15 Great Ways a Service Dog Can Help You
Ways a service dog can help their handler? Service dogs are trained to help people with a variety of disabilities, including psychiatric disorders and autism. There is no limit to the tasks that service dogs can do for their handlers. In this blog post, we will list 15 ways service dogs have helped improve someone’s life.
First of all, to be considered a service dog, they have to be tied to a person in a way that will help them with a specific physical, emotional or mental disability. That usually involves a lot of training.
Tasks a Service Dog Can Do
They are to be in your control at all times, and within 6 feet of you – leashed or with a handgrip on their harness. They sit under your table, or chair at restaurants and stay by your side at the store.
Then, they have to pass a public access test – that means these 7 standard tasks:
- No aggressive behavior towards people and other animals.
- Cease sniffing behaviors unless released to do so.
- No solicitations for food or affection while on duty.
- No over-excitement and hyperactivity in public.
- Able to tolerate novel sights and sounds in various public settings.
- No unruly behavior or excessive barking.
- No relieving themselves in public without being given a specific command.
If they have done all of that, you may see them doing one of these 15 jobs:
1) A Guide for the blind or visually impaired.
They usually have a hard harness attached to their service vest for a grip. They keep a person traveling in unfamiliar places safe and calm, leading them to their destination, even when they’re not sure what the way is or where it starts.
They are trained to stop at street corners and even stop their handler when there is a car too close to them. That is probably the most commonly known Ways a service dog can help their handler.
2) Hearing ear dog (alerting to sounds)
The hearing ear dog is trained to either alert the owner of a sound or provide calming while in public spaces by providing physical contact. They are also specifically trained in American Sign Language and other hand signals so they can communicate even when verbal communication might not be possible.
This service dog protects them from sounds that may cause anxiety attacks (loud noises, gunshots) and can help distract them from triggers.
The hearing ear dog is trained to alert the person before a noise occurs (particularly loud noises), or even if they become separated so that the owner doesn’t have to guess when it should occur again.
3) There are Medical alert service dogs
They alert their human partner of an oncoming epileptic seizure, low blood sugar, etc. Tazuna does that for me – she keyed into me neurologically around 6 months of age.
4) Stability Dogs.
These dogs are larger and provide balance and stability to people with Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, arthritis, or other conditions affecting their mobility. This was one of the Ways a service dog can help that surprised me.
5) Epilepsy Dogs
Did you know I have an Etsy Store coming for Aussies and Service Dog fun things?
These pooches help those who suffer from seizures by providing an early warning system that tells handlers when a seizure is about to happen so they can take precautions ahead of time.
This could be moving to a more secure place, a quieter place, a safer place to have that seizure.
6) Severe Allergy Alert Dogs
These dogs can detect allergens to protect people who suffer from severe allergies. That comes in particularly helpful with food allergies. I know I would have been saved a huge bill if I had a service dog that could sniff out Bell Peppers for me!
7) Service Dog Tasks for Autism
Dogs are a great outlet for children with autism because they offer unconditional love, companionship, and encouragement in areas where the child might otherwise be overwhelmed or frustrated. These animals can help kids who struggle with social interactions by providing them company and calming their anxiety about new settings.
They also serve as an important reminder for kids with autism to remain focused on what they’re doing. Dogs can be trained not just to provide these benefits, but also to keep children from running away or getting lost by providing a physical anchor and preventing them from wandering off.
If you have an Autistic child, this could be world-changing Ways a Service Dog Can Help.
8) Service Dog Tasks for People with Psychiatric Disabilities
Some service dogs are trained to help people who suffer from a psychiatric disability such as PTSD or Schizophrenia. These dogs can be used to calm them in times of crisis, provide reminders about their medications and appointments, and even remind the person when they need to take deep breaths.
Some people get this one confused with Emotional Support Animals. These service dogs are not trained to provide emotional support, but rather psychiatric tasks.
What else can service dogs do for people?
9) Pull wheelchairs
This is a good one for people who can’t push a wheelchair by themself. The service dog can use his/ her strength to pull the wheelchair for a long distance.
This is also good for people who are too short and would have trouble reaching the ground with one foot in order to push it themselves, or if they don’t want to exert as much effort by pushing it themselves.
It’s even better if you’re on an incline and the dog can pull you up!
10) Mobility Challenged People
These service dogs will retrieve dropped objects for people who use walkers or have such bad arthritis or fibromyalgia that the simple act of bending over is difficult for them.
A service dog can go ahead of the person who is blind to warn them about any danger they may not be able to see. They also offer great protection if someone tries to attack a disabled person when he or she has his back turned.
12) Housework Assistance
Service dogs are excellent at helping people with disabilities do part of their daily chores. I have a friend whose dog actually gets the clothes out of the dryer for her.
What is PTSD? PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people get after they have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.
Service dogs are often trained to recognize when someone is feeling a panic attack coming on and will use their body as support or, if they’re large enough, do the grounding technique. They can also be taught to come up with other calming strategies for people who suffer from anxiety disorders.
This is becoming more prevalent as we have more soldiers returning home from war or victims of serious crimes.
Service dogs can be taught to assist people in situations where they might not have their voice. The most common way is through a handler who uses an American Sign Language-trained service dog, but there are other ways as well such as the use of devices or pointing at objects and writing down words with the mouth. This type of assistance is often used by people who are deaf or have a speech impediment.
15) Assistance Dogs for Kids with Special Needs
I already mentioned the Autism Spectrum, but children with conditions like Down Syndrome, and cerebral palsy may benefit from having their own service dog. The dogs can be trained to assist children in tasks such as opening doors, picking up items that fall on the floor, turn off lights, and opening cabinets.
That is just 15 different things these amazing canines can be trained to do. If you need more ideas, check out the full list of psychiatric service dog tasks.
Check out these other great tips for dogs:
- Dogs and Mailmen – Why All the Hate?
- 5 Summer Hazards – Keep Your Dog Safe from Injury This Season
- Travel With Your Dog: How to Take Your Pup on Summer Vacation
- The Ultimate Guide to the Best Emotional Support Dogs
- Migraine Alert Dog: Everything You Need to Know