Types of Service Dogs and Their Importance | Teen Ink

Types of Service Dogs and Their Importance

December 13, 2018
By Bethany28 BRONZE, Stoneboro, Pennsylvania
Bethany28 BRONZE, Stoneboro, Pennsylvania
4 articles 0 photos 2 comments

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No rain, no flowers.

Dogs may be cute and great pets, but they can have a greater meaning. Service dogs are used for those who need assistance due to disabilities. They can help those with anxiety, visual impairments, seizures and other physical and mental disabilities.

Service dogs first showed up in 1929, but they were only used for those who were blind, and they were only for the blind at that point. For many years, this was the only type of service animal available for those in America. Now, in 2018, service dogs are used for those with other physical and mental disabilities. There are different types of service dogs that help with all sorts of different things. For example, there are guide dogs who lead visually impaired individuals, hearing dogs for those with hearing impairments, seizure alert dogs that alert someone who is about to have a seizure, seizure response dogs to help someone with a seizure (not to get confused with seizure alert dogs), psychiatric service dogs for people with anxiety and issues of that sort, and autism support dogs who help those who are on the spectrum and have trouble connecting with others. There are more types of service dogs that do loads of great things for the individuals with them, but we will be focusing on these six types of service dogs.

Starting off, guide dogs are those who are visually impaired. These dogs are considered “mobility aids” because they help individuals to travel safely. These dogs can assist with perception and reality to one who is in use of the dog. These dogs can allow those with visual impairments with allowing them to move through crowds and around obstacles. They also can give the dog a verbal command like, “find the chair,” and the dog would guide the person to the chair. The owners can also tell the dog to take them to commonly visited landmarks, like a mailbox or a bus stop pole.

On the other side of things, there are hearing impaired individuals who have dogs that allow them to get around more easily. These dogs can alert someone when something is going on. For example, if there is a baby crying, the dog would guide the hearing impaired person to that noise. They can lead the person to a variety of noises, like doorbells, knocking or an alarm clock. Assistance dogs international states that “...hearing dogs are generally mixed breeds acquired from animal shelters and are small to medium in size. Prior to formal audio response training, the younger adoptees are raised and socialized by volunteer puppy raisers. Hearing Dogs are identified by leash and/or vest.”

Along with this, there are seizure alert dogs and seizure response dogs. Although they may sound the same, there is a large difference. Seizure alert dogs are there to, you guessed it, alert the person who is about to have a seizure, while seizure response dogs help you with crucial help one may need once a seizure happens. They may not be able to alert one when a seizure will happen, but they would be able to assist one in the midst of a seizure. For example, they can lie down with someone having a seizure to prevent injury, put their body between the seizing person and the floor to break the fall. Seizure alert dogs only alert someone when they are going to have a seizure.

There are also psychiatric service dogs. Psychiatric service dogs are for those who suffer from mental issues. These dogs can calm someone during an anxiety attack. For example, if someone has a habit of pulling their hair during an anxiety attack, the dog would bat their hands away or lay on them for a sense of weight and comfort. They may also bring one medication or \water during an attack. All types of psychiatric dogs can stop one from hurting themselves in times of trouble. They can also lead the person to someone in a time of crisis. On the side of PTSD, Psychology Today states “...Veterans with PTSD can be hypervigilant in crowds, another command the dogs are taught is “cover.” This means they position themselves behind the veteran and will warn of approaching people–essentially, they are watching their back. The dogs are also trained to notice signs of anxiety and will comfort and calm the veterans if needed.” These types of dogs can help a large amount of people with mental disabilities.


Lastly, there are autism support dogs who work with those with autism. These dogs can help a child during an emotional meltdown. For example, they can lay across the persons lap to de-escalate the person’s anxiety. They can also calm one down from anxiety also. These dogs are much like the anxiety service dogs in the paragraph above. These dogs can help a child with autism communicate more and allow them to feel more secure and safe.


As you can see, these dogs can help. These dogs can mean so much to someone, and can mean something to everyone. Dig a little deeper and see what a dog can do for you.

The author's comments:

Dogs can be amazing companions, and they can mean a lot to certain people in different ways.

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