Service animals, like these, help their human partners navigate day-to-day activities and can greatly enhance their quality of life. They also give the phrase working like a dog a whole new meaning!
Leading the Blind
Guide dogs were first trained in Germany to help veterans who lost their sight in World War I. Today, there are many breeds of dogs who help lead the blind, including Golden Retrievers, Labradors, and German Shepherds. But not all guide animals are dogs. In 1999, miniature horses also started to be trained for this task.
A lot of hearing dogs are mixed breed rescue pets. They’re trained to alert the deaf or hearing impaired to sounds like smoke alarms, doorbells, phones, and their names. These dogs are trained to make physical contact with their deaf partners and take them to the source of the sound.
At Your Service
Some service dogs are trained to help individuals with mobility or balance issues. These dogs can help by providing their pet parents with added stability, pushing wheelchairs, turning lights on and off, picking objects up off of the floor and other essential daily tasks.
Therapy animals, which can include dogs, cats, horses and other good-natured animals, can provide comfort, offer emotional support, and even promote learning for children with autism or disabilities. There are also seizure alert dogs and cats who can detect oncoming seizures and seek out assistance.
Service animals require specialized and sometimes intensive training to do their jobs. While your typical household pet doesn’t need quite this much education, he or she should understand basic commands and etiquette. These pet training tips can help you train your pet.
Keep in mind, even the best-behaved pets can get into mischief. Is your pet covered?