Trained to alert people to household sounds that are necessary for everyday safety and independence.
Trained to enhance the safety of children with autism by acting as an anchor and preventing the child from bolting.
Go to work with and assist professionals such as physicians, teachers, counselors, and court room advocates.
Career Change Dogs are wonderful, adoptable dogs who are happy and healthy but just not suited to working for a living.
Dogs for Better Lives is a 501(c)(3) organization
10175 Wheeler Road
Central Point, OR 97502
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Dogs for Better Lives places Assistance Dogs with qualified individuals who will benefit from the loyalty and companionship of a professionally trained dog. Applicants are screened carefully to ensure they will benefit from receiving one of our dogs and that they are willing and able to maintain the dog’s training and care for the dog after the dog is placed with them.
There is no application fee or deposit required. For information on our adoptable Career Change Dogs, click HERE.
If you are considering applying for one of our professionally trained dogs, please go over this page carefully, along with Application Requirements and Points to Consider, prior to filling out an application. Fill out your application completely and submit it to Dogs for Better Lives.
All applicants for Hearing Dogs must send in a copy of their medically based audiogram reflecting the current level of hearing loss. This will be reviewed by the Placement Screening Committee. This panel is made up of Audiologists and professionals who work with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Due to the fact that there are many different aspects to hearing loss, there is no exact degree of loss that can be given as the minimum for qualification.
In-home interviews provide us with additional information on the applicants’ needs and lifestyles. A Dogs for Better Lives associate, from the applicant’s area, conducts this interview. All members of the household must be present for this interview appointment.
After the interview is completed and returned to us, the entire application packet will be carefully reviewed and a final decision made as to whether or not one of our professionally trained dogs is suitable for the applicant.
Dogs are matched with individuals based on the temperament of the dog and the lifestyle, personality, activity level, health, and environment of the person. We do not place dogs based on breed, size, hair length, or sex.
For a Hearing Dog, the waiting period is approximately 18 months from the time the person is accepted to receive a Hearing Dog. For a Facility Dog, the waiting period is currently 6 months to 1 year from the time the person is accepted to receive the dog.
Hearing Dogs, Autism Assistance Dogs, and Facility Dogs, accompanied by a trainer, go to the home of the client. The trainer teaches the client how to keep the dog working consistently and how to maintain the dog’s obedience training.
Following the placement, regular communication is required. The client reports regularly on the progress of the dog. When problems arise or the client has any questions, the trainer offers help and answers questions. In-home follow up is also done.
Dogs for Better Lives provides follow-up support for the life of the team.
There can be no other dogs in the household with a Hearing Dog or Autism Assistance Dog, with the possible exception of a retired Dogs for the Deaf Hearing Dog or Autism Assistance Dog. If you have other pets and are not willing to re-home them, your application may be denied due to the difficulties of having a professionally trained dog work around those types of distractions.
We typically require a fenced area attached to the home.
It is crucial to have full cooperation and support of all household members for a successful working team to develop.
The cost of feeding and caring for one of our professionally trained dogs could be over $750.00 per year. This includes but is not limited to food, toys, vet care, etc. This does not include any unforeseen illness or injury. The client is financially responsible for the dog’s care once the dog is placed with the person.
For HEARING DOGS: A client must be willing and able to physically, mentally, and emotionally care for the dog without assistance.
For AUTISM ASSISTANCE DOGS: Please note that our Hearing Dog training program is separate from our Autism Program. Generally, to qualify for our Autism Program, the child on the autism spectrum cannot be diagnosed with any other disabilities. To provide the best support for our clients, our dogs are trained for one specific skillset and not, for example, dually trained as Hearing Dogs. Please call for more information and clarification.
The Hearing Dog, Autism Assistance Dog or Facility Dog is a trained working animal, not a pet. The entire training program is based on rewarding or playing with the dog every time they work. Consistent practice, patience, and praise are necessary for the dog to succeed.
Please remember that our dogs are not trained to be guard dogs. They are friendly, stable dogs that help people with different challenges and provide companionship only.
Before you begin the application process, it is important that you read this information and give it some serious thought. The following information is given to you so that you realize everything that is involved in applying for and having a Hearing Dog, Autism Assistance Dog, or Facility Dog.
All of our Dogs receive extensive program work and obedience training. Hearing Dogs are trained to alert to sounds by making physical contact then leading you to the sound. Additionally, our Hearing Dogs are also trained and certified for public access. Facility Dogs can provide a calming effect, allowing the professional to better serve or treat their clients. These dogs do not have public access except when accompanying the professionals and their clients in order to provide assistance to the clients.
Our standards and criteria for determining whether or not a dog is suitable for access to public places are very high. Only dogs that can ignore other dogs, handle being exposed to busy, noisy and crowded environments as well as comfortable with all types of people are appropriate to be in public.
When we match a Dog with a client, we look at a variety of factors: the needs of the client both for work at home and in public, lifestyle and energy level and the confidence the dog has in new environments and situations.