Service dogs are an essential component in the lives of those with disabilities. These courageous furry companions help their owners perform essential daily tasks otherwise tricky due to their disability. However, not all service dogs are the same.
This post will cover each type of service dog and what kind of disability speciality it has. I will also touch on how to register an animal for those in need of assistance.
What Exactly Is a Service Dog?
A service dog is a highly trained canine that knows how to assist a human with a physical, emotional, or mental disability. The animal also can read its owner’s emotions to determine whether they need additional comfort.
A popular example would be a guide dog that helps someone who’s visually impaired navigate the streets. These animals have physician validation and an official service dog registration.
The UK Equality Act 2010 gives service dogs special rights, including access to public areas and transportation without limitations. It prohibits service providers from discriminating against those who have a disability and need a canine to assist them. That means you and your companion can sit down at restaurants, take the train, and even wind down in the local library.
Are There Any Breed Requirements?
In short, there aren’t any specific breed requirements to register a service dog. That said, some breeds are better at the job than others.
Regardless of the breed, a good assistance dog needs to have the following characteristics:
- Calm Temperament. A dog’s temperament encompasses its behaviour and a few biological traits that determine its interaction with humans and other animals. Since these animals often visit public areas, they must be naturally calm and well-behaved around people and other dogs.
- Energetic. While they shouldn’t be bouncing off the walls with energy, they should enjoy getting out of the house and walking around.
- Intelligence. Since these animals require specialised training, they need to have a higher than average intelligence level.
Different Types of Service Dogs
Guide dogs are one of the most popular types of assistance dogs worldwide. They are there to help those with visual disabilities navigate society and perform daily tasks. Guide dogs tend to wear a special harness that their owners can grab onto quickly.
One unique thing about guide dogs is their ability to make their own decisions. Although they obey commands from their owners, they analyse the world around them to ensure it’s safe for their owners before moving.
Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are often the best breeds for this job.
Mobility Assistance Dogs
These service dogs are extraordinary because they can help their owners perform essential tasks with ease. Those struggling with conditions like arthritis, brain injuries, and muscular dystrophy have difficulty getting up. Their mobility assistance dog can answer the door, retrieve objects, and even turn off the lights!
Psychiatric Service Dogs
Not to be confused with emotional support animals, psychiatric service dogs help those struggling with a mental health disorder. They can read their owner’s mental state and determine when they have a psychiatric episode. In that case, they’ll provide emotional support and even help get them to a safer location.
Humans and dogs have a strong bond that has existed for centuries. Today, our fellow canines are more than just pets. Dogs can make our lives easier and more enjoyable through their heightened senses, compassion, and intelligence.
A service dog makes living with a disability far easier. What’s more, they get additional rights that allow them to be with you every step of the way.