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Can You Train Your Own Hearing Dog?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

This may be the stupid question of the day, but here goes...DH is hearing-impaired.  He is a disabled veteran, and this is one of the components of his disability.  We've been married 10 years and I have noticed a marked difference in how well he could hear when we were first married, and how well he can hear now.  Really, everyday sounds do not alert him at all.  He cannot reliably hear someone knocking on the door, he cannot reliably hear his phone ring, he cannot reliably hear the kids screaming if they fall off the bed.  Thanks to my cooking skills, I do know for a fact that he CAN hear the smoke alarm, so at least we're good there :)


Now, we are getting a black lab/shepherd mix puppy in a couple weeks.  I know that service dogs do not generally start their training until they are much older, so I know this is not something that can be done right away.  It is also not necessary.  As in, this dog is a pet, but if we can teach him to alert DH when his phone is ringing, or when someone knocks at the door, that would be a bonus.  Is this something that is even possible?  Should this even be on our radar, or long-term plan?  Also, this is not something that I see as life-or-death serious dog-training.  It's not like DH would be depending on this dog for survival, it would just be helpful, YK?  So, am I crazy?  Or just stupid? ;)

post #2 of 6

If you are able to work with a trainer that specializes in training service animals than you have a pretty good chance of being able to do most of the work yourself with the trainer giving you guidance. It shouldn't be too expensive to have a trainer work with you a few times for the specific alert work once you have done some basic puppy training on your own or in a group class. Labs and German Shepherds are both good breeds for service work, so you are good there, but proper puppy evaluation will help you select a more trainable puppy. Have you picked a puppy out of the litter yet, or will you be waiting until 7-8 weeks old? I recommend that you find a "puppy temperament test" online or in a puppy training book and temperament test each puppy alone. You want a puppy that scores right in the middle. A trainer can also do that for you with the litter but they are likely to charge $100+ to do it.

post #3 of 6
I have a family member with a service dog. They are extensively trained and very few animals make the final cut - I can't remember
the actual figures, but maybe 1 in 4? You might check into some organizations that provide service dogs - my family member spent a month in ca learning how to use the animal and getting used to her new best friend! The organization pays for all vet costs for the life of the animal and her only expense was travel.
I have no idea if you could train a service dog on your own, though.
post #4 of 6

I don't know the first thing about training a service dog but I would think it would be best to work with someone to do that.  Has your DH been seen by an audiologist?  While a service animal would help improve his quality of life, I do believe there are hearing aid options that would do so as well. 

post #5 of 6

I recently spoke with the trainer of my parents dog and he suggested checking you tube for basic dog obedience tips. Maybe you'd find something there? A quick search of my own did yield a couple of videos specifically aimed at training a dog to alert to sound.




post #6 of 6

This has nothing to do with training the dog, but:




Put the phone to Vibrate.

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