IHDI assists people with hearing loss by custom training dogs to alert them to many sounds in the home including the doorbell, smoke alarm, baby crying, alarm clock and phone. More than 1,000 hearing dogs have been trained by IHDI since 1979. All of the dogs selected for this special training come from local animal shelters. The dogs are mixed breeds, six months to a year in age, in good health, with aim-to-please, energetic personalities. The program uses only positive training methods and is able to place dogs free of charge to their recipients.