Hearing dogs enable those who are deaf or hard of hearing to be more
aware of their surroundings. These dogs can accompany their disabled
handler into public settings and will naturally give off sound cues to the
handler. For example, if the dog looks to his left the handler will know
there is an auditory signal coming from that direction, which prompts the
handler to look to their left to see if it is something they should respond to.
Hearing dogs are also trained to purposefully alert their handler to certain
sounds in the home. These dogs are trained to paw at their handler's leg
when the smoke alarm goes off, the doorbell rings, the microwave dings,
or the teakettle whistles. Our dogs are trained on a case by case basis for
the specific sounds each recipient will need to be alerted to.
These dogs can be a small or large breed, as size is not a factor.
Is a Little Angels Hearing Dog right for me?
You must ...
1)Be deaf or hard of hearing, with documentation from your doctor supporting your
2)Have strong communication skills and the ability to be consistent with a dog
regarding training exercises.
3)Have a love for dogs.
4)Have patience to work through problems. (Even a trained dog is still a dog.)
5)Have finances to provide your dog with veterinary care and maintenance for the next
6)Be willing to travel to San Diego, California for handler training, preferably with a
translator if needed.
Hander Training is where the disabled party learns how to work with the dog as a team. This
generally takes 7-14 days, with training every day. This is when the dog learns to respond to
the commands of the handler, and when the handler learns how to reinforce the training that
the dog has already received. We cover practical, day-to-day life experiences so you will feel
confident taking the dog into your care. We work in real-life situations such as outings to
shopping malls, restaurants, and parks so you will feel comfortable taking the dog with you
into the public setting.
After the completion of Handler Training we work together on a series of field tests, which
are administered by the trainer. After graduation, you and your dog will be certified as a
working team. A certification card will be provided to the handler, as well as a service vest
and identification tag for your dog, which labels him or her as a service animal.
We have a lifetime commitment to each
recipient and each dog that we place.
Once you and your dog have graduated we maintain contact to insure that your dog's training
and assistance remains in tact,
that the dog remains healthy and happy,
and that the dog is improving your quality of life.
What are the steps involved for receiving a Hearing Dog?
Step 1: Request an application through our 'Apply for a Dog' page..
Step 2: Return the application for review.
Your application is received via email, and you will receive
a response within 2 business days.
Step 3: If accepted we will contact you to schedule a phone consultation.
The consultation is an average of 60 minutes where we discuss realistic expectations of how a service
dog can assist you, and to make sure you are a good fit for one of our dogs.
Step 4: Agreement.
If we believe one of our service dogs can assist you we will write out a customized agreement and ask
you to review your final decision with friends and family.
Step 5: Return your agreement with your $500.00 deposit to be added to
our waiting list.
The deposit is your sign to us that you are committed to the program. Once this is received we begin
fundraising for the costs associated with your dog. Some recipients also choose to be added to our
website under the 'Donations' page - this is a personal decision and is not a requirement.
Step 6: Fundraising.
Organizations nationwide spend an average of $30,000.00-$40,000.00 on each assistance dog trained.
The average service dog graduates with over 600 hours of training, and with that expense also comes
veterinary care, boarding, grooming and training supplies. Because of the commitment of all our
wonderful volunteers Little Angels spends a fraction of that, at $24,000.00 per dog. This is an expense
covered through fundraising. If possible, we ask each recipient to be involved in the fundraising process
when they can, but it is never a requirement.
Step 7: Dog Selection and Specialized Training.
Once the funds are met, regardless of how the funds were raised, we move you to the second part of
our waiting list where you are a priority for dog placement. This is when we choose a dog from our
training program that has the natural propensities to assist in the ways needed for your disability, and
we continue any additional specialized training needed specifically for your needs.
Step 8: Handler Training.
During handler training we work with you, one-on-one, and show you how to reinforce the training your
dog has already had. Once you and your dog graduate our program we stay in daily contact for the first
month, followed by monthly, and bi-yearly consultations for reports on your dog's ability to continuously
provide assistance to you. Handler training takes place in San Diego, California.