About US: Japan Hearing Dogs for Deaf People (JHDDP) Since 1996

History



Japan Hearing Dogs for Deaf People (Hereinafter referred as to JHDDP) was established in Nagano Prefecture, mountainous region of Japan, on October 1st, 1996. It is Japan’s 5th Training Organization (School) for Hearing Dogs in Japan.

Moto ARIMA, Ph.D.(One of the Founder and the CEO), who completed a Postgraduate Course of Edinburg University in the U.K. and returned to Japan, established it not only to “train Japanese Shelter Dogs to be Hearing Dogs” but also to be a trusted Charity Organization by learning “how to run the an ideal organization” from Mr. Tony Blunt, the former CEO of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People in the UK –the most successful Hearing Dogs Organization in the world.

JHDDP which was recommended by Ina Health Center in Nagano. Currently JHDDP becomes Japan’s first Corporation of Social Welfare in Japan (in 2003), which is designated by Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Minister of Health (2004) and Registered by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (2009).

In 2009 JHDDP opened an Educational Institution for Assistance Dogs Trainers, “JEITHDSD: Japan Educational Institute for the Trainers of Hearing-Dog and Service Dog (Mobility Support Dog) (https://www.facebook.com/JEITHSD)” which curriculum includes academic theory for the first time in Japan. JHDDP also is Japan’s first organization that passed ADI (Assistance Dogs International) Accredited Exam. (2006 and 2012)


Hearing Dogs in Japan



Japan was actually the second country that started “Training for Hearing Dogs” in the world (1981) after the USA. The UK was the third. Although the UK started it one year after Japan, they have more than 2000 Hearing Dogs working there so far. From the time they started to train the dogs in the UK, deaf people there were able to lend Hearing Dogs as a part of their “Welfare” Services. Meanwhile in Japan, Hearing Dogs were sold for over 300,000 yen. Because of its high price, it made the deaf community stayed away from the Hearing Dogs. Also unlike westerners who allow wearing shoes inside their houses, Japanese, with high hygienic concepts such as removing shoes inside, had a harder time allowing working dogs –even Hearing Dogs inside their houses.

With such many reasons, only less than 100 Hearing Dogs (estimation) were placed to Deaf persons in last 30 years.


Guid, Hearing and Mobility Support Dogs



Japan’s first Guide Dog was trained for the blind in 1957 if you look at the history of Japanese Assistance Dogs, and we currently have 950 working Guide Dogs for the blind (as of January 1, 2018). As for Hearing Dogs, the training started in 1981 and currently 70 dogs are in service. We have 65 Mobility Support Dogs working that were trained in Japan (mainly to assist the people with wheelchairs) since 1991.


Methods



JHDDP trains sheltered dogs into Hearing Dogs as Hearing Dogs for Deaf People in the UK does. Basic theories and techniques used are based on Fun Training that was learnt from Hearing Dogs for Deaf People in the UK, additionally JHDDP adds its original training methods suitable for Japanese mix dogs, in order to utilize the highly ability of Japanese mongrels.

Puppies older than 1.5 months and Adult dogs younger than 3 years old are selected to be trained from animal shelters etc. They are fostered by “Socializer” (volunteers to rear would-be-Assistance Dogs) and socialize as Assistance Dogs. “Socializer” will be asked to put their first priority for “Affection and Physical Attachment”. After 6 to 12 months training, finally the dog will be acknowledged as a “Hearing Dog” when it passes “Accreditation Test for Assistance Dog for Persons with Physical Disability” regulated by the Japanese government.

JHDDP went for training or inspectional visit other ADI related Assistance Dogs Training Organizations (such as NEADS, Dogs for Deaf and CP) . There were many things to learn and to follow as they were successfully managed and had a wonderful training knowhows.

Furthermore, JHDDP is using a basic theory of Special Preschool Education in order to make a good use of Japanese Mixture Dogs that has an air of roughness. Special Preschool Education makes Preschoolers do the necessary exercises for their age together as a group, which activate the frontal lobe. The system makes children repeat the behavior pattern of “exercise –calming activity –exercise” to improve their communication skills. The dogs in training at JHDDP also repeat “motion and stillness” such behavior pattern of “Play with many dogs –obedient training –play –obey the order” in order to give dogs in training selfcontrol of the emotion by activating the frontal lobe.

Because JHDDP considers ability of the hand of Physical Disabled Person to use the clicker for training, it uses the very high pitched voice saying “Yes” which was used by Dr Bonnie Bergin (Inventor of Mobility Support Dogs) instead of the clicker. JHDDP believes that a human’s voice suits the best for the Mobility Support Dog training.

There are some people who wishes to have a Mobility Support Dog but are unable to project their voices. In that case the dog will be trained without any words from the time of basic training as Hearing Dogs training does. It is not always sign language but sometime hand movements (hand signals), which is easily understood by the dogs.

In 1996 when JHDDP started, the number of dogs that were rescued and then put down was approximately 400,000. We should be pleased that the number was reduced to 50,000 or less in 2018. However it becomes a bit difficult to select would-be-Assistance Dogs that are suitable from such limited number of dogs.

JHDDP also trains dogs for owners who wishes to train their own. If the dog is suitable for an Assistance Dog judged by the result of Temperament Assessment, then it keeps and trains dogs for 2 months. After 2 months, the owner joins in and stays at JHDDP for 20 days for training, then they go home to get trained at their own homes and surroundings for another 20 days. Even if the dog lacks of suitability as a Assistance Dogs, JHDDP teaches the owners for free to train the pet dogs to be a “helping hand” by teaching them up to three sounds at their homes as a “support for disabled people”.


Communication



Approximately 350,000 people have hearing disabilities (hearing impairment or deaf) but around 15-23% of them can use sign language well. Sign language is essential for trainers of Hearing Dogs, not only at JHDDP but also at other organizations. However JHDDP has other methods using a plate with “written letters” or drawing “pictures” other than using sign language.


Training Facility



In 2008 JHDDP completed the very first barrier free facility in Japan as a training organization of Hearing/ Mobility Support Dogs, where they can get trained during their stay. Also there are two more offices in Hachioji, Tokyo and in Ashiya, Hyogo for the use of consultation or aftercare.

There were some organizations, such as other NPOs and JHDDP that train Hearing/ Mobility Support Dogs, that struggled to gain understandings and supports from the Society. However, fortunately JHDDP was established with recommendation from one of the local Health Centers in Nagano Prefecture, Ina Health Center. Thus, trust from the society was already there from the beginning. Even now, activities such as lobbying or lectures are essential in order to maintain understandings and supports from the society. JHDDP is hosting demonstrations or lectures 270 times a year (including 58 facility visits by bus tours).