Assistance dogs are not common house pets; they participate in specialized training programs and work hard to help the elderly, as well as people who are blind, deaf or physically disabled. They provide independence and security throughout their lifetime or until they retire. The perfect assistance dog does not necessarily depend on the breed, but rather on the temperament and size. Most assistance dogs are mixed breeds rescued from animal shelters or puppies raised and trained by volunteers and belong to organizations formed to help the elderly and the disabled. Specially selected prison inmates trained to raise assistance dogs have shown to be a valuable resource to service dog organizations. This situation also helps the inmates improve their socialization skills and behavior because of interacting with the dogs. In order to receive a service dog from one of the many organizations, you need to complete an application and undergo an evaluation. Most people end up on a waiting list while they find or train a suitable dog. Some service dogs are available at no charge, while some are quite expensive. Financial assistance is available depending on the rules of the group that provides the dog. Your medical condition and medical insurance coverage is also an important factor.
Once they find your dog, it takes between a few weeks and several months to teach you how to use the specific commands. The dog will need additional training geared to your specific needs and possibly yearly refresher training. There are three basic types of assistance dogs: service dogs, hearing dogs and guide dogs. Approximately 20,000 people in the United States use assistance dogs. Presently, more than 60 nonprofit programs train and place assistance dogs in America. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 guarantees people with disabilities the right to have a service animal accompany them in any area open to the public.
Service dogs pull wheelchairs, open and close doors, retrieve dropped or out-of-read items, alert a person of an upcoming seizure, turn light switches off and on, bark to alert, find another person and provide balance and stability and many other individual tasks, depending on your needs. Golden and Labrador Retrievers make good service dogs because although they are strong, they have a gentle nature. Either a backpack or a harness usually identifies service dogs. Hearing dogs alert a deaf or hearing-impaired person to sounds such as telephones, alarm clocks, oven buzzers, smoke alarms, doorbells and a crying child or baby. The also let the hearing-impaired person know when someone is calling their name. Training is more involved nowadays due to the increase in traffic and quieter car engines. Hearing dogs wear an orange collar, leash and vest. emotional support animals Utah
Guide dogs help blind or visually impaired people navigate safely along busy streets, on public transportation and through stores and other places of business. They help a person avoid obstacles and stop at curbs and steps. The blind or visually impaired person uses a u-shaped handle to enhance communication with their guide dog. The blind or visually impaired person’s job is to give directional commands, which the dog may or may not obey depending on the situation. If an unsafe command is given, the dog will choose to disobey the command in order to insure the person’s safety. In this case, the dog must have good judgment and be an independent thinker. Service animals undergo intensive training so they will behave appropriately in public areas. Assistance dogs not only allow the elderly and the disabled to live a secure and independent life, they provide companionship and love.