About Assistance Dogs

Any breed of dog can be an Assistance Dog however there are some breeds that excel in this role
such as :

  • Wiggly, happy, social, hardworking critters with a lot of love to give.
  • They are a large breed of dogs who are built solid and strong.
  • They have a work ethic a mile wide and their food drive makes them easy to train.
  • Love to pick items up, carry them, and work closely with their people.
  • They are bred to be hunting dogs and have a soft, gentle mouth and an even gentler temperament.
  • They excel in many Service Dog roles.
  • Crossing the two breeds results in hybrid vigour, or a healthier litter of puppies due to more varied genetics.
  • The result is that the puppies typically possess the best physical and temperamental traits of both breeds.
  • This mix is used by large Service Dog and Guide Dog organisations around the world.
  • Also know as a Goldador
  • Are typically non-shedding. Non-shedding doesn’t mean hypoallergenic, although it can help. Their coat does require specialised grooming.
  • Are extremely sharp, trainable dogs with an aptitude for all kinds of Service Dog specialities.
  • They excel with alert and mobility tasks, but may not be able to provide brace work to taller or larger people, due to their structure.
  • Are extremely focused, hardworking, and easy to train.
  • Also larger than most of the other common Service Dog breeds, which readily lends them to mobility and wheelchair work.
  • Trainers must be certain to get a German Shepherd from a reputable breeder, as structure, genetics, and temperament are vital for success Service Dog work

*Not every dog will become an Assistance Dog.  Factors such as temperament, dogs willingness to work, health and age can have a negative impact on their trainability/suitability for the role. *

Individuals who have the following conditions  may benefit from having an Assistance Dog:

    • Autism
    • Physical disabilities
    • PTSD or other mental conditions/disabilities
    • Medical conditions such as allergies
    • Disabling illnesses such as Heart conditions
    • Seizures
    • Diabetes
    • Hearing impaired
    • Visually impaired and or blind people

Assistance dogs are trained to alleviate the affects of a persons disabilities through performing tasks that directly relate to the persons needs this results in the person achieving more independence.

Physical Assistants

Are dogs that are trained to alleviate the affects of a persons disabilities through providing physical assistance.  As well as improving and promoting daily independence by meeting the needs of the person with a disability.

Assist people who are blind or visually impaired by:

    •  Guiding a person to navigate safely through different environments, such as city centres, parks and suppermarkets.

 

Dogs that are taught to touch their owner so as to alert them  to sounds such as:

    • Doorbell
    • cooker timer
    • smoke detector
    • alarm clock
    • door knock 
    • fire alarm
    • general danger by touching their owner and immediately laying down

Are trained to alleviate the affects of a persons disabilities through performing tasks that directly relate to the persons needs, such as:

      • Fetching/retrieving objects
      • Picking up  dropped objects.
      • Assisting with undressing
      • Loading/unloading washing machines
      • Opening and closing doors and draws
      • Assisting with shopping by retrieving object high up and passing items and/or wallet to cashier.
      • Turning on/off a light switch
      • Support owners weight  and help maintain balance when standing.
      • And many more.

Scent Assistants

Dogs are taught to search for a specific scent (motivator) and learns to diffinentiate between it and every other scent in the environment.

 

There are many roles for scent dogs, such as:

    • Arson Dogs
    • Cadaver Dogs
    • Drug Detection
    • Explosives Detection
    • Search and rescue
    • Tracking Dogs

These dogs are taught to respond to chemical changes within the body of their owner such as:

    • Diabetes Dogs – trained to detect quick blood sugar changes.
    • Allergy Dogs – trained to detect allergens in the air  to prevent accidental ingestion which could be fatal such as nuts.
    • Cardiac Support Dogs – trained to alert their owner to changes in their heart and circulatory system.
    • Seizure Alert Dogs – trained to give their owner prior warning to a seizure, therefor giving  their owner time to prepare and be safe before the event. 

These dogs are trained to aid in early diagnosis of disease such as:

    • Cancer Detection Dogs – trained to smell chemical changes in a persons breath, urine or skin.

Emotional Assistants

Scientific Research show that animals can affect the way we feel by:

          • Reducing anxiety
          • Lower stress levels
          • Lower blood pressure
          • Lower Cholesterol
          • Alleviates depression
          • Prevents loneliness and feeling alone
          • Promotes socialisation and exercise
          • Improved mood, behaviour and interactions

Animals in general provide emotional support just by being there, however some are trained to help more than others.  A few examples are listed below:

 

PTSD Dogs can provide emotional support but can also be trained to aid with mental and physical disabilities such as:

    • Positioning – Standing behind the person in public  “watching their back” or in front to create space for their owner
    • Nightmare interruptions
    • Panic attack, anxiety attack interruptions

 

The dogs are trained to help their owner live a relatively normal life and maintain consistency throughout the day by:

    • Responds to an alarm to reiterate a routine be it medical, food, drinking or hygiene.
    • Reminders to keep a routine of feeding the dog
    • Trigger an alarm in the house if the owner falls and does not get up or if they hear a choking sound. 
    • Take their owner home on command
    • Track their owner if they become lost or stay with them and bark if their owner becomes immobile.

Unwanted Dogs are trained by inmates to learn the basics so that they can be re homed.  Not only does this program benefit the dogs but it changes the prisoners by:

    • Reducing depression
    • Reducing fear and anger
    • Increasing social skills through discussions about the dogs progress and training needs
    • Developing a sense of being needed and thinking about something else besides themselves.
    • Reducing aggression and developing patience

Autism Assistance 

For a child who has Autism, these dogs provide a lot of activity support everyday, they are also emotional support dogs  and can naturally provide Animal Assisted Therapy.  A trained dog can make a world of difference to a child with autism by:

    • Provide deep pressure therapy.
    • Grounding the child in an overwhelming/stimulating situation.
    • Provide an anchor for children that tend to run (bolt) or just wander off.
    • Being trained to search for their child if they do become lost.
    • Provide a tactile benefit with their fur, feet, ears.
    • Reduce anxiety.
    • Be a constant steady friend to develop a bond with.
    • Respond and redirect when meltdown, outbursts and/or self harm behaviours occur.
    • Providing and encouraging communication opportunities.

A dog can be the bridge between the child living with Autism and the world.