Service dogs are amazing animals that are highly trained to help and assist a disabled person. There are several different types of service dogs that are trained to do specific tasks or to alert their handler to certain warning behaviors. First let’s look at the different jobs service dogs perform:
GUIDE DOGS: These dogs are meant to be the eyes of their handler. They guide them through day to day movement and are responsible for getting their handler from one place to another free from harm.
PSYCHIATRIC SERVICE DOGS: The main job for this service dog is to break the cycles of trauma. They work with handlers that suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and other psychiatric disabilities. The service dogs’ duty is to monitor the handler, interrupt panic attacks, get medicine and get help.
MEDICAL ALERT DOGS: This is truly amazing! These service dogs are trained to notice the symptoms that their handler has leading up to a medical condition like seizures or blood sugar changes.
MOBILITY ASSISTANCE DOGS: These service dogs are used primarily for stability purposes when their handler is walking. These service dogs also retrieve dropped items and guide their handler in day to day activities.
All of the jobs that service dogs are trained to do are serious. These dogs hold the life of their handlers in their paws and cannot afford to be distracted by other humans.
We know dogs are cute and cuddly and we want to interact with them, but when it comes to service dogs you simply can’t. Service dogs should not be distracted in any way; this includes petting the dog, talking to the dog, saying the dogs’ name (generally embroidered on a service dog’s vest), making any eye contact or motions that deliberately take the dog’s attention away from their handler. Point blank: a service dog will do their job better if you pretend they are not there. Respect the job these animals are doing to keep their handler safe. It is our duty as pet lovers to recognize that these dogs serve a purpose, and that purpose is not to entertain a bystander. Spread the word and raise awareness about service dogs. #internationalassistancedogweek