Service Dogs provide valuable physical assistance to a person with a physical disability. They allow that person to take part in activities that they otherwise might not be able to do and help them with activities of daily living so that they may be able to live more independently.
Service Dogs can perform tasks such as closing drawers, (shown here >>)
By assisting their owner with certain tasks such as pulling the wheelchair, Service Dogs can help their owner to save their strength for other activities. Because of this, and their increased independence, some Service Dog users have found employment or moved out of care facilities with the help of their dog. Service Dogs can also save the owner money by reducing their need for paid care.
Service Dogs are very highly trained animals that take a long time, and a lot of money to train. The amount of time required to train a Service Dog is similar to that of a Guide Dog. If you encounter a Service Dog (or any type of Assistance Dog) when wearing its identification coat, please remember that it deserves the same respect that you would afford a Guide Dog. Please do not try to touch or talk to the Service Dog without first asking its handler.
Service Dogs Can...
- Lift and carry items
- Retrieve dropped or lost items
- Be used as a brace for people with walking difficulty
- Open and close doors
- Activate light switches
- Pull a manual wheelchair
- Accompany their owner in public
- Bark an alert for help
- Assist with daily tasks such as making the bed, doing the laundry etc
- Move limbs for people with paralysis
- And many more.......
Service dogs are also a wonderful companion and friend to their owner. Often people comment that the emotional and social benefits of having a service dog are of equal importance to the physical benefits. Service dogs help people to make friends, encourage an initial talking point for first time meetings and also give people the opportunity to gain self-esteem by doing things for themselves..
Training Standards for Service Dogs
In addition to fulfilling all of the standards that each Canine Helpers dog is required to fulfill, Service Dogs also meet the following criteria:
- All Service Dogs must have completed a minimum of 120 hours of training.
- Service Dogs have spent at least 30 hours training in high distraction public places.
- Service Dogs have spent a minimum of 6 months with a Canine Helpers trainer.
- Service Dog handlers complete a thirteen day training course.
- Service Dogs are all trained to complete a minimum of 3 physical tasks.
Canine Helpers Service Dogs have all been entered into a Canine Control Council of Queensland Obedience Sweepstakes or Trial, except in cases where the skills required by the eventual handler conflict with behaviours required in an Obedience Trial. Some Service Dogs have completed an Obedience Title if time has allowed. Canine Helpers is the only organisation in Australia whos dogs routinely compete in recognised Obedience Trials.