Service Dogs

Alexa Hall, Staff Writer

There are many types of service dogs that help people in a variety of ways. Have you ever wondered, “What is a service dog?” or wanted to find information on service dogs? Here we give you the details and facts about service dogs including hearing dogs, detection dogs, therapy dogs and more. There are canines in the armed services, working for customs and excise and for the police forces around the world. They are variously used as guards, aids in patrol and as “sniffers” trained in the detection of explosives and narcotics.

Some, particularly the bloodhound with its incredible scent ability, are used to track criminals or find lost children. However, as you will see any breed can be trained to aid humans with various tasks and this includes mixed breeds as well. There are now so many guide dogs in the world that there is not an official record of how many are working with the blind and visually impaired today. Since there is not ome registry that places all of them and each registry works independently, one can only guess that the number is in the tens of thousands.

The largest program in the world that trains and then places guide dogs with humans is the Seeing Eye which is located in Morristown New Jersey. Each year they place roughly 1800 trained dogs. There are so many different dog breeds of all different sizes even small dogs, who are taught to guide the blind…and one of the reasons is so that each dog literally fits with the person whom they will be guiding…height and length of stride is vital for a good match.

Hearing dogs are trained to respond to common sounds that occur in the home or outside environment. This includes fire alarms, smoke alarms, the ring of a telephone, the sound of an incoming text on a cell phone, oven timers, doorbells, knocks on the door, alarm clocks and when it is needed, other sounds such as the cry of a baby who has woken from a nap. The limitations of a hearing dog are if a noise only is heard very randomly and very inconsistently.