Dogs With Jobs

By Tonka Dobreva 02.05.2014 interact

With a longtime reputation of being friendly, fun, loyal and loving, it’s no wonder dogs are considered “man’s best friend.” But did you know they can be man’s best lifeline too? That’s right! Incredible canines across the country are saving and enriching lives, from finding and rescuing survivors of tragedy to treating symptoms of depression. Here’s a quick overview on just some of the important jobs our furry friends are doing for us.

Hearing or Signal Dogs

  • Top breeds: Almost any breed of dog can serve as a hearing dog, but they must be social, respond promptly to sounds and have calm demeanor in a range of public situations.
  • Who they help: Hearing dogs boost awareness of deaf individuals and people hard of hearing.
  • What they do: Hearing dogs promote the safety and independence of the deaf or people hard of hearing, both in their homes and while out and about in public. They are trained to physically react to a specific set of sounds, such as their owner’s name or a household smoke alarm. In public, an owner watches and takes cues from its dog’s reactions to various sounds around them, and reacts accordingly.
  • How they are trained: Hearing dogs are trained by both private and nonprofit organizations and can begin when they’re just a few months old. While there is of course a focus on sound training, a dog’s temperament assessment, obedience and socialization training are also critical components to successful completion of their training, which typically lasts approximately six months. Upon placement with an owner, hearing dogs may also be accompanied by their trainer to the new home for a few days for additional acclimation training. For more information on hearing and signal dogs, see Paws with a Cause. 

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