1.Medical Alert and Response: There are several types of medical alert and response dogs. Diabetes alert dogs are trained to detect the scent and chemical changes of high or low blood sugar, alerting the handler before it becomes an emergency. Other tasks include fetching a medication bag or a phone.
2.Mobility: These dogs are trained to assist those living with physical conditions that involve limited mobility. They may retrieve items, open and close doors and cabinets, turn lights on and off, and help with daily personal tasks. Many tasks are variations on foundational skills, such as retrieve, pull, and touch/push with nose or paw.
3.Psychiatric: Psychiatric service dogs are trained to perform tasks related to a psychiatric or developmental disability, and they may overlap with medical response. Some psych tasks include (but are not limited to) interrupting self-harm or OCD rituals, DPT, grounding during panic attacks, and reminding handlers to take medications.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows for any breed of dog to be a service dog, but that doesn’t mean every breed is as likely to succeed in this role. Much time, emotion, and work are invested in a service dog prospect. Starting with the right dog is crucial to future success. For example, a diabetic alert dog candidate will need strong scenting ability, snub-nosed dogs such as Bulldogs, Pugs and Shih Tzu are not suitable for the required tasks. Service dogs also come in all sizes. The ideal size and weight of a service dog depends on the tasks the dog is expected to perform. A smaller dog isn’t likely to retrieve heavy objects, but may do well with medical alert or psychiatric tasks. Certain big breeds of dogs are more suitable for weight-bearing mobility. When choosing a breed to train for your needs, you can use the table below to weigh your best options.
|Medical Alert Dogs||Mobility Service Dogs||Psychiatric Service Dogs|
|Golden Retriever||Labrador retriever||Labrador retriever|
|German shepherd||Golden Retriever||Havanese|
|Poodle||Standard Poodle||Miniature Schnauzer|
|Border Collie||German Shepherd||Cavalier King Charles Spaniel|
|Pomeranian||Rottweiler||Any small breeds|