For many people, their dog is their best friend and companion. An Assistance Dog is that and so much more for their owner. There are a wide variety of Assistance Dogs around the world. Check out these 8 different types of Assistance Dogs, some you may have never heard of!
1. Guide Dogs
Guide dogs are one of the most commonly-known assistance dogs. They assist blind and low-vision people around obstacles. Common guide dog breeds are Labradors and Golden Retrievers, however Labradoodles are also used, usually when the owner has allergies. Guide dogs wear a special harness with a handle for their owner to hold.
2. Hearing Dogs
Hearing dogs are assistance dogs for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. They assist their owners by alerting them to important sounds such as smoke alarms, door bells and oven timers. When the dog hears the sound, they'll paw their owner and lead them towards the noise. Hearing dogs increase awareness and independence for their owners.
3. Diabetic Alert Dogs
A Diabetic Alert Dog will alert its owner to potentially deadly blood sugar highs and lows. Their superior sense of smell allows a highly-trained Diabetic Alert Dog to know when its owner is experiencing a hyperglycemic episode when blood sugar is too high, or a hypoglycemic episode when blood sugar is too low.
4. Mobility Assistance Dogs
Mobility Assistance Dogs can perform a wide range of tasks for their owners. These assistance dogs can help people with many different mobility issues including spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, muscular dystrophy, and arthritis. They’re able to open doors, retrieve items and even help their owner pay at a cash register by putting their paws up on the counter and giving their owner’s wallet to the cashier.
5. Seizure Response Dogs
Seizure Response Dogs are trained to assist a person during and immediately after they have had an epileptic seizure. These dogs' tasks can range from finding someone to help their owner, stimulating their owner to help them "wake up" from a seizure, and physically moving their owner if they have a seizure in an unsafe place, such as the middle of the street.
6. Autism Support Dogs
Autism Support Dogs provide assistance and emotional support to children with autism. These dogs can be a big boost in confidence for children and help them connect with their classmates by acting as an icebreaker. An Autism Support Dog can also keep a child from running away, and they can often track them if they do run off.
7. Allergy Detection Dogs
Allergy Detection Dogs are trained to pick up on scents that could be harmful to their owner. The dog will then alert their owner about the danger so they can avoid it.
8. Psychiatric Service Dogs
Psychiatric Service Dogs cover a wide category of assistance dogs. These dogs can assist people who are suffering from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These dogs can be trained to sense changes in their owner's body when they are about to have a panic attack, flash back, or an anxiety attack.