Service Dog Training

Service Dog Training

All Service Dogs serve a purpose!

Dogs once supported humans primarily by endowing the vision-impaired with greater independence and security. Guide dogs continue to enhance blind people’s lives enormously, and they’ve been joined by a growing range of service dogs:

Seeing/Hearing Dogs

Guide dogs for the vision-impaired are well known and widely appreciated. Working dogs that help the hearing-impaired are less familiar. A dog can learn to alert a person when an alarm sounds, a doorbell chimes, or a baby cries. With hearing dogs, some people can lead much richer lives.

Mobility Assistance Dogs

Working dogs help people lead more independent lives while facing such mobility challenges as muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain or spinal cord injuries, or severe arthritis. A mobility assistance dog can pull a wheelchair, push elevator buttons, receive packages, and empower people who can walk with support to live more independently.

Medical Alert Dogs

Service dogs can do much more than many people are aware, such as alerting people to potential medical issues throughout the day. Diabetic Alert Dogs (DAD’s) let people with diabetes know when their blood sugar is high or low, detecting sugar spikes (by scent) before humans do, so insulin can be injected before harm occurs. Some dogs may be able to sense people’s seizures before they occur, and alert them in advance. Seizure response dogs help people during and after seizures (regardless of whether they predict the events), barking for help or activating alarms, then possibly fetching phones or medicine. Dogs can also detect food substances that people are allergic to, such as peanuts.

Psychological/Autism Support Dogs

Dogs can help people manage a number of psychological issues and autism. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders can make people feel vulnerable, and service dogs can literally shield those people from threatening stimuli, while also comforting them. People with autism can also be comforted by loyal canine companions; additionally, a friendly dog may attract other people to interact, lessening the isolation that common burdens people with autism.

Service dogs truly enhance many people’s quality of life.

Mobility assistance dogs

These types of service dogs can perform a wide range of tasks for people with a wide range of mobility issues. According to Service Dogs of America, mobility assistance dogs can bring objects to people, press buttons on automatic doors, serve as a brace for people who are ambulatory or even help pull a wheelchair up a ramp. These dogs help people increase their independence and confidence.

People with spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, muscular dystrophy, and arthritis are among those who benefit from being partnered with a mobility assistance dog. Different breeds are selected depending on the handler’s size, but the dogs must be large enough to support their human partner.

Diabetic alert dogs

Also known as DADs, these types of service dogs can provide independence and security by alerting to chemical changes in their handler’s blood sugar. The scent changes associated with hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic events in diabetics are imperceptible to humans, but dogs can pick up on them and alert their people to blood sugar highs and lows before the levels become dangerous.

When a diabetic alert dog alerts, his human then knows to test his blood, then inject insulin or ingest a dose of glucose before his blood level gets dangerous. Many of these dogs are trained to go alert others in the household or set off an alarm system if their human needs medical help.

Seizure response dogs

Not to be confused with seizure alert dogs, seizure response dogs are trained to provide help to a person experiencing an epileptic seizure, not to predict the seizure. These dogs can be trained to bark for help or to press an alarm system during a person’s seizure. They can also get a person out of an unsafe place during a seizure and help the handler to come around when the seizure ends. These dogs may also bring medicine or a phone to a person who is coming out of a seizure.

Seizure alert dogs

Seizure alert dogs are a controversial type of service dog who react with a specific type of behavior right before her human has a seizure. The ability to alert to seizures seems to be a natural ability for a small number of dogs, although some neurology experts say there is no reliable evidence to suggest that dogs can reliably predict seizures.

On the other hand, many patients, families and trainers insist their dogs do accurately predict and alert to oncoming seizures, and stories about pet dogs who alert without training have received a lot of media attention. Some epilepsy organizations, like the BC Epilepsy Society, state that it’s not possible for dogs to be trained to alert to seizures, but some dog training agencies (including UK-based Support Dogs and 4 Paws For Ability in the U.S.) say it is possible to train a dog to alert.

Autism support dogs

For kids on the autism spectrum, these types of service dogs help provide a sense of predictability as the children navigate social settings, including school. The dogs can be a big help for kids who have trouble connecting with classmates, as the canine acts as an icebreaker in social situations. In addition to improving the child’s quality of life by reducing isolation and comforting the child in stressful times, these dogs are also trained to keep children from running away and can often track children if they do run off.

FASD service dogs

An emerging category of service dog, these dogs support children who were exposed to alcohol prenatally, and have been diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). These children may have physical and mental difficulties, as well as behavioral problems and learning disabilities. According 4 Paws for Ability, its FASD dogs are trained similarly to autism service dogs and can be trained to interrupt a repetitive behavior.

Allergy detection dogs

With the rise in food allergies has come another type of medical service dog. Allergy detection dogs are trained to sniff out and alert to the odor of things such as peanuts or gluten. Often partnered with children, allergy detection dogs can be trained to alert to allergy-inducing smells at school, providing the kids with a greater sense of independence and giving their parents a greater sense of security. While it’s clear that some dogs can be successfully trained to alert for allergies, this category of service dog attracted negative attention when some parents said they paid for dogs that couldn’t care less about a deadly peanut.

Other kinds of working dogs, including therapy dogs and emotional support dogs, are not classified as service animals as they’re not trained to perform a specific task to help their handlers. In most jurisdictions, these kinds of dogs are not afforded the same privileges as service dogs.

Service Dog Training

Contact Us for Specials

  • All Day Play
  • Live Web Cams
  • Spacious Play Yards
  • Medicine Administration
  • Check In/Out Anytime During Camp Hours
  • Pet First Aid & CPR Certified Counselors
  • Lots of TLC!
Shoshanna's Dog Care