11 Oct, 2011 11:41 AM
TWO dogs from the Devonport dogs' home are out to show you can teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs Kimmy and Peewee have been selected to become hearing aid dogs and have been whisked away to the Adelaide Hills for an intensive training program. The program will help teach them to recognise sounds and alert them to their deaf or hearing-impaired owner. Luiza Ziembicki, head trainer of Lions Hearing Dogs, said Kimmy and Peewee were making great progress with their training. "They have both passed the first stages of their training so far," she said. Ms Ziembicki said there were three stages of training the dogs had to pass to be able to be recognised as qualified hearing aid dogs. "We like to think they go through their learners, then their probationary licences before they can be pronounced fully qualified," Ms Ziembicki said. Training a hearing aid dog takes between six and eight months. "Generally they have a couple of months in our kennels," Ms Ziembicki said. "We assess them for any health problems and take them through different scenarios to help them adjust to different situations. "Hearing aid dogs have the same rights as guide dogs, which means they are allowed in public places like shops and on public transport. Ms Ziembicki said she liked sourcing dogs from the Dogs Home of Tasmania because they seemed to have the smaller breeds best suited to hearing aid dog training. "We are looking for dogs about beagle or cocker-spaniel-sized," Ms Ziembicki said. "You (Tasmania) seem to have more of the smaller breeds in your dogs' homes. "You just can't find them much here."