Are you looking to get a friend who can help you out anytime you need it? Service dogs are more than faithful friends. Depending on their training, they can do various tasks.
If you need a service dog, you’re sure to have some questions about getting one. Below, we’ve got a list of 10 things you need to know about service dog requirements. Read on to find out how you can get a service dog, for how much, and where.
- What Are Service Dogs?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are animals trained to perform specific tasks for a person with a disability. These dogs are essential to the daily lives of people with disabilities. Thus, the ADA gives these people the right to bring their service dogs into any public space.
Service dog training conditions these dogs to take a specific action to assist a person with their disability. Service dogs perform different tasks according to the person’s disability. A popular example is the guide dog, which aids people with visual impairment.
You may also know of service dogs as assistance dogs, guide dogs, or hearing dogs.
- Benefits of Having a Service Dog
Dogs, by nature, can ease your anxiety and reduce stress. The companionship of a dog alone already does a lot for your emotional well-being. Pair that up with the aid that service dogs offer.
Service dogs can do many more things, depending on their training.
Before, the only service dog was the Seeing Eye Dog. Now, different types are available to those who need it. They can even sense chemical changes in your blood sugar and alert you about it.
- Types of Service Dogs
Dogs receive various service animal training. For example, a mobility assistance dog aids people with a wide range of mobility issues. This includes people with spinal cord injuries, arthritis, or brain injuries.
Autism support dogs provide a sense of predictability to autistic children. This allows them to socialize better, improving their quality of life. Having these dogs around reduces isolation and comforts the child during stressful times.
Other types are allergy detection dogs, seizure response dogs, and seizure alert dogs. For children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), FASD service dogs are available. Adults who suffer from PTSD may also enjoy the company of a PTSD service dog.
- Common Service Dog Breeds
You might notice that the breeds of service dogs don’t vary too much. Not all dog breeds are optimal for becoming service dogs. The most common breeds are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds.
This isn’t to say that other breeds can’t enter the service. Great Danes and Saint Bernards have the strength and height for mobility assistance. Poodles can receive early scent training to detect blood sugar variations.
- How to Tell If a Dog is a Service Dog
Vests with the label ‘service dog’ are available to the public now. However, this may not always be the truth. Because of irresponsible pet owners, most service dogs get a bad rep.
Some pet owners place such vests on their dogs to avoid anti-pet policies. However, fake service dogs and dishonest owners are easy to spot. Well-trained, professional service dogs don’t bark, go off-leash, and jump on people.
The marks of a true service dog include patience, concentration on the task, and immense discipline. Service dogs are always wearing leashes and they never tug at the leash. They also often remain calm and quiet.
- Who Qualifies for a Service Dog?
Anybody with a limiting disability qualifies for a service dog. Getting a service dog is a lifetime commitment. You need to adjust big-time if you want a service dog.
First, your lifestyle will change. Things will be easier and harder in various ways. It will help you with certain things but caring for it also becomes your obligation.
Do you have the time, energy, and resources to care for a dog? Can you put in work to form a relationship with it? Will your family feel bothered by it at all?
- Is It Possible to Train Your Dog?
While it’s legal, self-training a service dog is a difficult task. First, you need a dog that has the chops for it. Most dogs can’t become a service dog.
Service dogs need impeccable behavior and the ability to remain calm in all situations. Training a dog to be a service dog also takes a firm hand. Don’t train your dog yourself if you’re likely to spoil it.
The best way to do this is to hire a professional service dog trainer. Even then, the dog may not qualify as a legitimate service dog. Not all dogs have the right personality to make it as a service dog.
- Costs of Getting a Service Dog
Did you know that the United States has around 500,000 service dogs? These are only the best of the best, the cream of the crop. In actuality, 50-70% of dogs that undergo service dog classes drop out.
Training a dog to be a service dog takes hard work. Expect the cost of training a dog alone to go over $25,000. That doesn’t include the costs of living with your service dog.
However, some organizations offer service dogs to disabled people for free. Some organizations give financial aid to those who can’t afford a service dog. Though getting a service dog is expensive, it’s worth investing in.
- Where You Can Get a Service Dog
Look for professional service dog training organizations in your area. These organizations are non-profit or non-profit. You want organizations that offer handler training as well.
This way, they can teach you to understand and read your dog.
- What Are the Service Dog Requirements?
When you qualify for a service dog, you will undergo a long process. The quickest step is the application process. The grueling part comes after that.
Most organizations hold in-depth interviews to get to know the disabled person. You might also get house visits and conversations with your health care providers. Organizations must ensure they have a thorough evaluation of your disability and situation.
Service dog requirements include time training with your dog. Handlers also need to undergo training to bond and become familiar with their service dogs.
Improve Your Quality of Life
Service dogs have a big impact on the lives of people with disabilities. Getting a service dog is a big deal. It isn’t as simple as buying a pet and picking the cutest one.
That’s it for our guide on service dogs and service dog requirements. We hope you learned a lot about service dogs in this post. If you want to read more about service dogs, check out our other posts now!