Types of Dogs That Assist People


You may have heard the term “service dog” , but along with service, there are other types of assistance that some dogs are trained to provide for humans. Let’s take a look at the types of help provided from the following: Service dogs, Emotional Support dogs, Therapy dogs, and Working dogs.

Service Dogs

These are the helpful dogs that you are more likely to see in public. They are trained to help perform tasks for people with disabilities. For example, a seeing-eye dog helps a blind or visually-impaired person move around the world. Other examples include hearing/signal dogs who alert their owners of certain sounds, psychiatric dogs who detect and help with psychiatric episodes, seizure alert dogs who watch for seizures and find help from other humans, and service dogs who help people with limited mobility perform tasks like opening doors and picking up items. Many people might picture Labradors when thinking of service dogs, but in reality, service dogs come in a variety of breeds and sizes. For example, because of their large size, Great Danes can help those who have difficulty standing or balancing. Also, small dogs can be hearing or seizure alert dogs, and Pitt Bulls are becoming more popular as service dogs due their sweet demeanor and intelligence.


Emotional Support Dogs

Emotional support dogs are companions who provide comfort to people with psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and phobias. They are only prescribed by mental health professionals. Like service dogs, these dogs are legally allowed to live in non-pet-friendly homes and travel with their owners in airplane cabins.

Therapy Dogs

Unlike service and emotional support dogs, therapy dogs do not typically assist one owner. Rather, they help in places such as nursing homes, clinics, hospices, and schools. Their task is to provide comfort and attention to all kinds of people who need it. While people are usually not allowed to pet service dogs that don’t belong to them, therapy dogs are trained to expect being constantly petted by different people.

Working Dogs

Working dogs help humans out with their excellent senses of smell and hearing. One type of working dog is the search-and-rescue dog. These dogs, usually Bloodhounds, help find missing persons after natural disasters or in other unfortunate events such as after a suspected drowning or in finding a missing body. Another type of working dog, usually German Shepherds or Belgian Malinoises, helps those in law enforcement, military, and public transportation detect explosives or illegal drugs. These dogs are required to go though intense training to help find dangerous objects. Other dogs who do a sort of detective work are cancer detective dogs and allergy alert dogs. In cancer detection, scientists have been able to train Labrador Retrievers to detect cancer in patients’ breaths since cancer cells have a different odors than non-cancerous cells. Allergy alert dogs detect allergens in different places and alert owners if any residue of an allergen is found. Poodles and Portuguese Water Dogs are usually the ones doing this type of work.

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Sources: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/lifestyle/service-working-therapy-emotional-support-dogs/ https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/news/everything-about-emotional-support-animals/ https://www.k9ofmine.com/best-breeds-for-service-dogs/ https://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/354 https://www.therapydogs.com/service-dog-vs-therapy-dog/