How a deaf person and a hearing dog become a partnership
Once a hearing dog has passed their hearing dog accreditation, they will finally meet the deaf person whose life they will change dramatically. Before they begin their new life together, we perform a handover – known as a placement course – from one of our expert dog trainers to the deaf person on our waiting list.
The first time a deaf person and hearing dog meet
Two to four weeks after a hearing dog passes its accreditation, their trainer will take the dog to meet their new deaf recipient. This happens at the deaf person’s house so the dog can have a good sniff around their potential new home
The hearing dog will stay at their future recipient’s home for two days so they can learn more about each other. The trainer will stay overnight in a nearby B&B so they can be on hand at all times. This allows the deaf person to learn about the dog’s personality and habits, and it’s also hugely beneficial for our dogs as they can get to know any family members and pets they may soon be living with.
The placement course begins
If this initial meet is successful, our trainers will tailor the dog’s remaining training to the deaf person’s needs. This can include any public transport the deaf person uses or new sounds the dog will need to alert to, like a baby monitor.
After a month, the deaf person will come to one of our training centres for a week to begin the handover from trainer to recipient. This week is very relaxed, enjoyable and is done at the dog and recipient’s own pace.
During these five days, we go through all of the dog’s training and demonstrate what the hearing dog can do for them. Most importantly, we ensure the deaf person and the hearing dog are developing the strong bond that makes our partnerships so special.
Going home as a hearing dog partnership
On the Friday, the deaf person will take their new hearing dog back to their home for the weekend without a trainer present. This weekend is a great opportunity for our new partnership to continue to develop their new friendship, and will be a ‘time out’ for the dog so they can settle in to their new home – and our trainers are available on Skype and text for tips and confidence boosts when required.
On the Monday, the dog’s trainer will revisit the partnership for a couple of days to help the deaf person and hearing dog settle into their new lives. We will take them out for a walk around their local parks and into their nearest towns so the dog has the chance to explore the new environments.
Once everyone is happy and settled, our training team will handover this new hearing dog partnership to our client services team – who look after all our amazing partnerships. They start with a visit where they can offer further support and advice.
This support will continue throughout the hearing dog’s working life via emails, Skype calls and further visits to the deaf person’s home.