Hearing dog trainer visits Cleve Lions

Cleve Lions Secretary John Schumann thanking guest speaker Nick Liemandt who spoke about the Australian Lions Hearing Dogs program.
Cleve Lions Secretary John Schumann thanking guest speaker Nick Liemandt who spoke about the Australian Lions Hearing Dogs program.

Cleve Lions welcomed guest speaker Nick Liemandt to their recent meeting,who spoke on the Hearing Dogs program to members and visitors.

The Lions Hearing Dogs in Australia was started in 1980, when two Australian Lions members went to the USA.

The centre was set up at Verdun in the Adelaide Hills and since then has trained approximately 597 dogs to assist people with hearing difficulties.

Dogs are sourced from pounds, shelters and breeders, the latter fostered out until old enough to start training, with 25 dogs trained and delivered this year.

When the dogs are assessed and don't fit the program they are housed, not returned to the pound or shelter.

The dogs are taken to shopping centres, on trains etc to get then used these areas.

No particular breeds are chosen and the dogs take approximately 5-7 months to train to react to a variety of sounds such as phones, fire alarms, doorbells etc.

They go to the source of the noise and indicate to the person where the noise is coming from.

The recipients are also 'trained' to interrupt what the dog is indicating.

There are three to four people on Eyre Peninsula who have one of these dogs and trainers visit to check that all is going well and also ask a local Lions Club member to help by ringing the doorbell, calling the phone and setting alarms at the house to help the trainers in Adelaide.

The cost of training is $37,000 with many Lions Club donating but is free to the recipient who pays the vet bills and for food.

The waiting period to receive a hearing dog is about 18 months, with two years the longest period.

The Verdun Centre are in the process of expanding the centre over the next four to five years as the demand is high.

It's a great concept to assist people with hearing loss to keep them interacting with their local communities and not be isolated.