fbpx Skip to main content

Hearing Dogs

Dogs for Better Lives’ Hearing Dogs are trained to alert to specific household sounds by making physical contact (jumping on you or nosing you) then leading you to the sound. Core household sounds include the smoke alarm, oven timer, name call, baby cry, door knock, phone, and alarm clock. DBL applicants must have a need for a dog to alert them to a minimum of three of these sounds in the home.

Dogs for Better Lives provides two types of Hearing Dogs to assist the needs of our clients. Both Certified Hearing Dogs and Home Hearing Dogs are trained using the same high standards in obedience and sound work, but Certified Hearing Dogs have additional training for public access. Certified Hearing Dogs are not formally trained to alert you to sounds in public, rather they provide environmental awareness to their handler with their body language, and awareness to the public by wearing a DBL vest.

Please read the following:

– Dogs for Better Lives places Hearing Dogs nationally.

– Applicant will not qualify if a dog is currently living in the home.

– Applicant must be 18 or older.

– Applicant must need a Hearing Dog to alert them to a minimum of three sounds in the home.

– DBL does not place dogs based on preference of size, gender, breed, coat type, or color.

– The majority of DBL dogs are Labrador Retrievers weighing 50 pounds or more.


Please Note: The content shown on our promotional videos and website reflects a variety of dogs’ sizes. Unfortunately, it has been challenging to obtain small breed rescue dogs that are appropriate for service work. Please know, we primarily place Labrador Retrievers.  If you are looking for a dog under 50 pounds, we recommend visiting Assistance Dogs International (ADI) to assist you in finding other assistance dog organizations that can meet your needs.  


Dogs for Better Lives is an equal opportunity organization who does not and shall not unlawfully discriminate based upon race, political orientation, religion, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability, marital status, military status, or for any discriminatory reason or other status prohibited by applicable law.

Vincent & Otto – How Otto helped Vincent regain his confidence and awareness


Our Process


Click on the ‘Get Started’ button below to fill out and submit an application. Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements will be notified via email of the next step. If you have any questions about the application, please email info@dogsforbetterlives.org or call 541-826-9220.


If eligibility requirements are met, then you will be requested to submit additional documentation, such as a Medical History Form.


Interviews provide us with additional information on the applicants’ needs and lifestyles. A Dogs for Better Lives associate conducts this interview; all members of the household must be present for this interview appointment.

Acceptance or Denial

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.

Waiting Period

The waiting period for a Hearing Dog is currently 36 months from the time the person is accepted to receive the dog.


Hearing Dogs are accompanied by a trainer to the home of the client. The placement will also take place in public spaces if the dog is a Certified Hearing Dog. 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.

Apply For A Dog

Before you decide to apply for a Hearing Dog, please read about our Hearing Dog Program Requirements.

Skip to content