For those who are considering the help of a service dog or a service dog training program, here are a few important questions and answers to consider.
A service dog can help a differently-abled owner with various tasks depending on the individual’s disability. He is alerted to sounds by a hearing dog while for a disabled person, the legs and arms are a mobility assist dog. A dog guide acts as the eyes for a blind handler, a psychiatric dog helps an owner with psychiatric illness keep calm and able to be going out in public, and a seizure response dog responds when the handler has a seizure.
How does a service dog help people with disabilities?
Service dogs are specially trained to assist adults and children with special needs. The animal-human bonding provides confidence, comfort, independence, and companionship. Service dogs can help people with disabilities associated with different diagnoses a few of which include:
- Visual or hearing deficits
- Seizure disorders
- Psychiatric disabilities
- Cardio/pulmonary disease
- Spinal cord/head trauma
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscular dystrophy
- Ataxia/poor balance
- Cerebral palsy
How can you get a service dog?
There are a number of programs that offer service dog training. These dogs are donated by breeders, bred specifically for the program, or taken from animal shelters. Clearly discuss your needs with your caregiver as you may need their support to get some medical documentation for the program. In order to be a service dog, your dog must be specifically trained to perform various tasks and mitigate a disability. Availability of financial resources and facilities required to care for a service dog are other important considerations.
How do you qualify for a service dog?
In the United States, people qualify to get a service dog when they are legally disabled (under the ADA).
How can you help your service dog to socialize?
All puppies, whether they are intended to become service dogs, pets, or other working dogs, must be socialized. Through socializing, your pup will be introduced to new animals and people of all ages including children. Your pup may also meet other domestic animals like birds, cats, farm animals, and rodents. It is important to plan socialization activities carefully so that your pup experiences nothing that scares him. Special dog training programs will carefully plan and supervise socialization activities for your dog.
How do you choose the right dog training program?
Here are the key factors that you must consider before choosing an assistance program:
- Identify your individual needs
- Determine if a service dog is right for you
- Analyze the benefits of partnering with a service dog training program
- Ensure that you will to financially support and care for the service dog
- Find out what training the assistance program has, involving service dogs and people with disabilities
For a person with a visual impairment to lead a normal life with ease, it is the service dog which gives an alerting sound and guides him. Service Dog Training programs train a dog to perform different tasks to help remove all barriers to a person’s functionality.