GoodPooch Celebrates National Service Dog Month
September 2021 is National Service Dog Month—a month dedicated to raising awareness about and appreciating the work done by service dogs. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service dog is “a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.”
Millions of service dogs work throughout the United States in many different capacities. From helping people with various medical conditions (such as blindness, deafness, paralysis, and seizure disorders) and emotional traumas (such as veterans suffering from PTSD), the support provided by service dogs is varied and wide-ranging.
National Service Dog Month was established in 2008 by Dick Van Patten—an actor and animal activist. Originally called National Guide Dog Month, the month was expanded to focus on all the support and activities that service dogs can provide.
Service dogs can perform a wide range of tasks such as retrieving dropped items, opening and closing doors, turning lights off and on, pulling wheelchairs up a slope, helping to end seizures, alerting diabetics to dangerous shifts in blood sugar, and much more.
Service dogs can be categorized into different types—guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility dogs, medical alert dogs, and psychiatric service dogs—depending on what they are trained to do. The ADA considers service dogs to be working animals and not pets. According to the ADA, emotional support dogs are not considered service dogs because they are not trained for a specific job or task for a person with a disability.
Many programs and organizations provide service dog training, including Animal Farm Foundation, Canine Companions for Independence, NEADS World Class Service Dogs, Canines for Disabled Kids, Guide Dogs of America, Patriot Paws, Pups4Patriots, and Best Friends Animal Society.
“Almost any breed of dog can be trained to be a service dog,” said Steve Miller, owner of GoodPooch. “Although Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds are the most commonly used breeds, the primary requirements for a good service dog include traits such as intelligence, friendly disposition, calmness, and a strong work drive.”
Service dogs must undergo extensive training to learn how to focus on their handler, reliably perform specific tasks, and become desensitized to distractions.
Some dog breeds are better suited to specific jobs than others. For example, a breed such as a Samoyed would work well as a psychiatric service dog but are too small to help someone in a wheelchair. “With proper training and socialization, a Samoyed could make an excellent therapy dog, especially because they are fairly hypoallergenic,” said Miller.
By contrast, other dog breeds (such as a Basset Hound) are not good candidates for training as service dogs due to their innate stubbornness and resistance to training. Dog breeds that are best suited for training as service dogs include Poodles, Boxers, Great Danes, Border Collies, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Pomeranians, and Pitbulls.
GoodPooch is an educational website that provides articles on dog breeds and health topics, such as pyoderma in dogs. In addition, dog owners can share photos and rescue/adoption stories of their dogs and enter a charitable giveaway that donates $1,000 to an animal shelter or canine rescue organization of the winner’s choosing.
For more information about GoodPooch, contact the company here:
4400 N Scottsdale Rd. Suite 9-285
Scottsdale, AZ 85251