Assistance Dogs - Suzanne Butler
Assistance dogs fall into two broad categories: service dogs and facility dogs. Service dogs are defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. Facility dogs are used by working professionals to aid multiple people.
Having a service dog join our family was life-changing for all of us. - Service dog partner
A service dog is a type of assistance dog specifically trained to help people who have disabilities, such as visual impairment, hearing impairments, mental illnesses (such as posttraumatic stress disorder, seizure disorder, mobility impairment, and diabetes.)
Common examples of service dogs include:
- Guide dogs assist the blind and the visually impaired.
- Hearing dogs, or signal dogs, help the deaf and hard of hearing.
- Mobility assistance dogs
- Medical alert dogs
- Psychiatric service dogs
- Facility dogs
Guide dogs are assistance dogs trained to lead blind and visually impaired people around obstacles. Although the dogs can be trained to navigate various obstacles, lots of them are (red–green) color blind and are not capable of interpreting street signs. The human does the directing, based on skills acquired through previous mobility training. The handler might be likened to an aircraft's navigator, who must know how to get from one place to another, and the dog is the pilot, who gets them there safely.
A hearing dog is a type of assistance dog specifically selected and trained to assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing by alerting their handler to important sounds, such as doorbells, smoke alarms, ringing telephones, or alarm clocks. They may also work outside the home, alerting to such sounds such as sirens, forklifts and a person calling the handler's name.
Mobility assistance dogs
A mobility assistance dog is a service dog trained to assist a physically disabled person who has mobility issues, which may include being wheelchair-dependent. Among other tasks such as "providing balance and stability" and "pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments," a mobility assistance dog can be trained to open and close doors, and operate light switches, and can "have a major positive impact on the lives of recipients". These dogs usually wear a certain kind of vest so that you can attach a cane like handle. This makes it so that when the dog walks and you hold the handle, the dog will guide you and assist with balance.
Medical alert dogs
A medical response dog is a service dog trained to assist an individual who has a medical disability. Typically, they are dogs whose job does not handle primarily epilepsy or psychiatric-based conditions, though some seizure response dogs or psychiatric service dogs may also be referred to as medical response.
Psychiatric service dogs
Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs) are service dogs individually trained to perform tasks which mitigate the psychiatric disabilities such as post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.
Facility dogs are used by working professionals to aid multiple people.
Common examples of facility dogs include:
- Courthouse facility dogs are typically handled by professionals working in the legal system. They are often used to assist crime victims, witnesses, and others during the investigation and prosecution of crimes as well as other legal proceedings.
- Facility dogs in educational settings are usually handled by special education teachers to facilitate interaction with the students.
- Facility dogs in healthcare environments are typically handled by physical therapists, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals to facilitate recovery and symptom management for patients.