Bed & Breakfast Socialising is one of many volunteering roles at Hearing Dogs.
When the pups are around 8 weeks old, they leave their Mum and continue their journey to becoming a life changing Hearing Dog. They go and live with Puppy Socialisers until they are just over a year old. During this time they attend puppy classes and their Puppy Socialisers expose them to new environments, sounds, people and animals (to name a few). This gets them to the perfect point ready to start their sound work training and this is where the baton is then passed on to a B&B Socialiser.
The idea of being a ‘B&Ber’ is that you look after the dog evenings and weekends and drop them off at school each day so they can learn their sound work training.
Soundwork training normally takes around 4-5 months but as with all of the timings I have mentioned, they can vary depending on the dog as they are all completely different, and like humans, learn at different rates. Whilst they are at school, the pups learn how to alert a deaf person to different sounds. The main sounds they are taught are the doorbell, fire alarm and cooker timer. The cooker timer is a mobile timer that can be used for anything but in particular is also used as an alarm clock.
Once the soundwork training is complete and the test passed, the clever pup is then officially a fully fledged Hearing Dog and able to be matched to a recipient. When a match has been made, a meet is arranged for the dog and recipient and providing this goes well, a date is set for them to spend a week at the Hearing Dog centre. After this week, they both go off to start their partnership. This is the ultimate proud Mum moment!!
Everyone always asks me, ‘How can you give the dog up?” – of course I am sad when each pup leaves but more importantly I am incredibly proud of what they have achieved and what they are going on to do. Having seen what a difference a Hearing Dog can make to a deaf person, it completely reinforces exactly why I volunteer for this wonderful charity.
And that is when I wait for the phone to ring, and for the next pup to arrive…