Pet Advisor Blog
The Benefits of Service Dogs
Service dogs are professionally trained dogs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. They can help people with hearing impairments, visual impairments, diabetes, mental illness, and even seizures. The dogs help people with disabilities to do things they couldn’t normally do themselves. For example, these dogs can be trained to open and close doors, help their owner with any balance issues they may have, alert a person with epilepsy that a seizure is about to occur, and even be taught how to get additional help when needed.
Depending on what is required, the dogs are trained to help in a variety of ways. Dogs can be bred to be service dogs or they can come from rescue shelters. They are typically a retriever breed as this breed of dog has shown such promise in these capacities. They are also big enough to reach things but small enough to fit well in public places. When they are out in public the service dogs are required to have on jackets or vests to alter people to what they are, so they are allowed in places dogs aren’t normally allowed in, such as a grocery store or restaurant.
Training the Service Dog
In addition to being trained to help their owners in at least three capacities, service dogs must have general obedience training. The temperament of the dog must be calm and not disruptive with barking or whining. In general, the dog must be well behaved when in a public or private setting. The person who gets the dog has to know and understand how to take care of the dog as well and the dog must always be well groomed.
When training a service dog, the trainer will first make sure the dog is in peak health. They are trained in a humane way, keeping the dog safe at all times. When training puppies, the trainer will wait until the dog has the emotional and physical maturity to do the tasks that will be required of him. Overall, the purpose of this type of dog is to help people to be more self reliant and be able to live on their own.
It Takes a Special Person to Train Service Dogs
Before training service dogs, there is usually a two year period in which the person will undergo an apprentice program. Training service dogs is different than training dogs in general, so it takes more time. People who are interested in doing this for a career should really care about helping people first, and their love of dogs second. While service dog trainers play an important role in our society, it is a hard job which requires round the clock training and supervision of the dogs in training. However, it is a rewarding career for many people as they are helping people with disabilities to become more self reliant and to live by themselves, which may not otherwise be an option for them.