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Old 06-05-2009, 01:27 AM
 
357 posts, read 960,129 times
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Default how does a dog become a service dog?

What makes a dog a service dog? I understand it has to be a working dog, but what organization merits the dog as a service animal?
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:44 AM
 
Location: Ohio
2,175 posts, read 4,938,639 times
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Although I am not familiar with service dogs I do know there are agencys that specialize in training for police dogs, service dogs for the sight impaired, even dogs trained to know when someone is about to have a seizure. Dogs can be trained to find cadavers or people still alive buried under debris or avalanches. I saw a news report recently where dogs where trained to alert when smelling a malignant cancerous tumor in a persons body. (Still in the experimental stage)
Their senses are so much more acute than humans that they can sense and be trained to alert for many different specific situations.
It takes people in specialized training fields and long term programs to accomplish the desired results.
You won't get that from your local obedience school.
It's amazing what dogs can be trained to do by people who know how to it.
Most dogs, if treated right, want to please us and will do whatever to protect those they love by instinct even without training.
They are capable of doing much more if trained by professionals to do specific jobs.
Dogs are great.
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Old 06-05-2009, 05:55 AM
 
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There are many groups that are recognized by their standards and training requirements for service dogs. Service dogs usually have to be tested and then the owner applies for service dog status.

For most dogs at LEAST the CGC (Canine Good Citizen) test is required and then, depending on the task, other testing would also be mandated.
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Old 06-05-2009, 06:41 AM
 
Location: California
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What type of Service Dog did you have in mind?
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:51 AM
 
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I have a service dog, and have had to make myself somewhat of an expert. I have a couple of blogs about service dogs myself, and there are several others "out there" by people who have service dogs. Moderator cut: no advertising

My Emmy is a mobility service dog. I am disabled by rheumatoid arthritis and by fibromyalgia. I have spinal degenerative disk disease that make bending over impossible for me. I walk with a cane or walker, and sometimes need a wheelchair. Emmy is a small black Labrador Retriever (about 54#). She is my dear girl - we are "joined at the hip," as it were.

Some of the things Emmy does for me include:
  • retrieve my cane when I drop it (several times a day)
  • pick up other dropped items - such as my cellphone, a pill bottle, my keys, etc
  • nudge the wall switch on and paw it down to turn lights on and off
  • help me with the laundry: pick clothes up from the floor and put them in the basket; help me move the basket from the bedroom to the laundry room; move clothes from basket into my hand so I can put them in the washer; remove clothes from the washer into my hand so I can put them in the dryer; remove clothes from the dryer into the basket; help me move the basket from the laundry area back to the bedroom; "hand" me the clothes from the basket so I can fold or hang them and put them away.
  • press a button on a K9 Ablephone to call 911 for help if I should fall or collapse
  • carry her food dish to the kitchen after eating; get her food dish out of the dishwasher in the mornings
  • "brace" to let me rest my hand on her shoulders so I can get up out of a chair more easily
These are just the more "spectacular" things she does for me.

A service dog may be trained by the partner, by a trainer, or by a service dog organization. I'm not a trainer, so I obtained Emmy through PAALS (Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services) in Columbia SC. They are fabulous, and Emmy was trained to a fare-thee-well when I received her. I had to attend a training camp for 2 weeks to learn to work with her. I can't emphasize the importance of those 2 weeks! They prepared me to work with her, and to teach her new tasks. For instance, I've taught her to trot on our treadmill for her exercise, as I cannot walk her (and neither can my husband, due to heat and his cardiac problems). I've also taught her to remove my shoes and socks and my slacks, to pull a jacket sleeve off my arm, and to hold the waistband of my slacks to help me get dressed.

Frankly, I can't function without her anymore! Don't know what I did before I got her.

There are also guide dogs for the blind, hearing alert dogs for the deaf, diabetes alert dogs to detect low or high blood sugar (or both), seizure alert dogs that can detect impending seizures and alert the partner to lie on the floor, and autism dogs that can calm and help focus an autistic person.

In the facility animal category, there are dogs that work in hospitals, nursing homes and physical or occupational therapy facilities. These dogs (and a few cats) help with the therapy people are going through. They may play fetch, thereby encouraging a person with limited range of motion to move his arms more - just one example. Facility animals do not have the legal status to go to restaurants and offices, etc, that a pure service dog does.

There are therapy dogs that help calm patients with deep-seated psychological issues such as PTSD, agoraphobia, claustrophobia, etc. These dogs are in limbo at the moment in terms of their legal status. They are not considered a "service" animal, and therefore legally cannot accompany their partner out in public in restaurants, go to offices, etc.

We service dog partners have our own support organization - IAADP (International Association of Assistance Dog Partners). The training organizations have their own professional organization - ADI (Assistance Dogs International). These two organizations work closely together. IAADP recently settled several lawsuits with Walmart regarding their poor performance in permitting service dogs in their stores. They each have interesting and informational websites. There is a third organization - the Delta Society. It, too, supports service dog partners and service dog organizations in the information and access arena.

If there are specific questions I can help you with, I'll be glad to try to answer them - or research the answers if I don't know.

The pictures are:
  • Emmy helping with the laundry. She's just taken an item out of the washer and is waiting for me to take it from her.
  • Emmy waiting for me to take my cane after she retrieved it for me
Attached Thumbnails
how does a dog become a service dog?-laundry04.jpg   how does a dog become a service dog?-withcane03.jpg  

Last edited by leorah; 06-05-2009 at 07:55 PM.. Reason: No advertising
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:56 AM
 
Location: California
9,735 posts, read 23,668,058 times
Reputation: 21449
Quote:
Originally Posted by turtlemom View Post
I have a service dog, and have had to make myself somewhat of an expert. I have a couple of blogs about service dogs myself, and there are several others "out there" by people who have service dogs. Moderator cut: no advertising

My Emmy is a mobility service dog. I am disabled by rheumatoid arthritis and by fibromyalgia. I have spinal degenerative disk disease that make bending over impossible for me. I walk with a cane or walker, and sometimes need a wheelchair. Emmy is a small black Labrador Retriever (about 54#). She is my dear girl - we are "joined at the hip," as it were.

Some of the things Emmy does for me include:
  • retrieve my cane when I drop it (several times a day)
  • pick up other dropped items - such as my cellphone, a pill bottle, my keys, etc
  • nudge the wall switch on and paw it down to turn lights on and off
  • help me with the laundry: pick clothes up from the floor and put them in the basket; help me move the basket from the bedroom to the laundry room; move clothes from basket into my hand so I can put them in the washer; remove clothes from the washer into my hand so I can put them in the dryer; remove clothes from the dryer into the basket; help me move the basket from the laundry area back to the bedroom; "hand" me the clothes from the basket so I can fold or hang them and put them away.
  • press a button on a K9 Ablephone to call 911 for help if I should fall or collapse
  • carry her food dish to the kitchen after eating; get her food dish out of the dishwasher in the mornings
  • "brace" to let me rest my hand on her shoulders so I can get up out of a chair more easily
These are just the more "spectacular" things she does for me.

A service dog may be trained by the partner, by a trainer, or by a service dog organization. I'm not a trainer, so I obtained Emmy through PAALS (Palmetto Animal Assisted Life Services) in Columbia SC. They are fabulous, and Emmy was trained to a fare-thee-well when I received her. I had to attend a training camp for 2 weeks to learn to work with her. I can't emphasize the importance of those 2 weeks! They prepared me to work with her, and to teach her new tasks. For instance, I've taught her to trot on our treadmill for her exercise, as I cannot walk her (and neither can my husband, due to heat and his cardiac problems). I've also taught her to remove my shoes and socks and my slacks, to pull a jacket sleeve off my arm, and to hold the waistband of my slacks to help me get dressed.

Frankly, I can't function without her anymore! Don't know what I did before I got her.

There are also guide dogs for the blind, hearing alert dogs for the deaf, diabetes alert dogs to detect low or high blood sugar (or both), seizure alert dogs that can detect impending seizures and alert the partner to lie on the floor, and autism dogs that can calm and help focus an autistic person.

In the facility animal category, there are dogs that work in hospitals, nursing homes and physical or occupational therapy facilities. These dogs (and a few cats) help with the therapy people are going through. They may play fetch, thereby encouraging a person with limited range of motion to move his arms more - just one example. Facility animals do not have the legal status to go to restaurants and offices, etc, that a pure service dog does.

There are therapy dogs that help calm patients with deep-seated psychological issues such as PTSD, agoraphobia, claustrophobia, etc. These dogs are in limbo at the moment in terms of their legal status. They are not considered a "service" animal, and therefore legally cannot accompany their partner out in public in restaurants, go to offices, etc.

We service dog partners have our own support organization - IAADP (International Association of Assistance Dog Partners). The training organizations have their own professional organization - ADI (Assistance Dogs International). These two organizations work closely together. IAADP recently settled several lawsuits with Walmart regarding their poor performance in permitting service dogs in their stores. They each have interesting and informational websites. There is a third organization - the Delta Society. It, too, supports service dog partners and service dog organizations in the information and access arena.

If there are specific questions I can help you with, I'll be glad to try to answer them - or research the answers if I don't know.

The pictures are:
  • Emmy helping with the laundry. She's just taken an item out of the washer and is waiting for me to take it from her.
  • Emmy waiting for me to take my cane after she retrieved it for me
What an informative post! Bless both you and your Emmy!

Last edited by leorah; 06-05-2009 at 07:57 PM..
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:35 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
16,264 posts, read 29,836,920 times
Reputation: 12088
Wow! All the info anyone would need to know. Emmy is a gem.
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Old 06-06-2009, 04:57 AM
 
Location: Stuck in NE GA right now
4,549 posts, read 6,020,471 times
Reputation: 6355
There are also other service dogs such as dogs who visit hospitals and nursing homes, reading dogs. Dogs who go to disaster sites to comfort the workers and survivors.

I have a friend who has an Afgan Hound that she takes to the local library several times a month for kids to read to... these kids are struggling with reading and reading to a dog is great because they don't care if you aren't doing it quite right.

I plan on my young puppy to not only be a competition obedience/rally dog but also a therapy dog so I'm training for both. There are plenty of oppportunities to work with your dog in volunteer situations

Here is some links to several therapy groups.

Delta Society - Our Vision, Mission & Goals

Therapy Dogs
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Old 06-08-2009, 05:05 AM
 
256 posts, read 263,758 times
Reputation: 408
By the ADA definition, however, therapy dogs are not considered "service dogs." They don't have prescribed tasks to do for one person - their partner. This is NOT to denigrate the work these dogs do - they are very talented, very sweet and very giving. But they are not legally permitted in restaurants, offices, on busses and in taxis, and if refused entry there is no legal recourse.

Dogs that help children with confidence are not true service dogs. Again, they are very talented, very sweet and very giving. They are very gentle with the children, BUT they do not have prescribed tasks to do for one person, and if refused entry to a building, an eatery, or transportation, there is no legal recourse.

Read the definition of a service dog on the ADI or IAADP or ADA websites.

As you will see from these links, a service dog is trained to assist an INDIVIDUAL, and even emotional assistance dogs are excluded from the legal definition of a service dog.

Legally, there is no requirement for a service dog to be trained by an organization, so an individual may train his own service dog. But the requirements for behavior will probably be in the new ADA regulations, and should be addressed carefully. First, the dog must meet standards for obedience - getting the Canine Good Citizen Award is basic. Second, the dog should be able to pass the ADI Public Access Test.

All these requirements are intended to ensure the service dog is a good representatie of the service dog community, is safe and calm in public, and will not behave aggressively toward others - no barking, snapping, or growling permitted!

It is hard work, and it is hard work to maintain the training on a day-to-day basis. But is it sooo rewarding! The picture is of my Emmy holding my cane which she has retrieved for me after I dropped it. This is a critical task for her and for me, as I can fall easily trying to walk or bend over without my cane.
Attached Thumbnails
how does a dog become a service dog?-withcane03a.jpg  

Last edited by turtlemom; 06-08-2009 at 05:07 AM.. Reason: photo didn't attach
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