Why signal dogs are the best choice for deaf people?

Dogs are not only adorable because of the love they offer us, but because they also help us when we need them most. This is the case for people with disabilities, who many assistance dogs help them in their day-to-day.

These four-legged friends are often pre-trained to help out people in need. In this article, we will talk about the dogs that accompany deaf people to warn them every time they hear a sound. Do not miss which races are usually the most related to this work!

What is a signal dog?

The signal dog is an assistance dog aimed at people with hearing disabilities, that is, a companion that warns of all the sounds that a deaf person cannot hear.

That’s why signal dogs are still in the diffusion phase among the deaf community.

Unlike the guide dog, both the signal dog and other assistance dogs for people with other disabilities are still rare in the country. Some autonomous communities have passed laws that guarantee them the same right of public access as a guide dog, although the conditions vary in each of them.

Deaf or hard of hearing people do not need a guide dog to help them cross the street (because they see perfectly), but a dog that is their warning signal, of telephones, appliances, calls of others.

What does the signal dog warn you about?

The signal dog is previously trained to warn its companion about a variety of sounds such as:

  • The house bell
  • The alarm
  • Household appliances
  • The landline or mobile phone ringtone
  • The person’s name (when someone calls you by her name)
  • A car horn (or any traffic sound)
  • The cry or cry of children and babies
  • The bells or bells (that the person places in specific places where the entry of a child or baby is restricted, for example)
  • The fire alarm. The dog will know how to alert the person with a distinctive warning to leave the place.

Or specific skills depending on the needs of the person

The moment the dog hears any of these sounds, it automatically alerts the person with a learned gesture such as touching his foot with its paw or resting its two front legs on the leg. And when the person has gotten its attention, it leads him to the source of the sound.

Thanks to the service dogs for the deaf people, they have greater independence, confidence, and security to stay home alone. Your partner will always warn you of any sound!

What breeds can be signal dogs?

In principle, the choice of one breed or another is not relevant when training a signal dog. You just have to select the dogs that react to any sound quickly and innately. They are usually those of small breeds such as:

  • The Jack Russell
  • The Pekingese
  • The Pomeranian
  • The Bulldog
  • The Poodle
  • The Maltese Bichon
  • The Chihuahua
  • The Yorkshire Terrier
  • The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • The Pug
  • The West Highland White Terrier
  • The Lhasa Apso
  • The Shih Tzu
  • The Miniature Pinscher

Although medium and large dogs are usually more difficult to train (since their hearing is not as good as their smell), breeds such as Labradors or Goldens indeed have no problem helping deaf people since they are very attentive and have a suitable temperament.

On the other hand, mongrel dogs may be the best choice for this task since their mix of genes combines many ideal characteristics to be a signal dog. That is, they are very reactive to sound, and also, they are wonderful life companions!

How can you request a signal dog?

You simply have to contact the assistance dog associations or a support coordination specialist. The organization will carry out tests to choose the most appropriate dog that best suits your pathology.

The delivery of the dog can be free and have to pay only the veterinary expenses of the dog (license, chip, sterilization, vaccines …) or also the training expenses. Most assistance dogs are adopted in animal shelters and trained between 6 and 12 months, in the association itself or at the person’s home.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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