We offer ongoing support to all our hearing dog partnerships
Our involvement with a hearing dog partnership never ends. We will always be on hand to help, support and advise the partnership throughout the dog’s working life.
Our regular visits
At the start of a new partnership, our client services team take over from the dog trainer to help the hearing dog and the deaf person establish their new routine and settle in to life together. This can take time, so we tend to visit regularly in the first few months.
Depending on the hearing dog partnership, our team may visit the deaf person and their hearing dog in their own home, or at regular community-based sessions. These sessions are a great way to see how they’re getting on and answer any questions they may have, as well as allowing them to meet other partnerships locally. But we’re always available on email, Skype and over text if our deaf partners need to contact us urgently.
The partnership will also be put in touch with their local Partnership Instructor who will be closer to them in case they need immediate support. This is also really beneficial as we hold regular community days for all our hearing dog recipients – where they can share stories, offer advice to one another and develop friendships.
The training of a hearing dog technically never ends. We are always practising what they learned in their first two years throughout their lives so they don’t forget anything. This includes help with top up training if required.
Our team also help with any new training a hearing dog may need to learn. This can include sounds made by a new smart watch, or if a deaf person is expecting a baby, we’ll help them train the dog to alert to a baby monitor. We can also train them to pick items – like keys – off the floor for those with decreasing mobility.
A hearing dog’s retirement
After a long, happy and rewarding life, we think a hearing dog deserves a well-earned rest. A hearing dog usually retires at around 11 years old, and they almost always remain living with the deaf person who they’ve helped so much throughout their working life, or with a close family member.
Two years before a hearing dog is set to retire, we’ll sit down with their deaf partner and explain what will happen. We’ll also discuss whether or not a replacement hearing dog – called a successor dog – will be required. If we all agree that another hearing dog is needed, the process starts over again, and we’ll continue to help them throughout their new partnership.
For some people, the support of a dog can enable them to grow enough in confidence that they are able to live life to the full without the help of another dog. In these cases, they may benefit from other forms of support provided by the charity, which meet their needs.
Read the stories of our hearing dog partnerships
Hearing dogs make a huge difference to the lives of deaf people. Read some of our deaf recipients’ stories to find out how a hearing dog helps.