A service dog helps a person with a disability lead a more independent life. According to the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), a “service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.”

Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

The following are examples of the most common disability skills that our team can help train your pup with:


Be Alert:

  • To people approaching
  • As a response to your name or someone trying to get your attention
  • Identify specific sounds, such as alarms, ring tones, sirens, or vehicles backing up
  • Identify specific smells, such as smoke or gas
  • Go seek assistance from someone else when you are having a medical emergency
  • Press a medical alert button for designated emergency contact
  • Wake-up alerts

Be Calm:

  • Apply or receive deep pressure therapeutically
  • Cuddle on cue
  • Interrupt repetitive movements or compulsive behaviors
  • Lead to uncrowded area or place to sit down
  • Respond to an anxiety or panic attack
  • Interrupt nightmares or night terrors

DETECT:

  • Allergens, such as specific foods or triggering odors
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • The presence or absence of people in a designated area or location
  • Change in cortisol levels

Retrieve:

  • Get personal items and bring to you, such as keys or cell phones
  • Carry items for you
  • Deliver payment to store clerk or receive and carry merchandise for you
  • Open and close doors, cabinets, drawers or appliances to bring you something from insideDog Trainer
  • Bring medication to you at a designated time

Support:

  • Act as a positional buffer – behind, in front, looking the opposite way, or circling
  • Turn on and off lights, including turning on the light for you before you enter a room
  • Open and hold doors
  • Provide bracing for you to stand up or steady yourself
  • Tug or hold clothing, socks and shoes to assist with dressing and undressing
  • Pull to assist manual wheelchair propulsion
  • Target away from walking out into a street or other dangerous areas
  • Offer a signal that allows you to politely excuse yourself from the company of others

It generally takes 1–2 years to train a service dog. The dog must be trained to mitigate your specific disability, and must behave appropriately in public to avoid being removed. This means there are two main facets of service dog training: (1) public access behaviors, and (2) disability-related work and tasks.

Also, a good foundation in obedience training is highly recommended before beginning this process, and it is your responsibility to learn the laws applicable to where you live—state and federal laws in the United States.

Our team at Come & Train It K9 can help you with service dog training and preparations to train at any level. Give us a call today to discuss your project. We’d love to earn your business!