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Bow WOW! Did You Know There Are 8 Different Types of Service Dogs?

Updated: Feb 17

Lia Stoll is a disability writer with a focus in create content voicing Accessibility and Inclusion and is the Co-founder Lara Guide Dogs

According to ShareAmerica, the U.S. Department of State’s platform for sharing compelling stories, there are 500,000 service dogs in the US alone.

With this in mind, rental accommodations have a unique opportunity to do business. So let’s briefly cover the 8 types of assistance dogs recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the European Equality Act 2010.

#1: Guide Dogs

You can recognize a guide dog by the special harnesses with a bar at the end for their owner to hold on to. Some of the extraordinary abilities of a guide dog are helping their blind or visually impaired person to:

  • Navigate crowds and crossings

  • Guide around obstacles

  • Locate stairs, doors and public transport, and seats

Their most unique trait is “selective disobedience”—the ability to make choices based on their own assessment of a situation.

#2: Mobility Assistance Dogs

Mobility assistance dogs support adults and children with arthritis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and spinal cord injuries to carry out daily tasks.

These tasks include:

  • Help with dressing

  • Opening and closing doors

  • Turning lights on and off

  • Retrieving objects

  • Helping with balance and stability

  • Carrying items in a backpack

  • Pulling a wheelchair

  • Barking the alert command for “Help”

  • Pushing accessible door buttons

#3: Hearing Dogs

Hearing dogs help deaf and deafblind people stay by making physical contact with their person leading them to the source of the sound or away from it.

Some of the important sounds alert sounds are:

  • Doorbells

  • Knocks on the door

  • Fire alarms, alarm clocks

  • Baby's cries

#4: Autism Support Dogs

Autism support dogs help autistic children and their families with their journey to school, shopping trips, and doctor visits. They also protect children from dangerous situations, like navigating crossings and traffic. Specific tasks include:

  • Navigating social settings

  • Navigating crossings and traffic

  • Managing autistic children when they wander

  • Providing companionship to autistic children who have a hard time connecting with other humans.

#5: Seizure Alert / Assistance Dogs

Seizure-alert dogs recognize subtle signs of oncoming seizures. They alert for help and position themselves in a way that protects the person during the seizure.

Their tasks include:

  • Placing their body between their person and the floor to break a fall

  • Lying next to the person having the seizure preventing injury

  • Providing support and comfort during a seizure

  • Alerting a designated person of an oncoming seizure by activating a device

#6: Diabetic / Hypo-Alert Dogs

Diabetic alert dogs are trained to alert diabetic adults and children when their blood sugar levels have spiked too high or dropped too low to avoid reaching dangerous levels.

They do this by:

  • Alerting (nudging, poking) Pressing a button to call 911 or a relative

  • Retrieving diabetes test kits or medications

  • Providing support while walking and/or helping their person stand after sitting or after a fall

  • Carrying objects

  • Opening/closing doors, cabinets, or drawers

#7: Allergy Detection Dogs

Allergy detection dogs are trained to smell allergy triggers like peanuts or gluten in their person’s home but also in public places, such as shops, schools, and trains. They indicate to their person the source of the trigger and often are trained to respond in case of an anaphylactic shock.

#8: Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs are trained alongside their owner and together they visit regularly in various institutions, such as:

  • Schools

  • Retirement homes

  • Hospitals

  • Psychiatric hospitals

The Journey From Pup To Pro

At 8 weeks puppies are tested and chosen for their health and temperament and placed with devoted volunteer puppy raisers.

With the help of expert trainers, the puppies learn basic skills helping them grow into confident, well-socialized dogs.

After 12-18 months the young dogs begin their advanced training learning the different skills needed to help their future human partner with everyday life. The training for each dog is carefully tailored to their personality, learning style, and the type of person that they will be matched with. Our hero dogs work with their clients for 8–10 years before they retire in their happy, loving homes.

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