Sometimes, in the course of life, events occur that require bringing a service dog into the family. There are more than 150 dog breeds, and while many think of German Shepherds or Golden Retrievers, a wide number of breeds can be trained to be service dogs. And in these days, service dogs do far more than work as seeing eye dogs. Service dogs can actually work with a number of medical issues, like diabetic alert service dogs for example, and do far more than many people realize. Dogs are ideal for this because their noses are very sensitive to smells that certain medical issues can give off. Dogs have 200 million scent receptors in their noses, compared to a human’s 5 million. Simply put, they can smell things that humans never could. If you find yourself in need of a service dog, here are several things to keep in mind as you look for one.
- Training Starts at a Young Age: One thing to know about service dogs is that training begins at a young age. Service dog trainers begin working with potential service dogs when they’re around 16 weeks old. Depending on the program, training can take anywhere from six months to a year, and that assumes the dog is able to finish, as not all puppies who start the training are able to finish. Be assured though, the dogs that do graduate are fully trained service dogs, and training isn’t considered complete until they can finish a certain number of tests.
- They Can Be Used for Many Conditions: Another thing to know when looking for service dogs is that they can in fact be used to help with a number of medical conditions. For example, diabetic alert service dogs can smell changes in their owner’s blood sugar, and can alert them when a diabetic episode is about to happen. Or, for another example, PTSD service dogs can be trained to work with owners who suffer from varying degrees of post-traumatic stress disorder, and are trained to comfort and provide support when an episode is triggered. Service dogs can help with a number of medical issues, so don’t be surprised to discover they can help you as well.
- They are Not Pets in the Traditional Sense: And finally, a third thing to know about service dogs is that they are not pets in the traditional sense of the word. For example, while you can play with diabetic alert service dogs, and take them on walks, or just sit with them, the fact remains that they have a job to do, and when the time comes their training will kick in and they will do it. That’s why a service dog has to go everywhere, even places a regular pet cannot. The dogs are trained to help their owners in ways a regular pet just can’t, and that’s why a service dog should never be thought of as “just as pet.”
In conclusion, there are several things to know when looking for a service dog. These things include: the dogs begin training at a young age, they can be used to help with many medical conditions, and they are not pets in the traditional sense. These are just a few things to keep in mind when looking for a service dog.
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