Service dogs are trained to offer companionship, comfort, affection, and physical support to people in need. These animals dedicate their lives to supporting and accompanying people with disabilities or with a physical or mental condition.
These dogs offer two types of service:
- Therapy dogs. They are dogs who volunteer with their owners to improve the lives of other people by visiting schools, hospitals and nursing homes.
- Assistance dogs. They live completely with the end user or the person who requires it.
What is a service dog like?
All the skills learned by service dogs allow them to become essential and necessary companions for those who adopt them as service dogs.
Each assistance dog is trained to perform specific tasks. These depend on each person. For example, a person with limited mobility may benefit from a dog capable of opening drawers, pointing at objects with his nose, carrying things, and turning lights on and off.
There are various types of assistance dogs, including the following:
- Guide dogs: They support people with visual disabilities.
- Signal dogs: Support people with hearing disabilities.
- Service dogs: They support people with autism.
- Medical alert dogs: Trained to support, in case of emergency, people who have a medical condition.
- Rehabilitation dogs: They provide accompaniment and support to people with disabilities or to people who are undergoing medical treatment.
Training a dog can last between six months to two years, depending on the degree of specialization required by the end user.