Duty Dogs Save Lives Everyday

What comes to mind when someone says the word “dog”? If you are like most people, a dog may simply mean a loyal pet. But imagine a dog that can open doors, hand you medication, detect allergenic materials, pick things off floors and even help when you are having a seizure. That is not a dream. There are countless homes with well-trained dogs that assist humans in need and are simply called, duty dogs.

Here are the 3 basic types of duty dogs:

  1. Emotional Support Dogs

Emotional support dogs are specially trained to give companionship to aged and mentally disabled people. They give support, affection, helps the person focus less on their anxiety or agitation which stabilises moods. Mostly, these support dogs are only given to people after diagnosis by a doctor, and they are allowed in no-pet places and airplanes.

  1. Service Dogs

Service dogs are trained to offer a variety of services to people, both normal and disabled.  They are mostly used to offer support to people living with various disabilities, and are purposely trained to handle specific tasks. Here are a few examples of service dogs:

  • Guide dogs – these are trained to guide visually impaired people.
  • Hearing dogs – these alert hearing impaired people to sounds around them such as smoke alarms, door bells, alarms, and such.
  • Mobility dogs – they assist physically disabled people to perform simple tasks. They are trained to open doors, pick things from the floor, pull things, offer support such as when getting on a wheelchair etc.
  • Allergy alert dogs – these are trained to pick up specific scents from allergy-causing items. These fatally allergenic items could be nuts, shellfish, gluten, anything really.
  • Diabetes dogs – these are trained to assist people with diabetes. They are trained to pick up on the scent that people give out when insulin levels are low and alert someone. They usually have a bag with supplies if venturing outdoors.
  • Autism dogs – these are trained to calm a person, especially an autistic child, when the symptoms of autism kick in. They achieve this through deep pressure or tactile stimulation.
  1. Therapy Dogs

These are what most households today have. They offer affection and are minimally trained to do simple tasks such as obey simple commands like sit, and are generally well behaved. Unlike the service and emotional support dogs that have strict labels saying “DO NOT PET ME”, therapy dogs allow unfamiliar people to pet them.

All duty dogs, regardless of their specific training, are required to demonstrate skills to enable them perform their tasks. You will find that duty dogs come from specific breeds and have specific temperaments which are deemed ideal qualities for particular tasks.

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