What is a Service Dog?
A Service Dog is a dog that is individually trained to perform tasks to mitigate a person’s disability.
Three most common groups of Service Dogs:
- Guide Dogs: for the blind and the visually impaired
- Hearing Dogs: for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Service Dogs: for people with disabilities other than those related to vision or hearing including but not limited to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Seizures, Blood Sugar, Bipolar, Autism, Mobility, Depression, Anxiety and over 300 other disabilities.
Although Guide Dogs for the blind have been trained formally for over seventy years, training dogs for physically and/or mentally disabled individuals is a much more recent concept.
Where do the Dogs Come From?
- Dogs/puppies that are to be trained as Service Dogs can come from breeders, shelters, adoption clinics and rescue groups.
What Disorders/Disabilities Can be Helped With a Service Dog?
- There are many disorders that a service dog can assist with. Click on About Service Dogs –> Tasks and Work, and you will find a list of some of the disorders and disabilities that service dogs can assist with. Please note that this list is by no means all-inclusive and that not all dogs can be trained for the tasks. It is our intention to help people better understand the amazing impact these dogs can have on the lives of their handlers. Use this list as a guide for what a service dog might be able to do for someone with a psychiatric or physical disability, but remember each individual will have specific needs.
What is the Difference Between Work Tasks and Physical Tasks?
- Items listed as a physical task (e.g. tactile stimulation) may have a work component if the dog is recognizing and responding on their own to the handler’s medical condition, or if the handler uses the tactile stimulation as a part of their cognitive-behavioral or mind/body regulatory work.
- Items listed as work (e.g. waking the handler) may have a physical task component where the general public might see the dog performing some function, but the handler must respond to the dog’s cue in a cognitive-behavioral or mind/body regulatory fashion for the symptom to be mitigated.