Dogs are one of the most beloved pets across the globe.
Known for their kind and loving temperaments, dogs have a variety of characteristics that provide them with an affinity to humans, including a willingness to please, the ability to retain information, bounds of intelligence, and, of course, unwavering loyalty.
Besides making great companions, service dogs are special because they are able to offer a variety of benefits to their owners, including the ability to help perform specific tasks to assist with a disability.
This can be anything from helping to fetch an item to assisting their owner while walking. The only question is, how does a dog become a service dog?
If you are currently wondering how a dog becomes a service dog, rest assured that you have come to the right place.
In this article, we are going to be sharing with you how a dog becomes a service dog, what the requirements are for a dog to be one, as well as other helpful information. Let’s begin.
What Is A Service Dog?
Before we get any further, we first think that it would be a good idea to quickly explain what a service dog is, exactly. Essentially, a service dog is a dog that is able to provide assistance to a person who has a disability.
In other words, a service dog is a dog that has been carefully trained to be able to perform certain tasks to help improve the autonomy and quality of life of its owner.
This can be anything from helping to lead their owner if they struggle with their sight, or even helping to fetch certain items around the home.
Of course, as service dogs are trained to handle a variety of different disabilities, the tasks can vary greatly.
According to the ADA, which is the Americans with Disabilities Act, a disability is defined as being either a mental or physical impairment that prevents general, day-to-day activities that another person would be able to perform without any issues.
To follow onwards, the ADA also prohibits any discrimination against a person who owns a service dog with regard to transportation, various commercial facilities in employment, and much more.
With that being said, a service dog will help its owner by performing a variety of tasks on command that are directly related to the disability of its owner.
How Does A Dog Become A Service Dog?
There are a variety of different professional services across the country that train dogs to be able to serve as service dogs across a variety of different disabilities.
These organizations will take on worthy candidates and begin training them to be able to perform a variety of skills and tasks that are relevant to assisting their handler’s disability.
The training is typically quite lengthy and consists of a variety of different stages, including learning how to handle a variety of different strange and stressful situations, the ability to be calm and settled next to their handler, as well as how to respond to a variety of commands consistently.
How To Train Your Own Service Dog
Interestingly enough, the ADA does not currently require service dogs to have undertaken any special or professional training.
In fact, those who have disabilities that desire the assistance of a service dog have the ability to train their very own service dog by themselves.
Even though there are no specific requirements or special training that is required for a service dog, it should be noted that there are a few desirable traits that help to make a potential dog a good candidate to be a service dog.
Let’s take a look at them below:
- A naturally calm disposition, even in unfamiliar and potentially stressful situations.
- A sense of awareness (both of themselves, their owner, and their surroundings) without being negatively reactive to the external environment around them.
- The ability to be able to learn a variety of different commands, as well as the ability to retain information.
- A natural willingness to want to please their owner.
- The ability to be able to repeat tasks/commands consistently and without making mistakes.
With that being said, now that you have a better understanding of the traits that are desirable in potential service dogs, you might now be wondering how it is possible to train your very own service dog at home.
As a general rule of thumb, when someone wishes to train up their own service dog, it is very important to make sure that the owner starts with the basics.
This includes making sure that the dog is able to carry out simple commands, as well as be house trained.
Along with this, it is also important to make sure that the dog being trained to be a service dog is regularly socialized to make sure that they are good with others.
This can be achieved by simply going on regular walks or even visiting the local dog park so that the dog will be able to become familiar with interacting with various animals and humans.
As this training progresses, various tasks and commands can be introduced in these social environments to make sure that the dog is a suitable fit for service.
After training a dog to the stage of being able to carry out commands in various environments with ease, the dog will then need to be taught how to perform various tasks that are specific to the owner’s disability.
Once this has been achieved, the dog can then begin working as a service dog.
There we have it! After reading through this guide, we hope that you now have a much better understanding of what a service dog is, as well as how a dog is able to become one.
Thank you for reading, we hope that this guide has been helpful!