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How Man’s Best Friend, Really Is…

The Importance of Service Dogs

A service dog with owner near a pool

November 21, 2019
by Kelley O'Toole

As fall leads into the holiday season, the word “service” is often on our collective minds. Honoring the Armed Services on Veteran’s Day. Engaging in charitable works throughout November and December. “Service” is also...

What are Service Dogs?

A service dog is an assistance animal trained specifically to aid individuals with disabilities and certain illnesses. They serve not only as loving companions, but as vital lifelines to their owners. Service dogs can be any breed.

Who Benefits from a Service Dog?

While many individuals may benefit from the companionship of a dog, there is a wide selection of people who require a service dog to help live their daily life, including:

  • Deaf and hearing loss. These dogs are specifically trained to alert owners to the source of a sound.
  • Seeing-eye dogs are trained and certified to guide those with impaired vision.
  • These dogs are trained to specifically assist war veterans. These dogs frequently assist with calming veterans who suffer from PTSD.
  • Physical disability. These dog help with everyday tasks like picking up dropped items, opening door and more.
  • Disabled or Autistic children. Children with disabilities are matched with dogs that have been specifically trained to work with children. In the case of children with Autism, service dogs help children to stay calm and gain confidence.

 

How are Service Dogs Trained?

Training of a service dog is not required by law. However, having proof that your service dog has achieved “minimum training standards” and a “public access test” may be helpful should the dog’s owner ever be challenged on the validity of your service dog.

According the US Service Dog Registry, service dog training can be completed by the dog’s owner, a friend, family member or a professional dog training organization. Generally speaking, it takes about six months – or 120+ hours – to properly train a service dog. This includes at least 30 hours of training in a controlled public setting so your service dog learns to behave obediently and unobtrusively in public while still providing the service required by its owner.  

Learning More

 

It’s easy to see why service dogs are so important. They help a wide range of people and in most cases change – and even save – the lives of their owners.

There are a variety of online resources that provide more detailed information on identifying the need for a service dog, as well as becoming a service dog owner and training tips. As always, you’re encouraged to contact or visit Aldens Kennels for all your dog questions. You can find us at www.aldenkennels.com.