Have you ever wondered what a service dog can do for your special needs child or adult? Service dogs are a great resource and strategy to help anyone who is struggling with a special need. It is true dogs can be a person’s best friend. What if you could have a best friend and a helper at the same time.
A service dog is defined as a dog who is properly trained to preform a task. Some examples are:
- Pick up objects (keys, remote, paper)
- Turn on/off lights
- Sense a seizure
- Compression provides calming during a meltdown
- Calm you down when you are feeling uneasy
- Block people from getting in your space while in public
- Sense a drop/increase in insulin levels
My husband Tim’s service dog, Faith, was trained to block people from getting in his space while in public. She also can detect when he feels stressed out and comforts him. She is such a sweet dog. She has been Tim’s partner in crime for 3 years now. Faith goes everywhere with my husband. She is very intelligent. She knows when she has her vest on that she is working. She knows there is no funny business at work. When her vest is off though, she is a normal dog. She loves to hike, fish, and play in the snow.
It is very important for a service dog to properly trained by a Service Dog Trainer. A Service Dog Trainer will teach the dog to do one or more specific tasks. It is also important to find a creditable Service Dog Trainer because there are a lot of people out there that will try and rip you off. We found that out early on in our service dog journey. We were looking for a Service Dog Trainer and found one in the town we live. We found out though that she was a fraud. She was going to charge us $6500 to train Faith. Through different sources, we learned her dogs are not trained well. We also found out, yes $6500 was cheap for a service dog, however she was using another organization to train the dog and pocketing all $6500.
There are also a lot of people who will try and pass an emotional support dog off as a service dog. There are many differences between these groups of dogs.
Service Dogs Emotional Support Dogs
- Trained by a legitimate Service Dog Trainer 1. Requires no trainer
- Trained for preform specific tasks for owner 2. Can preform emotional support for anyone
- Can legally go into stores, restaurants, fly, etc. 3. Can NOT legally go into stores, restaurants, fly, etc.
- IS supported by the ADA Laws 4. IS NOT supported by the ADA Laws
Service Dogs are wonderful strategies to help someone who has a disability. They are truly amazing. My recommendation is if you are looking at getting a service dog, is to look for a non-profit organization who are reputable. Ask for references, ask if they are a non-profit.
Next article will feature Service Dog Trainer, David Riggs founder of K9Care Montana. He has truly been a blessing to our family. He spent a year and a half training Faith. He will help us decipher the difference between service dogs and emotional support dogs. He has invaluable knowledge he will share with us in my next post.
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