Service Dogs and How to Spot Them

How to spot service dogs.


Service dogs are specially trained to assist people with disabilities. Service dogs are more than just guide dogs for the blind. Service dogs are working dogs. In addition to hearing dogs and guide dogs, there are also seizure alert dogs, and service dogs doing housework for people with limited mobility. Children suffering from emotional and psychological trauma, as well as war veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) all benefit from having a service dog by their side.


People with Disabilities

The phrase “people with disabilities” does not only refer to those who are suffering from vision or hearing impairment. The term is also used for people who have balance issues, suffer from various forms of autism, and have psychiatric issues, need seizure alert or response, those who use wheelchairs, or need to be alerted to other important medical issues that may be life-threatening without prompt medical attention. People suffering from spinal cord injuries, spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and cerebral palsy all benefit from having a service dog by their side.


Can any dog qualify for service dog training?

A good service dog is people-oriented, not protective, does not possess a strong herding instinct, not overly active, confident but knows who the alpha leader is. They undergo rigid training so they will be able to efficiently assist a person with a disability. Not all dogs are qualified to be service dogs.

Most service dog programs train Golden Retrievers and Labradors. The size and disposition of these dogs make them ideal candidates for service dog training. Great Danes have also been trained to provide a better quality of life for persons who have severe balance and mobility limitations.

In addition to purebreds in selective breeding programs, many service dogs are acquired from animal shelters. Many mixed breeds undergo formal audio response training to become hearing dogs.

Types of Service Dogs Service dogs undergo a long process of selection, training, and finally matching to guarantee that they meet the exact needs of their human partners.


Guide Dogs

Blind and visually-impaired persons benefit from the assistance of guide dogs. Moving around may have been difficult before, but with a service dog by their side, they can now venture outside, maneuver their way easily around obstacles as well as negotiate traffic.


Hearing Dogs

Hearing dogs assist deaf and hearing-impaired persons by alerting them to various household sounds such as the crying of the baby, a door knock, a doorbell, name call, alarm clock, telephone, oven buzzer, or smoke alarm.


Seizure Assistance Dogs

These dogs work with people suffering from epilepsy or other forms of seizure disorder. Their responsibilities range from alerting another person when their partner is having a seizure to breaking the fall of the person at the onset of a seizure.


Autism Assistance Dogs

These canines have been trained to perform physical tasks and become excellent companions. Since persons with autism often suffer from sensory overload, Autism Assistance Dogs provide a focal point to help the person deal with this challenge, while providing strong emotional support.


Mobility Assistance Dogs

These dogs help people in wheelchairs become more independent. They have been trained to perform a variety of skills such as opening doors, retrieving dropped items, and even help pay at a cash register when shopping. There are also Mobility Assistance Dogs which have been trained to offer support and balance to people with mobility impairments.


Medical Service Dogs

Medical Service DogApart from assisting with mobility issues, medical service dogs are also trained to perform physical tasks. These canines are able to signal the onset of a seizure, shifting insulin levels, and other medical tasks that can help save their humans.


Mental Health Service Dogs

People suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety attacks, panic attacks, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and other mental disabilities, all benefit from having a Mental Health Service Dog by their side.


Allergy Detection Dogs

These dogs are trained to alert their human partner when they pick up the scent of a specific allergen. This action will prevent exposure of the person to the allergy agent, which can be a life-saving act.

Every single day, service dogs have a significant impact on the lives of their human partners. These canines empower people with disabilities and enable them to live normal lives, reducing their reliance on other people while increasing independence and self-confidence. These canines also provide unwavering social and emotional support and unconditional love.

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