Different Ways 6 Types of Service Dogs Provide Unconditional Love and Service
Service dogs play an indispensable role in transforming the lives of individuals with diverse needs and disabilities. These four-legged friends not only enhance the quality of life of their pet parents through loyal companionship, but also support a new level of independence, support, and empowerment to those they serve through their meticulous training.
There are various types of service dogs, but they all have one true purpose: To provide peace of mind and independence to their pet parent so that they can live with pride and self-reliance. Let’s look at a few different types of service dogs to better understand their unique training and how they help their handlers.
The type of service dog most of us are familiar with is guide dogs. These impressive dogs are trained to “see” for individuals who are blind, visually impaired, or have other disabilities. Whether it is a seemingly simple task like crossing the street, or a more daunting endeavor like traveling cross-country, guide dogs help make difficult challenges possible for their pet parents.
The Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind is an organization that works to provide individuals with guide dogs free of charge. For more than 75 years, they have raised, trained, and placed Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Lab/Golden mixes with individuals in need of assistance.
Guide Dogs utilize their training to help their handlers:
- Navigate their home environment.
- Find and follow a clear path.
- Maneuver around obstacles, both on the ground and overhead.
- Assist with the use of public transportation.
Mobility Assistance Dogs
Mobility assistance dogs support people that have a limited range of motion or balance issues. With special training, these dogs can grab and bring objects to their handler, press out-of-reach buttons, open doors, offer stability support, and even pull a wheelchair up a ramp.
Through organizations like Canine Partners for Life, mobility assistance dogs are often paired with individuals who:
- Navigate with a wheelchair.
- Had a spinal cord injury or brain injury.
- Suffer from arthritis.
Assistance Dogs for Veterans
As a not-for-profit organization based in Smithtown, New York, and a sister organization of the Guide Dogs Foundation, America's VetDogs® provides a wide variety of service dogs free of charge to help disabled veterans from all walks of life who have served our country.
VetDogs Service Dogs are trained to help those with:
- Physical disabilities.
- Visual impairment.
- Hearing loss.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder.
Assistance Dogs for Veterans can also serve as facility dogs as part of the rehabilitation process in military and VA hospitals.
Bil-Jac is proud to be a partner of America’s VetDogs. When you purchase America’s VetDog’s Treats, you help make a difference to America’s military heroes.
Diabetic Alert Dogs
Diabetic alert dogs, or DADs, can provide their handlers peace of mind by responding to hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic fluctuations that humans can’t detect. When DADs sense chemical changes in their pet parent’s blood sugar, whether it goes up or down, they can alert them in time to intervene.
Diabetic Alert Dogs can help their handlers by:
- Reacting to audio signals from insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors (CGM), and other devices. This is especially helpful for people with impaired hearing, and for diabetes management while sleeping.
- Alerting people nearby to help the handler in cases of severe blood sugar changes.
- Retrieving a cell phone.
- Retrieving medications and other supplies during an emergency.
Allergy Detection Dogs
Allergy detection dogs are trained to use their sense of smell to identify and alert individuals to allergens such as peanuts and gluten. By warning their handlers ahead of time, allergy detection dogs help pet parents avoid potential life-threatening allergic reactions.
Allergy Detection Dogs help their handlers:
- Navigate social and everyday activities with more confidence.
- Reduce the risk of potentially life-threatening reactions.
- Minimize the need for medical intervention.
Psychiatric Service Dogs
Psychiatric service dogs are trained canine companions that provide comfort and support to individuals with mental health challenges. This type of service dog offers a range of specialized duties, including interjecting during harmful behaviors, providing deep pressure therapy during anxiety or panic attacks, and creating a calming presence in crowded, stressful environments.
Psychiatric Service Dogs help to:
- Improve their handler’s emotional well-being.
- Increase independence.
- Enable and enhance daily functioning and tasks.
Three Cheers for All Types of Service Dogs
Every type of service dog, goes above and beyond to bring comfort and independence to countless lives. By handling tasks, sending alerts, and helping their pet parents conquer everyday challenges, they are prime examples of why dogs truly are a man’s best friend.
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