Frequently Asked Questions & Links
What is a Hearing Dog?
A hearing dog is trained to alert their human companion to some of the basic every day sounds such as alarm clock, smoke alarm, oven timer, door knock/bell and telephone.
Can My Dog Be Trained To Become A Hearing Dog?
Golden Ears’ programs are currently focused for qualified individuals interested in training their own dog as a hearing dog.
The individual must apply and meet the qualifications and the dog must also pass testing by us to qualify for acceptance to this training opportunity. Testing by someone not involved in our program will not be accepted. We are happy to evaluate/test the dog to see if it qualifies, but please be aware that some dogs may not be a good match for hearing dog work.
Owner trained program dogs must have completed at least one obedience class and pass temperament and sound testing prior to being admitted into this special program. Two obedience classes will be required, however the second obedience class may be taken concurrently.
You must be willing to commit to the full length of the training program. Please keep this in mind if you apply.
*Please note, at this time we do not have training programs for individuals outside of Washington State.
How old does my dog have to be to start training?
Dogs must be at least 6 months of age. Generally the best age for training is between 8 months to 3 years of age.
What costs am I responsible for?
The applicant is responsible for all application costs. At this time there is a $150 non-refundable application fee. This fee includes a review of the applicant's general eligibility for entrance into the training program. It also includes the testing of the applicant's dog to insure that the dog possesses the potential abilities to act as a hearing dog. Currently it is the only fee assessed by Golden Ears for participation in the class as donations cover the remaining costs for students for the program. We have seen a loss in donations as have many other programs, due to this there is a small fee for the classes.
Entrance into the program does not guarantee that the team will graduate from the program. The success of an owner trained dog is highly dependent on the participant's commitment to training and attending classes.
Other owner responsibilities include such things as feeding and daily care of their dog, leash, collar and other equipment needs, veterinary costs, travel to the classes and training costs that occur throughout the course. All Hearing Dogs need outside training in obedience. These training costs are in addition to those of the Golden Ears Program, and are not a part of the program. Dogs that work only in the home need less outside obedience than those dogs that are being trained to work in public.
How long does it take to train a dog?
Golden Ears' Hearing Dog Training is a 2 year program. Please do not apply if you are not willing to commit to a full 2 years. Sixty (60) hours of in class training is required. This can depend on the level of skills the dog and partner have accomplished and the training the dog and their human partner need to have to complete qualifications. The team is evaluated periodically through the training period.
What tests does a Hearing Dog need to pass?
To be accepted to the program, the dog must pass temperament evaluation and sound testing. To graduate from the program, at a minimum a Hearing Dog will need to pass the AKC sponsored Canine Good Citizen's Test, The Golden Ears Sound Response Test, and the Public Access Test. Many dog's in the program have achieved a very high level of obedience, agility, Therapy dog work or other skills beyond the minimum training.
Do you train individual dogs? If so, how Much Does a Hearing Dog Cost?
We are not currently training individual dogs for placement. When individual training is available, the cost to train and place individual dogs, starts at $8,000 each. Some of this cost may be paid for through the kindness of donations from individuals and service clubs, grants, and sponsorships, etc. Because we depend on donations to fund our training programs, there may be a longer wait if funds are not available.
Do you train hearing dogs for children?
Currently the minimum age for a teen to qualify for a hearing dog is 18 years old, depending on the maturity of the child. We do not train for children under the age of 18. The person receiving the dog must be able to be completely responsible for the care and ongoing needs of the dog themselves.
Is there an application process and an application fee?
Yes, there is a $150 non-refundable application fee. Please refer to the section above on this page "What Costs Am I Responsible For?" Contact us for more details on application requirements.
Is there a waiting list?
Generally no. However, the class size is limited so that training in the classroom can be optimal. Please note: If the class is full, the applicant will need to wait for the next year's opening session.
Applications are currently being accepted for 2018.
Can I join a class that is already in progress?
While we wish that we could accommodate all students at all times, it just isn't possible. Due to the progressive instructional nature of the class, students and their dogs need to enter when the class starts.
I'm not sure if I want to commit to training a hearing dog. I'd like to find out more.
Contact us in order to find out about visiting a class that is in session.