Did you know that the term service dog is applicable to a variety of canines that serve as assistance dogs, therapy dogs and more!? Over the coming weeks we will be feature a different type of dog that provides a service to the human in their life. Below is a list of the various types of service dogs.
Therapy dog’s are usually volunteers who are brought to hospitals or nursing homes with their handlers (owners) to bring joy and comfort to people in need. There are no specific breeds for this type of work as long as the dog’s temperament is good they are able to volunteer. Therapy dogs are said to be used as far back as World War II. The enjoyment that they bring to people often aid with taking their minds away from their current situation/illness even if it is just for a few hours.
Assistance dogs fall into three subcategories:
Guide Dog – provide assistance to the legally blind or visually impaired
Hearing Dog- provide assistance to deaf or those hard of hearing
Assistance Dog – help those who use either crutches or wheelchairs to reach various items, press crosswalk buttons etc.
Guide & hearing dogs go through training through various organizations from the time they are puppies. The most common breeds used are Golden Retrievers, Labradors and German Shepherds. These dogs are allowed in a number of places that regular dogs are not. They also sometimes wear special vests or gear to show that they are working.
Search & Rescue Dog
Often referred to as an SAR dog they are used in situations where there is a missing person, natural disasters or during a crisis where there are a large number of casualties. There are a variety of types of classifications of SAR dog’s.
Airscenting: These dogs find people via airborne scents that are given off by humans
Tracking: Nose on the ground and looking for marks and changes in footprints
Trailing: These dogs will trail a specific scent and follow it where their nose made lead.
SAR dogs are usually German Shepherds, Border Collies, Belgian Shepherds, Bloodhounds and Dobermans. They can track and find people after natural disasters such as an earthquake, an avalanche or other natural disaster. They are usually sent out to look for both survivors as well as bodies.