What is a service dog really? A service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Unfortunately the label service dog is becoming abused, which makes it harder for owners who truly need service dogs. Most people are aware of seeing eye dogs, but service dogs can provide services for people with seizure, diabetes, mobility disabilities, deaf/hard of hearing owners, owners with PTSD, and more. While people can go online and order a vest or ID declaring their dog a service dog-this does not truly make their dog a service dog. A true service dog can be essential to their owners ability to function day to day. Service dogs receive a large amount of training to ensure they are capable of handling the stress of their job and are trained to help their owner appropriately.
Here are interesting facts about service dogs:
**Service dogs must do tasks or work that mitigate the owner’s disability. This can range from picking up items, such as keys, purses, etc to retrieving the phone for their owner, to alerting the owner to noises that the owner cannot see. Service does cannot just provide emotional support-this would be an emotional support dog, which does not have the same regulations as service dogs.
**If a owner has a service dog, they can only be asked if the service dog is required because of a disability and what work/task the service dog has been trained to perform? Owners are not required produce ID for their service dog!
**Seizure dogs are dogs that show a natural talent for detecting seizures and then this talent is emphasized through training.
**Diabetic dogs use scent to detect the owner’s low and high blood sugars. It is important to choose a dog that has good scenting abilities for a diabetic alert dog.
**Mobility disability dogs do a range of tasks ranging from picking up items, finding and retrieving items, putting trash into a trash can, bringing owners medications, turning on and off lights, and more.
**Hearing service dogs alert owners to noises such as phones, doorbells, alarms, sirens, and more
**It is very important that service dogs are well socialized and prepared to be around all different people, as well as dogs. They also cannot be aggressive. They need to tolerate loud noises, different surfaces, and a whole range of situations. That is why very few dogs have the temperament to become service dogs! It takes a pretty amazing dog to become a service dog!
**A service dog can only be asked to leave an establishment if (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken.
**Please if you seea service dog in public please do not pet this dog!!! This dog is doing a job and needs to focus on its owner to perform their best!
**Miniature ponies can be service pets as well!
Learn more at https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm