Essay on Service Dogs
Do you know of someone who uses or has a service dog? Have you or someone else recognized how much support that a service dog provides someone? Service dogs are valuable partners and companions to over eighty million Americans who have a disability (AKC Staff). Service dogs have many types of abilities and are able to perform a variety of different tasks. There are many benefits to having a service dog if you have a disability. A service dog can help disabled individuals do the tasks in everyday normal life that they would not have been able to complete without the help. Assistance dogs have to train for up to two and a half years to learn all of the jobs and tasks that they would need to perform. Assistance dogs learn all of the commands in order to do their specific job or task (Schuh). There are no restrictions on the size of a service dog as long as they can perform the job that they were trained to do. Service dogs have a huge impact on those in need, including those who are visually, physically, emotionally and hearing impaired.
Guide dogs are dogs that are trained to lead blind and visually impaired people. This type of service dog can navigate around certain obstacles, help their owners get around more easily, and help them quickly get to the place they need to be. Visually impaired people have been using guide dogs for hundreds of years. The first guide dog school was started in Europe after World War I in 1918. This school was used to train dogs to help the soldiers that had become blinded or visually impaired in the war. The first guide dog school in the United States opened in 1927, this school was called The Seeing Eye (McDaniel).
Guide dogs are allowed in any public place with their owner as long as their behavior is good and they do not cause any type of harm to any other visitors of a public place. A common misconception about guide dogs is that they show their owner where to go, actually the owner who is visually impaired or blind shows the dog where to go and the guide dog helps their owner by leading the way. Getting a guide dog requires a high life of maturity and discipline. Guide dogs mainly work with older teens and adults because of this (Dog Guide). Guide dogs can be related to psychiatric service dogs as they help their owners get around easier and quicker.
Physical impairment is when a disability that limits a person’s ability to move or to get around. Physical impairment may include people who have cerebral palsy, a spinal cord injury, amputation, multiple sclerosis, back injuries, arthritis, or any other injury that affects the person's ability to walk or move (Canine Partners).
Physically impaired people can have a service dog that can help in many different ways. They can provide support or stability, retrieving objects such as a phone, hitting an elevator button or a open door button and or close door button, and retrieving dropped items. Being physically imapired prevents a physically impaired person from doing your day to day tasks, with a service dog these tasks can be achieved faster and easier (Canine Partners). As physical and emotional impairment are two different impairments, service dogs can provide comfort to both and assist their humans in many different ways.
An emotional impairment is defined as the inability to learn to build a relationship with peers, to have challenges that cannot be explained, to be depressed or have an overall attitude of unhappiness, or to have an inappropriate behavior against self or others. The type of disorders that may fall under emotional impairment include anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, conduct disorder, etc (Kimberly).
Emotionally support dogs require no specialized training but they have no public access like other service dogs may have. Emotional support dogs can be any breed of dog ranging from very small to very large (Kea). Emotional support dogs provide therapeutic benefits to those with an emotional impairment. Emotional support dogs must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional, unlike other support animals (Kimberly). Other service dogs than emotional support dogs require training and don’t require a license by a mental health professional.
Service Dogs for the Hearing
Service dogs for the hearing impaired serve as their owners ears and provide the benefit of companionship. Certain sounds a service dog for hearing can alert the owner of includes a door knock, a smoke alarm, an alarm clock, tea kettle, a cell phone ringing, keys dropping, approaching traffic, and other general sounds (Dog Guide). Service dogs that are used for the hearing impaired are very sensitive to the slightest of sounds because they are always alert. The noises that these service dogs experience alert the dog of what is going on and what type of environment that they could be in.
With these different sounds, the service dog can alert their owner of things going on around them or if something dangerous is approaching that the owner may be unaware of (Dog Guide). Service dogs for the hearing impaired communicate with their death or loss of hearing owners by making physical contact with them. Smaller service dogs may jump up on or walk near their owner when there is something to alert their owner of, while larger dogs may seek out their owners hand with their nose to make contact with their owner (Canine Partners). Most of us have come in contact with a service dog at some point in our lives and we don’t only see how well behaved a controlled the dog is, but we see how much that service dog supports their owner.
In conclusion, service dogs have a huge impact on those in need, including those who are visually, physically, emotionally and hearing impaired. The use of service dogs has become more popular in the United States as the human-animal bond continues to strengthen and grow (What is). Assistance dogs can help address the certain needs of different people with different disabilities. Awareness of service dogs should be shown for those who are seeking assistance and help in their daily lives. People who could generally use the help of a service dog don’t realize the support and the capabilities of a service dog. Service dogs can help many different things, as there are many different types of service dogs.
The most common type of service dogs are guide dogs, hearing dogs, psychiatric service dogs, and emotional support dogs. All of these different types of service dogs can improve the life of their owner tremendously. Guide dogs help their owners get around easier and faster, hearing dogs are the ears for their owners and allow their owner to be alerted of any danger or things that may be approaching, psychiatric service dogs allow for their owners to get around easier and help them with things such as opening doors and picking up dropped items, and lastly emotional support dogs help provide support their owner and give their owners emotional comfort. Many of us have owned a dog and they are like your best friend or child almost. Dogs deserve the best as they provide so much support to those who need it and show that through their behavior and how they help us humans.
AKC Staff. Service Dog Training 101—Everything You Need to Know. www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/service-dog-training-101/.
Alt, Kimberly. "Service Dog vs Therapy Dog vs Emotional Support Dogs." Canine Journal, www.caninejournal.com/service-dog-vs-therapy-dog-vs-emotional-support-dogs/.
"Canine Partners for Life." Mobility Assistance Dogs, /k94life.org/mobility-assistance-dogs/.
Dog Guide for People with Vision Loss. /www.visionaware.org/info/everyday-living/essential-skills/an-introduction-to-orientation-and-mobility-skills/dog-guides-for-people-with-vision-loss/1234.
Grace, Kea. The Difference Between Service Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Emotional Support Animals and More.
McDaniel, Melissa. Guide Dogs.
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Schuh, Mari. Assistance Dogs. 2010.
Tagliaferro, Linda. Service Dogs. 2005.
What is the Americans with Disabilities Act? adata.org/learn-about-ada.