Service dogs began as invaluable aids to those who needed constant assistance. They can be used in a variety of situations and can assist and enrich the lives of disabled people in many ways. In this article, we’re going to show a few ways service dogs can help people with disabilities. We’re going to focus on the most common and demonstrated benefits first.
Guide dogs have been in use for decades, if not longer. These are the dogs we see regularly helping people safely cross the street. They may serve as replacement eyes or ears for their owners. Hearing alert dogs don’t react to every sound. They alert the owner in response to specific sounds like a crying baby, doorbell, telephone, approaching person, or home alarm.
Assistance dogs for psychiatric patients provide a source of emotional support and often a sense of protection. This is, unfortunately, the area where many people have abused the prohibition on pets in buildings to label their pets as service animals for psychiatric conditions like anxiety and PTSD. Properly trained service dogs focus on the owner. They don’t dart around the person but walk with them.
They remain by the owner, providing support or assistance as required. Even service dogs can be removed from a building if they create a hygiene problem (pooping in a restaurant) or safety hazard (growling at other patrons). If this is a concern in your facility, you can toilet train your dog using training pads from Our Pet Spot.
Mobility service dogs exist to improve the mobility of someone with limited mobility. It is as simple as that. They may help pull a wheelchair or help an elderly person with limited coordination assistance in standing. Such dogs are trained to brace the person, whether getting up from a wheelchair or getting up after falling. They may fetch items on command, so the person doesn’t have to get up and get it. Some of them can open the door for the owner or retrieve medication.
One of the benefits of service dogs is their ability to monitor the owner and signal for assistance. A service dog can often detect an oncoming seizure or narcolepsy attack and warn the owner. They are often able to detect such events several minutes in advance and communicate it clearly. This allows the owner to get into a safe place or safe position.
They can stand next to a person having a seizure, clearly communicating that the person is disabled and should be assisted. For those with migraines, the dog’s ability to detect and warn of a migraine so the human can take medication is the difference between managing the condition in the early stages and suffering for hours.