Fido to the Rescue: What Does it Take to Become a Service Dog?
Dog lovers everywhere know how wonderful it can be to share life with a canine companion; the bond we share with dogs is truly unique, and their ability to detect and respond to our feelings and concerns is nothing short of incredible.
For the thousands of men, women, and children living with a physical or mental disability, the bond with a dog can actually be life changing. Service dogs offer their handlers the chance to live independently, move freely, and can even save lives.
What is a Service Dog?
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service dog is not a pet. A service dog is defined as one that has been “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.” Some of the ways in which a dog can be of service to a human handler include:
- Guide dog
- Hearing or signal dog
- Psychiatric service dog
- Mobility assistance dog
- Diabetic alert dog
- Seizure alert dog
- Severe allergy alert dog
In order for a service dog to be matched with a handler, they must undergo rigorous training in a variety of areas, depending on the needs of their future handler. This could be anything from learning to provide practical assistance to a person with limited mobility to being able to respond appropriately to someone who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.
A Better Breed?
Traditional breeds for service dogs have been labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and German shepherds, but nowadays, almost any type of dog can be trained as long as they meet the requirements.
Service dogs generally complete 1-2 years of intensive training and must meet the following criteria:
- Be at least 6 months old
- Be spayed or neutered
- Have the proper temperament (not aggressive, not too submissive, willingness to learn)
- Be able to learn and follow basic verbal/hand signal commands (e.g., sit, stay, down, come)
In the Public Eye
Besides temperament and training, a service dog must also display superior behavioral and social skills in a public setting. This includes:
- No aggressive or protective behavior against other people or animals (snapping, lunging, mounting, barking, etc.)
- No solicitation of affection or food from passersby
- No sniffing of merchandise, structures, or other people (unless released to do so)
- No urinating or defecating in public unless given the command to do so in an appropriate location
The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center value each and every canine patient. If you have any questions about your dog or would like to learn more about service dog requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We accept walk-ins during our Doctor's Hours to meet your busy lifestyle. If you’d prefer to make an appointment, we offer those too!
News & Events
New Dog or Puppy? Time For Training!
Training is an important part of any dog's life! From providing mental stimulation to exercise and proper socialization, training will help in the development of a great canine companion! We are now enrolling for Basic Obedience Classes! Give us a call at 630.530.1900 to register your pet or email: email@example.com with any specific questions you may have!
The 4th Annual Mystic Market!
Join us at the 4th Annual Mystic Market: A Mystical and Magical Fundraiser with Powerful Featured Readers and Amazing Handcrafted Items for Sale! The event takes place Saturday, October 20th from 11AM - 4:30PM. Meet featured celebrity psychic reader, Theo Kostaridis! The event will host a bake sale with delicous homemade treats as well as Fall Pet Photos for $10 from 11AM - 3PM. Dress your pet in costume for the Pet Costume Contest at 12:30PM! Proceeds from the event benefit Magnificent Mutts & Meows Rescue & Sacred Space Animal Sanctuary and Rescue.
Keep Your Pet Healthy All Year Round!
We offer plans for puppies, kittens, adult dogs & cats. With affordable monthly payments and our convenient hours, it's the best value in helping your pet live a longer & healthier life! Call us at 630.530.1900 for details!