issues either. As well as been individually trained to perform tasks that will benefit the person with a disability. (ie alerting to doorbell, etc.)
- PwD-SD-Awareness

In 1996 to 1997, my person[al] dog was trained by Lions Hearing Dogs here in Columbus, Ohio. It cost me nothing but time. He is trained to let me know when the doorbell rings or someone comes to the door (or even on the porch), the smoke alarm to take me to the door by nudging me and following him and the alarm clock. Those were the three things I needed then. His dog tag never expires in our county and he has a tag identifying him as a Hearing Dog.
- Liz

You can actually get a tag with your dogs photo and identifying your dog as a hearing dog. You can check the website out - www.servicedogtags.com. Jake's badge has his name on it and indicates in big red letters that he is a hearing dog and it has the ADA data on the back just in case any business wants to question it. I am working with a local organization here in Indianapolis who is helping with continuing Jake's training. He is certified because I say he is certified; he is my right hand and [if] anyone ever questions me, I do not hesitate to tell them. He helps me from when someone calls my name to when an emergency vehicle is approaching while driving.
- Jackie

I am currently training my chihuahua-dachshund to be my hearing dog. We have been attending classes through Happy Tails Dog Service Training in Phoenix. It is not easy and there are ups and downs! We still have one test to take for full certification from Happy Tails. This will occur after 3 hearing tasks can be met 99% of the time!
- Glo

If you would like to train your own hearing dog, check the language in the ADA or check with a local or regional hearing dog organization.

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