Hearing dogs, as well as guide dogs and service dogs, have been allowed to accompany with persons with disabilities in facilities by law in 2002.
The hearing dogs react on a sound necessary for living such as buzzers and fire alarms, and call their deaf owners. It is more difficult for the hearing dog to have both independence and obedience than the guide dog and service dog that follow the owner's instruction. The hearing dogs are very fewer. It is said that the training of hearing dogs has started in Japan in the 1980's.
The construction of "the hearing dog and service dog training center" was recently completed by the Hearing Dogs Society in Miyata-mura, Nagano Prefecture. It was built next to the Miyata Villager Hall. It is said that it is the first kind in Japan by designing a whole barrier-free building as a training facility for hearing dogs and service dogs.
A two-wooden-story building with 489 square meter in total that was built on site of about 600 square meters. There are a training room, a bathroom for the trained dogs, and the health care room. An outdoors training space (1,560 square meters) will be planned.
The total project cost was about 200 million yen. Though it was covered by a subsidy of the Japan Keirin Association and donations, the capital of 45.6 million yen is needed to set up the outdoors training space.
The society is loaning the person with disability the hearing dog or the service dog free of charge. It will work on the training of proper dogs, aiming at bringing up 5-10 dogs every year in the future. Also a school for trainers who train service dogs is scheduled to be established on the center next February.
Source: Mainichi Shimbun, Sept. 27, 2008