In this blog post, we will share a list of reasons for a service dog. We will talk about the unique characteristics of a service dog and what is an emotional support dog.
List of reasons for a service dog
Here is a list of reasons for a service dog and who can apply for one:
- People with physical disabilities. Prepared to pick things up from the floor, turn on switches, open and close doors and drawers, etc.
- The hearing impaired. Specially trained to notify their owner of various sounds (bells, telephone, crying of a baby, voices, alarms, alarm clock, etc.) and take them to the place where the sound is coming from.
- The visually impaired. Also known as guide dogs.
- Alerts and emergencies. These service dogs are perfect for people diagnosed with epilepsy or diabetes. The dog can predict low blood sugar levels or can ask for help in case of a seizure.
- People with autism. They are a type of therapy dog capable of avoiding or reducing disruptive behaviours and stereotyped behaviours typical of autism. These animals establish a powerful, effective channel with their owners, improve communication, sensory stimulation, and their owners’ safety.
- Animal-assisted therapy. Therapy dogs are used in people with intellectual or mental disabilities, psychological disorders, and homes for the elderly, social centres and drug addiction centres.
Other reasons for a service dog are if you have one or more of the following conditions:
- Chronic pain;
- Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome.
- Cardiac issues;
- Cerebral palsy.
How can I request a service dog?
The request for a service dog must be very thoughtful, and the person must assess the impact that the presence of his new pet will have on their lifestyle. Even so, a high percentage of disabled people choose therapy dogs because, in addition to helping them, they also keep them company until they become good friends and companions.
Associations dedicated to these assistance animals’ education assess each request individually, looking for each person’s right pet. In some cases, after the assignment, joint training is done to see if the two of you get on well. The subsequent follow-up can last several months.
In the children’s case, the minimum age is usually required for the dog to recognise him as the owner. It is also important that the child can assume some responsibilities with his assistance dog such as taking him for a walk or brushing him.
Unique characteristics of service dogs
Some of the characteristics of assistance animals are:
- Great learning ability
- Low aggressiveness
- Good reaction to sounds and signals.
Among the breeds that are usually selected to become assistance dogs and therapy dogs, the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever stand out, Belgian Malinois Shepherds (intelligent and with many physical abilities) and the Alaskan Malamute who is considered loyal and very hard-working.
The training process for service dogs
The training process for service dogs starts when the puppy is between 8 and 10 months. It is a long process that can take up to two years.
In general, animals are selected from puppies, and those who want to request assistance dogs adopt them when they are in the training process or when they are fully educated. There are also some cases of training an animal that already belongs to a disabled person, but that requests that education for the dog.
Some associations also work with abandoned dogs or that come from protectors, but if they meet the characteristics to become faithful helpers. The training of assistance dogs is based on teaching them to perform the tasks that help their future human companion in their daily life:
- Pick up and bring things
- Open and close doors
- Ring the bell
- Turn lights off and on
- Open and close drawers
- Help the person remove clothes or shoes
- Protect the owner
- Ask for help
- Pulling the wheelchair for short distances.
But, those who think about requesting assistance dogs, should be clear that this implies a series of responsibilities. Just as the dog will take care of us, therefore we have to take care of it and keep it in the proper conditions.
What are emotional support dogs?
The company of our pets has the power to make us feel better when faced with an adverse situation. Emotional support dogs are pets that help their owners overcome an emotional or psychological problem, such as phobias, stress, depression, etc.
These dogs are an essential support to guarantee the physical and emotional well-being of the person they accompany. Their presence and contact with them have very positive effects on people’s health.
Emotional support animals are considered necessary for their owner’s mental health. They are used, especially, for cases of panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and social phobia.
To be considered emotional support animals, dogs have to be “prescribed” to their owners by a mental health professional.
Differences between an emotional support dog and a service dog
Service dogs are specially trained to help people with some kind of disability or disorder. Service dogs are guide dogs, medical response dogs (to detect epilepsy attacks, low blood sugar in people with diabetes, etc.) or sound signalling dogs for deaf people, for example.
On the other hand, emotional support dogs are not trained to perform any specific task and whose mission is to accompany their owners to help them emotionally in their day-to-day lives.
Therapy dogs are animals that assist in specific therapeutic activities, both individually and in groups.
Emotional assistance dog: the best breeds
All types of dogs are suitable to be emotional assistance dogs. Not only that, but any domesticated animal species can also serve as support.
However, some breeds of dogs have certain characteristics that make them ideal for providing emotional assistance, such as great empathy, intelligence, psychological balance, etc. Some of those breeds are as follows:
- The golden retriever.
- The labrador retriever.
- The Yorkshire terrier.
- The corgis.
- German Shepherds.
- The Pomeranians.
The relationship between a person and their emotional support dog
With everything explained so far, you may understand how special a relationship can be between a person and their supportive pet. Animal lovers in and of themselves bond very closely with our furry companions. Even more so when they help us combat disorders such as anxiety and depression.
A dog is one more member of the family. When his presence comforts certain people, his company becomes even more valuable. With their unconditional love and tenderness, these pets are capable of making their master forget, at times, the circumstances that terrify him.
People develop excessive affection towards their animals, aware that their mere presence makes them feel more secure and stable. Any story that tells us about the friendship between a support pet and her love is simply heartwarming.
Does your assistance dog need special care?
Not at all. Emotional support dogs only need to be loved, cared for, and fed with care and dedication. You can spend time with your pet as you would with any other similar companion.
Give him the best nutrition, relaxation time (which will also make you feel super good) and love him as he deserves. Do not forget his vaccinations, his microchip and duly register him in the National Pet Registry!
Regarding the certifications of your pet, if it is an assistance or therapy dog, the institution in charge of its training will provide you with the necessary documents to verify its training.
If it is an emotional support pet with basic training, the psychiatric certificate that proves that it must accompany you everywhere will suffice. Some shops and malls allow access without problems.
If you have wondered more than once how to prevent panic attacks and how to overcome your anxiety and depression problems, adopt a dog! It will make you feel super happy and change your life forever.
Before considering adopting a dog, we need to go to a canine educator specialized in therapy dogs to help us choose the most suitable dog and work with him so that he can live with an autistic child or hold sessions with him on time.
There are trainers and companies that are dedicated to therapy with dogs for autistic children, so it is always advisable to start our adoption or trial session there.
If you have any comments or questions on the content, please let us know!
FAQ on a list of reasons for a service dog
Why would a person need a service dog?
A person who needs a service dog is a person who needs additional support regards physical or mental health issues. Guide dogs, for example, help visually impaired people walk, cross the street safely or even climb some stairs.
Could I benefit from a service dog?
You could benefit from a service dog is you have reduced mobility, trouble walking, are visually or hearing impaired, or struggle with other physical or mental health problems.
Does anxiety qualify for a service dog?
Yes, anxiety qualifies as a reason for a service dog. Any mental health issue, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder qualifies.
How can you identify a service dog?
You can easily identify a service dog as they usually wear a jacket or a collar with the inscription: guide dog or service dog. These dogs are focused on and very disciplined.
Can anyone have a service dog?
Not everyone can have a service dog, as you must qualify and have a reason for soliciting a service dog. You could benefit from a service dog is you have reduced mobility, trouble walking, are visually or hearing impaired, or struggle with other physical or mental health problems.
Can you get a service dog for chronic pain?
Yes, you can get a service dog for chronic pain. Service dogs will help you by providing you with balance, bringing water and medication or asking for help if you fall down.