What is a Service Dog?
By definition, a service dog is one that is specifically trained to perform tasks that assist the disability of his/her owner. This isn’t simply learning how to shake--these animals are considered medical “equipment” and play an important role in their owners lives. In fact, training a service dog will typically take anywhere between 18-24 months before they are able to assist its owner, and may only begin training once they are considered mature enough to accept the responsibility of their job.
Can any dog be a Service Dog?
Any dog with the proper temperament, health and physical capability to do the job their owner requires of them can be a Service Dog, regardless of color, size or breed. This means even a Cocker Spaniel has the ability to accommodate the needs of its owner.
What types of Service Dogs are there?
People may be surprised to know that there are well over a dozen distinct varieties of Service Dogs, including but not limited to:
- Autism Assistance Dogs
- Emergency Medical Response Dogs
- Diabetic Alert Dogs
- Guide Dogs
- Psychiatric Service Dogs
- Seizure Alert Dogs
What can Service Dogs do for me?
Service Dogs are defined by their incredible obedience and are trained to respond to a specific cue or trigger in order to assist its owner. It’s safe to say that you’d be surprised by all the things our favorite furry friends can assist us with, and here are just a few:
- Retrieving Dropped Items
- Opening and Closing Doors
- Turning Lights On and Off
- Pulling Wheelchair Up a Slope
- Waking Someone With PTSD From a Nightmare
- Licking a Seizing Person to Help End the Seizure Via Tactile Stimulation
- Burrowing Under the Legs of a Person With POTS to Help Raise Their Blood Pressure
- Alerting a Diabetic to Dangerous Shifts in Blood Sugar
- Bracing an Unsteady or Unbalanced Handler
Service Dogs help thousands of people each day in hundreds of ways we wouldn’t even expect! From companionship, to seizure assistance and everything in between, our favorite four-legged friends are expertly trained to allow us humans to be better humans!