Man’s best friend is beneficial to humans in many ways. Apart from offering companionship as a pet, some dogs carry out a variety of tasks to help us in situations only canines can excel at. Service dogs, as you can tell from the name, are dogs that are professionally trained to offer services to humans. From detecting danger to tracking through sniffing and retrieving stuff from hard-to-reach areas, the list of things a service dog can do is enormous.
Their good public perception is topnotch, giving them commanding praise as social icebreakers. However, training is what distinguishes a service dog from other types of animal assistants. But most of us don’t seem to know much about these canine assistants. Well, here are 6 surprising facts about service dogs you ought to know.
1. Service Dogs Are Not Pets
Let that statement sink deep! They are dogs at work! Many are times we see dogs around humans, and we automatically assume that “that is just a companion”. With the special training to handle and take care of people with disabilities, these animals are just heaven sent. In this case, they’re an extension of the person because they help them achieve what they otherwise couldn’t on their own. In a recent article at certapet.com/fake-service-dog-registration/, fake service dogs exist these days. These are just pets deceptively registered by their owners as “service dogs” for purposes such as to avoid paying rents and fees at public amenities.
Needless to overemphasize, real service dogs are not pets. The canines require a high level of professional training before they can be crowned as service dogs.
2. Service Dog Training Takes Time and Money
In life, we give the most attention to the investments that make us better. Well, you can never go wrong with investing in a service dog. Normally, it takes up to 18 months to fully train a service dog, and at the end of it all, he chooses his human family. The training can start as soon as the pooch is only 2 days old. During training, the dogs are taught how to retrieve items and networking. On the latter, they are trained how to interact with humans in a social setup.
The dogs receive training according to the needs of the human. For instance, a person with epilepsy and a blind person will have service dogs whose training has been tailored to suit their respective needs.
3. The Vest Is Not Mandatory!
It is a general assumption that service dogs must wear jackets or backpacks for easy identification. Yes, the explanation makes sense but which is better? Identity or security? In fact, the ADA advises that the dogs should either have a tether to prevent him from biting or a leash to ensure the security of the general public. Though it is not a must, sometimes it is necessary to have it on the dog just to avoid brushing shoulders with guards when accessing certain business premises.
4. They Perform Many Tasks
As already highlighted, service dogs handled a wide range of tasks and jobs. In most cases, they are assigned to persons with disabilities of various dimensions. Some provide visual assistance, whereas others offer hearing aid. Others are tasked to provide allergen alert, sensory assistance, mobility support, or neurological help. The range of tasks a service dog can handle will largely depend on his training.
5. Service Dogs Are Governed By Law
For those who thought that laws are only for humans, shock on you! Just like dogs have rights, they too have laws that guard and protect them. In addition to that, the animal’s emotional support and care are part of its rights. According to the ADA, for instance, service dogs should be allowed access to all public places where the owner is allowed, including hospitals. The dog should also be trained for a specific task and must be under the control of the handler. In the US, the Air Carrier Access Act even allows them to fly for free! However, these laws may vary for therapy dogs and emotional support dogs.
6. Retrievers Were Born for Service
Any dog can be a service dog, but retrievers own the crown. They are called retrievers because they use their mouth to retrieve stuff. Labrador and golden retrievers are the most common strains used as service dogs. They are more sociable, attentive, and eager to please. They are also fast learners, devoted, and easy to train.
Last but not least, service dogs equally need care and maintenance. After all, they help people with disabilities feel more responsible and accomplished. They should, therefore, get the care and attention they need as animals and helpers. They should have routine medical checkups, vaccination, regular cleaning, and grooming. Having a service dog is a commitment as well as a worthwhile investment.