When many people think of police dogs, they may immediately think of a German Shepherd.…
Service dogs are woven through history for thousands of years, from herding sheep on a farm to accompanying their owner to their grave in ancient Egypt. Humans needing dogs isn’t anything new, nor is the fact that people have relied on them for comfort and companionship, probably longer than they have needed us. There is a long history of dogs being used as service animals, and as the years go on, and we learn more about these incredible creatures, they are being utilized for more reasons. What exactly does a service dog do, and how are they chosen for the job?
What is a Service Dog?
The definition of a service dog is “a dog that has been trained to assist a person who has a disability.” Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks, usually designated to suit one person who has difficulty functioning and completing those tasks.
Types Of Service Dogs
There are several different types of service dogs, each individually trained to meet their owners’ requirements. Each service dog is trained only for the specific job or jobs they will have and is usually trained for a particular person.
Therapy dogs are used in a variety of places where people need help calming down or cheering up. Therapy dogs are often used in hospitals to visit sick patients, hospices, senior homes, and any other place where people are dealing with life-altering traumas or situations. The dog’s primary goal is to calm and make people happy.
If you or someone you love needs a therapy dog, there are specific places that train the animals. It isn’t as simple as going to the pound and getting a well-mannered dog; they need to be verified and trained, so they can enter buildings and other environments that other dogs are not allowed.
Emotional Support Dogs
Emotional support dogs can spend more time being a regular dog than most service dogs. Still, they are highly trained to precisely determine when their owner’s anxiety is rising, and they are at risk of having an anxiety attack. These dogs are usually homed with people who suffer from PTSD, autism, or those who suffer from depression.
These dogs are trained specifically to help their owner, who is unable to perform tasks independently. These tasks might include opening doors, fetching items their owners cannot, leading a blind person safely through the streets, and being there for their owner for whatever support they need. These service dogs can even detect when blood sugar levels drop and alert the owner, or help when their human is having a seizure, or alert a caregiver of this fact.
What Makes a Good Service Dog?
Most dogs are fantastic and have outstanding, loving personalities, but they also get easily distracted and may even nip at their owners or even runoff. Service dogs can not do any of those things; they can only do what they are trained. That’s not to say that therapy dogs don’t get a chance to play around, but when the vest is on, it’s time to work – no exceptions.
A good service dog needs to have a good temperament and remain calm in hectic situations. A service dog is trained to remain calm and focus on their human while working, but the breed of dog trained needs to be conducive of an animal that can always be trained to put their human first. When a service dog is on a walk or in a public place, and a person or another animal rushes them, they are trained not to react in any way. Remaining calm despite a chaotic situation is one of the enormous differences between a trained service dog and a dog that’s just good most of the time.
Easy To Train
The breeds of service dogs typically used are those that have a history of being easily trained. These breeds are known to be highly intelligent and receptive to orders. They will learn how to do what is expected of them and perform the task.
Love To Work
There are certain breeds of dogs that love to play and would not make great service dogs, with exceptions in the breed, of course. The breeds typically used love to have a job to do and love to please their owner. The shepherds are used to watching over things, and retrievers love to retrieve things; the list goes on as the dog is chosen. After all, if a dog doesn’t love to work, the chances are that they will lose interest in serving their human too.
10 Dog Breeds Perfectly Fit For Service
Below is our list of the ten best service dog breeds. Let’s check them out.
With the popularity of this beloved breed as a family pet, it’s not hard to believe that they make fantastic service dogs as well. Labs are good-natured and friendly and always happy to have something to do, making them excellent service dogs. Labradors are perfect for anyone who needs help retrieving items since the task is right in their name, and the breed is also known for holding things very gently in their mouths, so anything they bring to their owner will not be damaged.
The Golden Retriever has a soft nature, and like the Labrador, loves to work and retrieve things, which makes them great dogs for someone who needs a little extra help in their home due to mobility restrictions.
Golden Retrievers are smart, making them easy to train. They are also extremely friendly, making them perfect for work as an emotional support dog, especially for someone who has PTSD or suffers from anxiety.
There is no question that German Shepherds make fantastic guard dogs and have been trained as police dogs for more than one hundred years, but they are also great service dogs. This breed is smart and easy to train and forms a strong bond with their handler.
German Shepherds are good service dogs for owners who may need help standing, sitting, or steading themselves. German Shepherds have a keen sense of smell, which makes them well suited as diabetic alert dogs.
Don’t let these dog’s fancy appearance fool you; they are knowledgeable. The smaller breeds can be easily trained to be emotional support dogs, while the standard Poodle is studier and can be used for physical support. The Poodle is a laid back breed and can adapt to different situations and ignore the chaos, making them the right breed for those who suffer from anxiety.
These gentle giants have a calm demeanor that makes them a perfect fit for being an emotional support dog. Their size gives them the ability to help an owner who needs physical assistance or stabilization. Great Dane’s are receptive to strangers and stay calm in tense situations.
You don’t often see Boxers used as service dogs, but they have great personalities and love children. They are smaller dogs but are sturdy and capable of stabilizing children that may require a service dog. Boxers are high energy and need many exercises, but they will adapt to a more relaxed environment.
A pomeranian is too small to offer physical support or help its owner balance or walk, but it can help out with a variety of tasks that don’t require size or strength. Pomeranians are very attentive to their owners and, since they are small, do very well in a small apartment or house.
Bernese Mountain Dog
The Bernese Mountain Dog is a sturdy breed that takes its job very seriously. They can perform physical tasks and help support their owners with standing or walking, and they have the intelligence necessary to do a variety of jobs for their owners. This breed is smart and loyal, but since they are large and shed a great deal, you’ll want to make sure you are willing to take on the responsibility of cleaning up their hair before you choose this breed as a service dog.
Border Collies are considered one of the smartest breeds of dogs globally, so it’s no surprise that they can be easily trained to be service dogs. This breed loves having a job to do and has the energy to go all day long, so you need to give them lots of exercises and always have a toy on hand to stimulate them.
Border Collies are great emotional support dogs and are good with children, but their herding instincts may cause them to topple a small child over accidentally. Accidentally hurting a child should not be taken as an aggressive act, as they are only doing what they were bred to do.
Wrongfully so, the Pit Bull is viewed by many as an aggressive and ill-behaved breed, when the opposite couldn’t be more accurate. Pit Bulls are a loving, gentle, and loyal breed that can provide emotional support and physical support to their owners. These dogs are easily trained and would make an excellent addition to the family.
Just when you thought dogs couldn’t get any better, they became the literal lifeline to their person. Service dogs are a special breed unto themselves, and they will always hold a special place in the heart of their owners and the world around them.