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What Really Are Service Animals?

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Have you ever seen someone walking down the street with a service dog? Do you really know what they are? Well, service animals are commonly used for reducing stress and helping people with disabilities, they provide a sense of help and are there for you when needed.

To become a service animal, there is a training required. There are three basic areas for training: manners, obedience, and task training. It usually takes 18-24 months. These trainings play a role in the animals life on based on how it overall acts. Training manners tell the owner an alert of just leading them places. This is the beginning of the training where the dog and owner are working together. The service animal might pull a wheelchair, fetch items, alert its owner to a sound, assist a blind person, help someone during a seizure, provide balance, or remind the owner to take medication.

To know how to tell if they are a service animal is that some, but not all, wear special collars or vest of some sort, usually stating “please do not pet me I’m at work”. But if you are really unsure, you can ask the individual who has the pet if it is a service animal required because of the disability. But it does depend on the breed, service dog breeds range from small to large in size. There size varieties help them perform task, like for example, a chihuahua would not be suitable for pulling a wheelchair, but could make an excellent emotional support dog.

 

Image result for service dog

 

There are three types of service animals, but let’s first start with therapy animals. A therapy dog is a pet that has been trained, tested, and registered to accompany his or her owner to visit patients and residents of places like hospitals and nursing homes to cheer up the people living there. But they are legally a pet. Service dogs assist people with disabilities, other than those related to vision or hearing. This includes dogs trained to work with people who use wheelchairs, have balance issues, have autism, need seizure alert or response, need to be alerted to other medical issues like low blood sugar. Lastly is the emotional support dog, which also belongs to a person who is disabled that eases their anxiety or gives them a feeling of having a purpose in life. A therapy dog is a pet that has been trained, tested, registered, and insured to accompany his owner to visit patients and residents of facilities like hospitals and nursing homes to cheer up the people living there. A well-behaved pet can typically complete training in about 8 weeks.

The cost of a service animal depends on the location or the organization. Animals trained at organizations cost up to $25,000 dollars which includes two years of training plus food and vet care. Owner-trained service dogs can be just as expensive when you calculate the cost of professional training assistance and daily living expenses. It is highly recommended that the owner and dog work with a professional trainer for the life of the animal.

Because there are problems with the availability of service dogs many people have fake service dogs. Service animals are allowed in restaurants, stores, airplanes etc., some people obtain fake qualification of their dog as a service dog, just because they want their dogs with them. For a certain amount of money and minimal application standards, a dog owner can receive a vest and certificate for an untrained pet. The animals then end up misbehaving because they’re not trained, which gives service dogs a bad wrap. But because there is no certification or official certification, there is no way to verify whether a dog is a real service animal.

To become a service dog, there is a series of sessions. First is to test your dog’s personality, which is basically deciding which disability it would best be fit for. Next is find a trainer which allows time to train the dog to perform the task. Step three is the public access test, which trains the animal to behave in public. Step four is finding someone in need to help. All these sessions train the dog to keep on task and help the owner with a disability like a large Labrador would go with someone who needed a guide dog. According to Top Dog Professional Training   states “service animals should be able to keep a heel position to the handler, stay calm and not lunge at any other animals, and too always wait to be commanded”, which matters because it’s how the animal acts in public and in general.

Any kind of service animal helps people with their disabilities and helps to make them as happy as possible. So many of our animals, filled with love for their people, can provide assistance. In the end, service dogs have become a huge help in our society today and I’m very thankful for them. So next time you see a service dog, you will understand the qualities and how much hard work it took for them to get where they are now.

 

Works Cited:

https://www.ada.gov/archive/qasrvc.htm

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/advanced-training/service-dog-training-101/

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/19-states-cracking-fake-service-dogs

https://www.google.com/search?q=service+animal&rlz=1CAHPZS_enUS801&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjz7-GFjs_bAhWB_lQKHWPOBAMQ_AUICygC&biw=1366&bih=629&safe=active&ssui=on#imgrc=IK6qTESqW-eUrM:

https://www.google.com/search?q=what+to+do+when+you+get+a+service+dog&rlz=1CAHPZS_enUS801&oq=what+to+do+when+you+get+a+service+dog&aqs=chrome..69i57j0l5.12241j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&safe=active&ssui=on

https://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2017/08/22/service-dogs-play-an-important-role-whether-society-is-ready-for-them-or-not/

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