Everything You Need to Know About Service Dogs
Everyone knows that dogs are man’s best friend. They’re loyal, playful, understanding, and they won’t judge you when you spill your secrets to them. But did you know that there’s so much more to dogs than just being a trusty household companion? If you’ve ever seen dogs following their owners around everywhere while helping them with certain tasks, then chances are you’ve definitely seen a service dog.
Service dogs are trained to develop specific skill sets. These dogs have undergone special dog training to help blind people cross the street, provide aid and comfort to people who are depressed, and assist people with all sorts of disabilities.
If you want to know how to train your dog to become a service dog, your initial consideration should be the breed of your dog. While any dog can be a service dog, large dogs like German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, border collies, and golden retrievers are the usual choices for the job. Big dogs are useful for physical assistance tasks like mobility, because they can guide their owners better. Smaller dog breeds can be used too, but they are usually trained for medical alert services and emotional support.
The next thing you should do in training your own service dog is to assess your dog’s age and health. Take your dog to the vet to see if he has any important health conditions, because you’re going to need a healthy dog when you’re undergoing dog training. Dogs need to be past the puppy stage and be more than 6 months old to become a service dog. What’s more, all service dogs need to be neutered so that they can do their jobs properly. The last things you’d want in a service dog are aggressive males and females that cannot face work when in heat.
You’ll also need to test your dog’s personality so you can determine if your pet’s good for the job. A service dog can’t be too aggressive or submissive—it has to be alert and responsive while being calm, cool, and collected at the same time.
If you don’t have the time to train your dog yourself, you can find many service dog training programs and service dog training schools available to do the job for you. The great thing about enrolling your dog into schools and training programs is that your pooch can get a
service dog certification or a therapy dog certification. These can be very handy when your state requires service dog certifications, or when you want your dog to assist a physically disabled person. Having a trained service dog does have its own perks, but that doesn’t mean they can be with you, or just anyone, into places where pets are denied. Check your local service dog groups to check the places where you can safely bring your dog with you. If you or someone you care about could benefit from a service dog’s help, then train your dog to be one or check your local organizations so you can get one.