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Stray dogs to be trained to help people

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

08:29, February 07, 2012

Three people with hearing disabilities with dogs from a training center for guide dogs in Beijing in May, 2011. A project to train stray dogs to assist elderly people and those with hearing disabilities has been launched. (China Daily Photo)

BEIJING - A project to train stray dogs to assist elderly people and those hard of hearing has been launched in the capital.

The China Beijing Hearing-Dog Association plans to select dogs from an animal shelter in northern Changping district that is managed by the Beijing public security bureau, and to invite dog trainers from Japan.

"We'll choose young dogs, because it's easier to train them," project leader Wang Yue said on Monday. "The breed of dog is not so important."

To date, 24 residents have applied to become students in hearing-dog training.

"We prefer applicants with some experience of training dogs and that have great passion for dogs," Wang said. "The selected people will learn hand-sign language first from the Japanese instructors.

"After a 180-day training period, the selected stray dogs can signal reactions to various sounds, such as knocks on a door and water boiling. The trained dog will then act as an 'intern' in deaf or old people's homes for 30 days."

The association will continue to liaise with the public security bureau during the project. Wang added that the police can vaccinate the selected stray dogs, which will save the association time and cost.

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