While interviewing ’Winston’ last month I realised there is a bit of confusion surrounding service dogs.
So I have done more research and am doing a follow up article about service dogs.
What is a service dog?
A service dog is a dog that provides a service.
Well that does not really help as all dogs provide a service in ne way or another. From an official role o being part of a human’s family.
Now there are some dogs out there that would love to be called a service dog so that they can chill out with their humans 24/7 without being restricted where and when they can go.
This sounds an ideal world but speaking for myself I cannot see myself entering a bed store without zooming and bouncing on every bed or entering a butchers shop without leaving nose art on the glass displays or worse sampling the goods.
Imagine the chaos if I entered a toy store and there were containers full of balls and selves full of stuffed toys.
That is not even mentioning my need to woo hoo every dog I meet on my travels.
There are a lot of dog friendly shops, café, restaurants and hotels out there .
I have trained my human to minimise visiting places I am not allowed, plus I go to work with them.
I need to narrow things down.
Does a service dog work to provide a service to benefit humans?
Now we are getting somewhere.
Although we still have a wide variety of roles here. A dog that works occasionally or even more frequently by visiting either sick or elderly humans to cheer them up.
Are they a service dog as they are providing a service?
Yes they are providing a service but they are not service dogs, they are classed as therapy dogs.
Therapy dogs live life like regular non working dogs apart from they have learn to be calm and friendly when visiting the sick or elderly.
They still provide a valuable service but the big difference with them is that they are encouraged to approach humans without fear, interact with them and enjoy cuddles, strokes and the occasional sneaky treat.
As a therapy dog provides a service, does that mean they can go everywhere with their human?
No. A therapy dog does have extra allowances in that they are allowed in hospitals, care homes and other places where sick or elder humans are.
They are not allowed to go absolutely everywhere with their human.
So after excluding all the other possibilities and options, I have narrowed down what a service dog is.
What a service dog is:
A service dog is a dog that has spent at least 2 years being educated in the very complex role they will be working in.
They will have had a vet check that goes far beyond the vet’s normal ‘hide the thermometer’, listening to their heart and trying to prize open their jaws.
They will be trained to the highest level where even a ball could roll past them, a steak thrown down in front of them, noisy humans or other noise and they would not react.
They will be able to know the difference between ignoring everything as they travel with their human and being able to spot any possible danger.
They will ignore any interaction with anyone or anything that is not their human.