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Types of Service Dogs

Types of Service Dogs




  • Guide Dog, Seeing Eye Dog, Visual Assistance Dog – The job of this Service Animal would be to guide their visually impaired or blind handler who may or may not show signs of a visible disability.Guide Dogs are trained to assist with their handler’s daily activities and specific needs such as crossing streets, navigating around obstacles including low hanging signs, and even locating transit boarding locations. Visual Assistance Dogs are commonly called “Guide Dogs” or “Leader Dogs.” Most are Labs, Golden Retrievers or German Shepherds, but they can be any sturdy, even-tempered, medium or large breed dog.


  • Mobility Dog or Brace Support Dog - A Brace or Mobility Support Dog works to provide bracing or counterbalancing to a person who has balance issues due to a disability. Many of these mobility dogs also retrieve objects such as dropped items or a ringing phone. They will open/close doors or do other tasks to assist in day-to-day life or in an emergency situation. These Service Animals who assist people with mobile disabilities help them while walking by providing balance support, or help them to get from out of a chair or bed and even pull wheelchairs. Brace/Mobility dogs must be large enough to safely support their handler.


  • Hearing Alert Dog - This Service Dog will alert its handler with a hearing loss to sounds. A hearing dog will be specifically be trained to alert it's owner to specifically trained environmental sounds, including, but not limited to, alarms, doorbells, knocking, phones, cars or their name. The handler probably won’t show signs of disability and may or may not verbally speak. Hearing Dogs don’t require special gear, but many state laws designate bright orange as reserved for Hearing Dogs. Hearing Dogs can be trained to respond to any environmental sound or cue their handler needs to know about. Just because you can’t see what a Hearing Dog is responding to doesn’t mean he’s not working.


  • Seizure Alert Dog / Seizure Response Dog – A Seizure Alert Dog alerts it’s handler to oncoming seizures. This is something that a dong cannot be trained to do. Because of the dog’s close bond with its handler is something the dog learns to do naturally because they are so in tuned with their human partner. A Seizure Response Dog will be trained to respond to seizures and taught things such as "Get Help" or stay with the person until help arrives. A Seizure Alert Dog may look aggressive during a seizure because many are taught to bark excessively to alert their handler is in need of medical attention.


  • Medical Alert Dog/Medical Response Dog - These Service Dogs are trained to alert to oncoming medical conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, epilepsy, panic attack, anxiety attacks, life-threatening allergens that may be in the area, especially tree nuts, gluten or shellfish and even PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).


  • Diabetic Alert Dogs – These service dogs are trained to alert their handler to dangerous or potentially deadly blood sugar highs and lows. Many dogs are trained to call 911 on a special K-9 Alert Phone if their partner cannot be roused.


  • Autism Service Dog - These Service Dogs assist in calming and grounding an individual. They can assist in teaching life skills, maintaining boundaries, finding a “runner”, or keeping a child from running away. If a dog’s partner is young and non-verbal, the dog should carry emergency protocol and contact information in his service dog vest.


  • PTSD Service Dog / Psychiatric Service Dog - these service dogs are trained to assist their handler with a psychiatric disability such as anxiety, depression or PTSD which is common for post-war handlers, but are is not limited to only veterans. Abuse victims; and others suffering from PTSD find help and relief by the use of a PTSD service dog. These dogs can be trained to perform many tasks like creating a boundary around it’s handler in crowed areas, waking an individual from a trauma-related nightmare, fetching medication, turning on lights and giving emotional support. Psychiatric Service Dogs are protected under the same federal laws that protect other Service Dogs. They must be given the exact same treatment and access rights. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) and Therapy Dogs are NOT the same as Psychiatric Service Dogs and are not covered under the ADA, and do not have any public access whatsoever.


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