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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How do Hearing Dogs assist people with hearing-impairments?

• Hearing Dogs provide assistance by alerting deaf or hearing impaired individuals to sounds that they would otherwise miss.

• Dogs alert the person by making physical contact with them with one or two paws and leading them to the source of the sound.

• Dogs are typically trained to respond to: alarm clocks, kitchen timers, smoke alarms, name call, door knock/doorbell, and phones.

• Some dogs will independently learn to alert their owners to sounds they were not initially trained on (e.g., tea kettle, the toaster, or washer and dryer buzzers.)

• Hearing Dogs can also assist in the workplace or, for people who travel, in a hotel.

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Q2. Do Hearing Dogs have public access rights like Guide Dogs for the blind?

• Yes, although Hearing Dogs work primarily in the home, they do have public access rights throughout the US. Public access laws vary somewhat from state to state.

• Hearing Dogs are allowed in all public places, for example: restaurants, schools, movie theaters, hotels that don’t allow pets, and shopping malls

• Certified Hearing Dogs are also allowed in a recipient’s workplace.

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Q3. Exactly how hearing-impaired do potential recipients need to be? What other requirements must they meet?

• Must have at least a 65 decibel hearing loss (unaided.)

• Must be able to financially, physically, and emotionally care for and continue the training of a Hearing Dog.

• Must be able to participate in a 3-5 day, in-home training placement. During the placement, must work with the dog and the trainer for 8 hours each day.

• Must agree to and pay for the following medical needs for the dog: annual exam, annual heart worm test, annual intestinal screen, monthly heartworm medication, flea and tick prevention, and up-to -date rabies and DHPP injections (titers ok.) How do potential recipients qualify for a Certified Hearing Dog, continued

• Must live alone, with other hearing impaired people, or with one hearing person.

• Must have the full support and cooperation of others in the home, who agree to participate actively in the training during placement and allow the dog to consistently do its job.

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Q4. Do recipients pay for the Dogs On the Go Assistance Dogs?

• Individuals on Social Security or Social Security Disability do not pay for Assistance Dogs.

• There are, however, related costs that every recipient must be prepared to pay.

These include:

1.  A $50 application fee.

2.  A $500 good-faith refundable deposit, refundable after one year of success as a Hearing Dog team.

3.  Our animal shelter partners require an adoption fee of up to $300 to cover their costs of rescuing dogs, spaying/neutering, giving vaccines, and providing other medical care.

4.  All the typical expenses related to getting any new dog (veterinary exam, bowls, dog food, and monthly heartworm and tick medications, for example.)

• Fees for all other recipients are based on a sliding scale.

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Q5. What is the dogs’ training like?

• Initially, dogs in training are positively reinforced with food rewards as well as toy rewards.

• Gradually the food rewards are weaned away and the dogs work for toy rewards ONLY.

• Assistance Dogs are NOT trained to provide personal protection to their owners. On the contrary, they need to be friendly and trusting of people in order to be an Assistance Dog with public access rights.

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Q6. What breeds of dogs become Hearing Dogs or PTSD Support Dogs?

• Most breeds of dogs and breed crosses can be Hearing Dogs. Since they do not require physical strength to do their jobs, small and medium sized dogs of many breeds and crosses make excellent Assistance Dogs.

• Many recipients of PTSD Support or Hearing Dogs prefer a small to medium sized dog. Recipients are given a choice between small, medium, and large dogs.

• Recipients do not have the option to choose the dog’s breed or sex.

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Q7. Can any dog be trained as a Hearing or PTSD Support Dog?

• We work hard to assess potential Assistance Dogs and only chose those that have the temperament and personality to potentially be a successful in this demanding role.

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Q8. Can Dogs On the Go Assistance Dogs train my dog for me? 

• We are unable to train a dog that you already own.

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Q9. What happens to dogs that aren’t cut out to be Dogs On the Go Assistance Dogs?

• Not all dogs have the temperament to be Assistance Dogs.

• As fosters, trainee dogs that do not make it through the program are returned to our no-kill shelter partners - with socialization, basic obedience training, and some housebreaking experience that enhances their appeal for potential adopters.

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Q10. How much do Dogs On the Go Hearing Dogs and PTSD Support Dogs cost to train and place?

• It costs approximately $10,000 to train and place each Assistance Dog.

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Q11. Who pays for the costs of training and placing Dogs On the Go Hearing Dogs and PTSD Support Dogs?

• Dogs On the Go Assistance Dogs is supported by donations from private individuals, service clubs, corporate sponsors, and community foundations.

• We receive no government funding.

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Q12. How do Hearing and PTSD Support dogs get to their new homes and how do recipients learn to work with them?

• A trainer travels with the dog to the recipient’s home (called a placement.)

• The recipient receives 4-5 full days of training in: sound work, obedience, public access, and typical concerns such as housebreaking.

• It is critical that ALL family members participate actively in the placement training. This ensures that the dog’s training is reinforced properly.

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Q13. Is there much demand for Hearing Dogs and PTSD Support Dogs?

• Yes! Established Hearing Dog and PTSD Support Dog programs generally have wait times of at least one year, some several years.

• Programs often prioritize placing dogs in homes that have previously received an Assistance Dog from that same program. That means that those programs are less likely to be able to assist those requesting a dog for the first time.

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Q14. In what geographical area is Dogs On the Go Assistance Dogs able to place dogs?

Dogs On the Go Assistance Dogs will place dogs anywhere in Illinois or Wisconsin.

• We also have a long term goal of becoming accredited by Assistance Dogs International.

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Further Questions?

Email us: info@dogsonthego.us

Or call Dogs On the Go Assistance Dogs at (815) 770-7300

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