While “seeing eye dogs” might be the most common type of service animal, it turns out there are all kinds of canines that can perform mind-blowing duties for handlers with a variety of disabilities.You won’t believe what some of these dogs can do!
Here’s just a small sampling of what the best service dogs are doing to help their humans.
1. Diabetic Alert Dogs
This type of service dog, also called a blood sugar alert dog, continuously monitors the condition of its handler. If the handler’s blood sugar gets too high or low, the dog alerts him or her well before the handler would even realize something is wrong. Some of these dogs even have their own alert phones on which they can dial 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.
2. Seizure Response Dogs
Seizure response dogs use their communication skills to alert those nearby when the handler has a seizure. In some cases, these dogs even give medical attention, such as pressure stimulation, to the handler. Some dogs can even predict seizures before they occur, according to National Geographic.
3. Autism Assistance Dogs
These dogs also use pressure stimulation, but in this case it’s to calm the handler. Besides their calming abilities, autism assistance dogs provide companionship to their handlers, which helps build those handlers’ social skills. If the handler is nonverbal, the dog will typically carry contact information and emergency procedures in its vest.
4. Wheelchair Assistance Dogs
Wheelchair assistance dogs perform tasks that make life easier for their handlers, such as opening doors, picking up objects, and turning lights on or off.
5. Hearing Dogs
These dogs act as ears for their handlers by alerting them to certain sounds, such as a knock on the door or a ringing telephone. The dogs can be trained to recognize any sound or signal; standard alerts for hearing dogs include nudging the handler’s arm or leg, according to Canine Companions for Independence.
6. Allergy Alert Dogs
An allergy alert dog takes full advantage of its advanced sense of smell, using it to alert the handler to potentially dangerous allergens nearby. In case the handler does have an allergic reaction, the dog’s vest typically contains medication and procedures for responding to a reaction.
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7. Visual Assistance Dogs
This type of service dog, also known as a guide dog, offers visual guidance to its handler with a harness. If something is their path, the dog will either navigate around the obstruction or stop altogether, depending on the situation.
According to Assistance Dogs International, the dog even disobey its handler’s will if it’s required to ensure the handler’s safety. Visual assistance dogs receive training in leading handlers to escalators, elevators, and public transportation.
8. Mobility Support Dogs
Mobility support dogs, or brace support dogs, help handlers who have trouble balancing. These dogs often wear a brace, though that isn’t always the case. Since these dog helps the handler stand and walk they must meet certain size specifications, which vary depending on each handler.
9. Medical Alert Dogs
Here’s yet another type of service dog that showcases the amazing sensory abilities of canines. Medical alert dogs receive training in recognizing certain symptoms, such as blood pressure or hormonal changes, that may indicate certain medical emergencies. When the symptoms occur, the dog alerts the handler or other people if necessary.
Do you know of any other amazing service dogs that we might have missed?
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