Assistance Dogs / Support Dogs

Labrador RetrieverAssistance dogs or support dogs are specifically trained to perform tasks that aid individuals with disabilities. These individuals include people dealing with intellectual, mental, physical, psychiatric, and sensory impairments. The tasks entrusted to assistance dogs should always be associated with the individual's disability; for example, emotional support dogs will help people with mental health issues that need emotional support.

The tasks that support dogs are trained for include retrieving items such as the phone or medicine, preventing destructive behaviours, pulling a wheelchair, and helping blind people to navigate. Assistance dogs follow their owners wherever they go. Thus, it is common to see them being allowed into establishments to accompany their owners.

For an individual to own a support dog, they should be diagnosed with a disability. Next, they need to choose what tasks should an assistance dog learn to help them. A service dog agency will then work with the individual to find the right support dog for them. Note that it is highly discouraged to pet assistance dogs. Doing so may distract them from efficiently carrying out their tasks.

The Assistance Dog Group is made up of three subgroups based on their specific functions.

  • Guide dogs are intended for people who are blind or have visual impairments.
  • Hearing dogs are intended for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Service dogs are intended for people with other disabilities, including autism, physical disabilities, psychiatric disabilities, seizures, and other medical conditions.

Want a dog from the Assistance Dog Group? Here is a list of the dog breeds commonly qualified to be service dogs:

Assistance Dog Highlights:

  • They aid their owners to have more independence in doing daily tasks.
  • They motivate owners to have a positive outlook on life.
  • They help prevent negative thoughts and behaviour.
  • They make tasks easier to do.
  • They increase their level of safety.

As with all dog breeds, assistance dogs have different as well as common traits. It is best to do your research on particular assistance dogs that you are interested in getting or buying, so you know exactly what to expect. In general, dogs are affected by several factors (e.g., environment, training, and socialisation) that will determine whether they grow up as well-rounded adult dogs.

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