Guide To Service Dogs

What are service dogs?

Service dogs are dogs that are specifically trained to help those individuals who have disabilities. Service dogs perform and assist certain tasks and functions that the individual with the disability cannot perform for themselves. Many dogs commonly assist those who are visually or hearing impaired. There are also dogs trained to assist those who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Autism, mental illnesses, seizures, other medical health conditions, and more.

Hearing Dogs

Hearing dogs, also known as “signal dogs”, assist those individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Hearing dogs alert their owners/handlers by alerting them to certain sounds like smoke alarms, the doorbell, ringing phones, and alarm clocks. Hearing dogs may also alert their owner outside of the home as well. Such sounds that a hearing dog may alert their owner of are horns, sirens, the owner’s name, and other noises. Dogs that become hearing dogs go through specific screenings and training so they can be the best they can be.

  • NEADS – An overview of hearing dogs with a video showing an example of a hearing dog in action.
  • Dogs for the Deaf – Dogs for the Deaf is an organization that rescues and professionally trains dogs to assist those with hearing loss and deafness.
  • Hearing Dogs at Work – Explanation of hearing dogs at work and how the sounds and noises are specific to the owner’s occupation.
  • Service Dog Central – Explanation on hearing dogs along with a little history.
  • Hearing Dogs – e-Michigan Deaf and Hard of Hearing discussing hearing dogs.
  • Savvy Canines of Arizona – This page discusses the type of assistance provided by hearing dogs and a short video clip of a hearing dog signaling its handler.

Guide Dogs

Guide dogs, also known as seeing-eye dogs, are dogs that are specifically trained to assist the visually impaired and blind. Since guide dogs are partly red-green color blind, they cannot read street signs. Guide dogs mostly help individuals around various physical obstacles, directing individuals in daily life. They make sure their handler gets from place to place safely.

Medical Response Dogs

Medical response dogs are dogs trained to specifically assist those who have a medical disability. These conditions are primarily but not limited to, psychiatric based conditions, epilepsy, diabetes, and seizures. Medical response dogs are trained to not only detect certain symptoms and alert their handlers, but they are also trained to bring medications or even a phone when in need. Training the perfect medical response dog has no restrictions on breed. As long as the dog is properly socialized, has a work loving personality, any dog can become a medical response dog.

  • Please Don’t Pet Me – A great overview on medical response dogs.
  • Epilepsy Foundation – Epilepsy Foundation’s questions and answers on seizure assistance dogs.
  • International Association of Assistance Dog Partners – A very informative page on the tasks that a psychiatric service dog performs for those who suffer from depression, PTSD, and depression.
  • Mental Health Dogs – Mental Health Support Dog’s page on psychiatric service dogs. This page provides explanation and a list of tasks that these dogs can be trained to do.
  • PTSD Dogs – Canines 4 Hope’s page on PTSD service dogs. This page has a great overview of what PTSD is and what PTSD service dogs are trained to do, and what they can do.

Additional Information