Why Have A Service Dog?

This is a page of reasons why we chose to have a service dog rather than a human carer and/or ridiculous amounts of medical equipment. It also provides some information on the life of a service dog.

TRAINING METHODS

– Service dog training is ALL positive reinforcement. No shock collars, no prong collars, no hitting. Only treats and pats and hugs.

DOG SAFETY

– It takes hours, days, weeks and years to train a dog to the standard of a service dog. Do you REALLY believe that a handler would put in that much time and effort only to mistreat the dog?

– These people rely so heavily on their service dog, do you REALLY think that they would do anything to harm their dog?

– People spend years on waiting lists for service dogs, they are expensive to get and require constant care. Getting a service dog is not for everyone and no one goes into this program on an impulse.

ORGANISATIONS

– Many service dogs are actually rescue dogs, or the handler’s former pet. Dogs that are trained and distributed through an organisation are trained to do very specific and difficult tasks. Guide dogs must be trained through an organisation as their handler will rely almost 100% on them, there is no room for error in the dog’s training. Also it would be difficult for a blind person to teach their dog when and when not to cross the street.

RESCUE OR BREEDERS

Why NOT rescue dogs?

The average age of a dog in a rescue shelter is 5 years old. Add 1 year for rehab and retraining. Then another 2 years for proper service dog training. Another 1 year to make sure that the new team is working well together. GUESS WHAT? The rescue dog is now retired before they have even started work. AND that’s if they are able to be rehabilitated. AND if they are still physically fit and healthy enough to work.

Many dogs placed in shelters are there because they have severe behavioural disorders. While many of these disorders are able to be trained out of them, they do have to go through all the basics of dog training as well as rehab.

RETIREMENT

– I have lived with my Person since I was a little baby and I will live with my Person for the rest of my life. When I retire I will help train other service dogs.

SOCIALIZATION

– I AM allowed to socialize with people while I’m working. But it depends on my Person’s particular condition that day. If she is really unwell then I just stay with her, but if she is feeling good then I am allowed to cuddle and play with anyone who comes over. HOWEVER, I am not allowed to socialize with DOGS while I’m working. This is because we come across a lot of untrained and out of control dogs and they can be very distracting when they growl and bark at me. I get plenty of time to play with other dogs at the beach or dog training.

BREAK TIME

– I have a long run EVERY morning with my other dog buddies. AND if my Person and I are close to the beach I am allowed to go for a swim after she has finished work.

– I attend agility training class every week where I get to play with the equipment and with the other dogs for hours.

TOILETING

– I am toilet trained to only go on grass. I alert my Person when I need to go outside and she takes me STRAIGHT OUT to use the grass toilet.

HEALTHY HABITS

– I get fed twice daily, as well as constant treats during the day

– I have better health than my Person. I eat the best food (gluten free), and have regular vet checks. I am groomed regularly, not bathed unless I have been to the beach because that actually ruins our fur.

NOT ROBOTS

– I AM NOT A ROBOT. I make mistakes sometimes, some days are better than others. If I’m sick, I don’t work. SIMPLE. If I make a mistake while on the job I do not get in trouble, my Person apologizes for me and fixes whatever I may have done.

DOG OR CARER

– Some of our handlers may still need human carers, but we help our handlers be independent. No disabled person wants to be accompanied by a human carer everywhere they go, they have no freedom and they feel like a little child who can’t do anything for themselves. Some of our handlers may also be a little anxious around other humans and it wouldn’t really be beneficial for them to be accompanied by a stranger wherever they go.

TRICKS AND TASKS

– DOGS WANT TO WORK. Ever wonder why dogs that are left at home all day, or given one short walk, start barking, digging and tearing up the backyard/house? BECAUSE THEY ARE BORED OUT OF THEIR MINDS!

– I enjoy doing my tasks. Retrieving things, and putting rubbish in the bin believe it or not is my favourite game.

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