Service dogs are special canines who have been trained to help people with severe health problems that affect one or more major activities of their daily life. There are many types of service dogs who help people with mobility, hearing, sight, and psychiatric health problems but we will be focusing on the Cardiac Alert/Response Service Dogs in this article.
Cardiac Alert Dogs are trained to detect changes in a person’s blood pressure and heart rate. These animals are trained to use their keen sense of smell to pick up on chemical markers in your sweat and alert you of a potential cardiac episode. That way you can seek medical attention, go to a safe place and take medication as necessary. These dogs are not necessarily large and the only major requirement for them is to have a really good sense of smell.
Cardiac Response Dogs are trained to help a person cope with the effects of a cardiac episode. These dogs can brace your fall, stay with you to make you feel safer, call a family member for help, and bring medication to you on command. The Cardiac Response Dogs are generally large with a strong build so they can brace the fall of their user.
Both types of Cardiac Service Dogs have to be people-oriented like to receive physical contact from humans and have a friendly temperament. Depending on where you are based it may be allowed to train your pet to become a Cardiac Alert/Response Service Dog. Countries like the US, the UK, the Netherlands, Canada (some provinces*), France, and Spain enable their citizens to train their pet dogs for service work. Please, make sure to consult with your family doctor (e.g. general medical practitioner) on how a service dog might impact your quality of life.
People who suffer from cardiac problems can purchase a trained Cardiac Service Dog from a dog training school or decide to do the training themselves as long as their condition allows. Trained service dogs are not easy to come by and you will likely have to join a waiting list. That means you may have to wait for 1-3 years. Please, keep in mind that the pricing varies significantly from 10,000 to 30, 000 USD. The pricing depends on the breed, the time invested into training, and what type of tasks the dogs are trained to perform. Some dog training institutions may have programs/funds that you can use to finance the purchase of a service dog at a more affordable price.
As mentioned earlier, you could have the option of training your pet dog to become a Cardiac Alert/Response Service Dog. This can be done with the help of a local dog trainer, video clips that are posted online for free, or pay for a dog training course with an established plan and support for dog trainers. If you might decide to go this route and need a few recommendations on what breed of canine you should consider, please keep reading below.
Amazing Breeds To Consider
Labrador Retriever — is one of the best dog breeds according to many dog training schools. The canines of this breed have big bodies and very good noses. What makes them stand apart from others is that there are very friendly, easy-going, intelligent, and patient animals. Many dog trainers favor them because they are easy to train and they are very attentive to the needs of their owners/users. They are amazing housemates who bond with the entire family, and they establish friendships with neighbor dogs and humans alike easily. Labrador Retrievers boast great durability and can accompany you throughout your day without resting. These dogs are great for people who have long days at work and would love a reliable and patient companion.
Golden Retriever — these dogs are very smart, very motivated to work and they are easy to train. Many Golden Retriever owners are amazed by their intelligence and how quickly they pick up skills. These canines are very sociable and they are a great addition to any active family. Golden Retrievers like to run, they enjoy long walks and playing with their toys. If you are a sporty personality the Golden Retriever might be the best fit for you on this list. The Golden Retrievers are known to have excellent health and require moderate grooming efforts.
Poodle — the breed is favored for its high intelligence, excellent sense of smell, and eagerness to please. Dog trainers recommend this to anyone who is looking for a loving companion with a strong body. The Standard Poodles are active animals with strong bodies. These animals reach about 15 inches (38 cm) at their shoulders and can carry medium-sized pouches with medicine if required. These dogs are generally very healthy and require little grooming. They love swimming, jogging, and lots of treats so beware not to overfeed them.
Bernese Mountain Dog — this breed was bred to be a farm dog. They are what you would call “gentle giants” with an average weight of 110 pounds (50 kg) for males and 90 pounds (40 kg) for females. They are protective of their family and they are famous for their great strength. If you are looking for a sturdy and kind service dog that can help protect you if you fall the Bernese Mountain Dog might be the best choice for you. Please note that they shed a lot and that might be a deterrent for many dog owners. However, these dogs are easy to train, they are vigilant and they become quick friends with everybody. The breed is very adaptable but the canines should not be allowed to play too long outside in hot weather.
Collie — the canines of this breed are amazing family dogs with a long life span (13-14 years). The dogs are easy to train, vigilant, sociable, and very loyal. Dog trainers point out that the Collie boasts great agility and high intelligence. Many Collie owners report that the dogs are very fond of children. Although they have a lean body type they have shown strength and a very good sense of smell which make them good for tracking and rescue operations. The Collie is alert and will bark at signs of danger. Their coat requires regular brushing and they are not a suitable breed for dog owners lacking experience.
American Water Spaniel — the canines of this breed are sporty and energetic and they are famous for their excellent nose. They are generally upbeat and they love to swim. The dogs shed minimally and are easy to care for. The American Water Spaniels are friendly to humans and dogs of all kinds. Dog trainers warn that these dogs can be overly protective and need at least two hours of active exercise. The canines are eager to please and love to accompany their favored humans.
American Staffordshire Terrier — the canines might have a murky reputation as aggressive dogs but this does not fit with facts. Dog trainers affirm that the American Staffordshire Terrier is an affectionate breed that goes amazingly well with children. The dogs of this breed are muscular, vigilant, and protective of their family. We have seen the American Staffordshire Terriers excel at search and rescue operations as well. Early socialization is required to make them accustomed to other pets and shape them into great companions. The American Staffordshire Terriers are very loyal, playful, and comparatively easy to train. We recommend this breed to anyone who likes to have long play sessions with their dog.
We hope these recommendations are useful and that you are now better prepared to look for the right Cardiac Alert/Response Service Dog for you. If you have more questions, please check our blog and you might find answers there.