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Retirement and reform for a hearing assistance dog

Being a hearing assistance dog is a profession.

For the sake of the dog’s well-being, it’s possible for him to be taken out of the program: that’s reform. But why should this happen?

As with humans, after a few years of loyal service, it’s time to retire! A well-deserved retirement, carefully prepared so that it goes perfectly for both dog and owner…

What's the difference between reform and retirement?

Culling and retirement are two very different ways in which a hearing assistance dog can rest.

In either case, the decision is taken with the well-being of the dog and the quality of its care in mind, so that neither it nor the recipient is adversely affected.

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Reformation can occur at three points in a dog’s life:

As soon as the reform is declared, the dog can no longer be an assistance dog. If it is in training, the training will stop there, while if it has been given, its assistance dog status is withdrawn.

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Retirement comes, as it does for humans:

Once retirement has been decided, the dog is no longer an assistance dog, but can retain its reflexes and habits.

Why can a dog be reformed?

There are many reasons for reforming a dog, some more rare than others. Sometimes, it’s a question of putting the dog’s well-being first, while in other cases, it’s a question of putting the recipient’s safety first.

Who makes the decision to reform a dog?

The trainers and the technical director study the situation as a whole, taking into account all the elements at their disposal (veterinary reports, observations during lessons, etc.) before arriving at a carefully considered decision.

All the consequences of either choice are taken into account, both for the dog and for the person to whom it was allocated.

Our priority is the dog’s well-being, which is why we prefer to reform the dog if its health and/or happiness are at stake. However, if the reform is not caused by an action on the part of the recipient (for example, if it is decided before the dog is handed over, or in the event of illness occurring during the dog’s life with its owner), a solution will be found for him/her!

How do you organize the retirement of a hearing dog?


Preparations for retirement begin, and the first examinations start!

If they are not deemed positive, retirement can be decided early.

Age 7

The dog continues to be closely monitored, and retirement can be decided early.

Age 8

The dog continues to be closely monitored, and retirement can be decided early.

Age 9

It's time to retire!

Whatever his state of health, the dog is in for a well-deserved retirement.

Age 10

7 is the age at which a hearing dog can retire.

In fact, in that year, the dog undergoes a thorough medical check-up to determine whether or not it can continue to work with its owner.

Depending on the results of this check-up, the decision may be taken to allow the dog to continue his work, and regular check-ups will then be carried out to prepare for his retirement at the right time: the dog’s well-being, and therefore his owner’s, is the priority!

In any case, when the dog turns 10, he or she will enjoy a well-deserved retirement!

Who makes the decision to retire a dog?

In France, guide and assistance dogs remain the property of the organization that trained them, so the decision is made by the Association, taking into account all factors from the medical check-up to the handler’s situation. In all cases, this retirement is planned in advance, so that the beneficiary can prepare for a possible separation, but also for the arrival of a new, fresh assistance dog that will turn his life upside down!

Both the dog and the owner will be listened to and prepared for this new stage in their lives: leaving either of them in a less-than-ideal situation is out of the question!

What happens to reformed and retired dogs?

When a dog is retired or reformed, there are several solutions!

In the case of a reform
In the case of a retirement

Our goal : the dog needs to...
  • have fun
  • rest
  • enjoy life

Finding a new family, training a new dog…none of this would be possible without your support, which enables us to continue our mission!

8 septembre 2024

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