May 24th, 2010

Awhile back we introduced Muggins, Mickey’s service dog who guides Mickey when away from home.

Did you know there are other kinds of service dogs besides dogs who guide children and adults who are blind? Some service dogs help children and adults who have a problem hearing and let them know about sounds that they need to respond to, such as a door bell. Other service dogs assist a child or adult in a wheelchair by picking up things that drop on the floor, opening the refrigerator or a cabinet, helping with getting clothes out of the dryer and other daily activities.

Whatever the service dogs does, his or her main mission is to help the child or adult with a disability be safe and independent. Service dogs are not pets. They have important work to do. Every day they are on the job.

Not every dog can be a service dog. Dogs that are smart, have good health and a good personality are often considered to be service dogs. They also need to have the physical ability to do what is needed and they have to be willing to do what is asked of them. Different kinds of dogs can be service dogs but Golden Retrievers, and Labradors are most often chosen to be trained as service dogs because they are smart and have easy going personalities. They make excellent service dogs as does a  Labradoodle, which is a cross between a Labrador and a Poodle. They do not shed because they have hair, not fur. This makes them an ideal service dog for a child or adult that has allergies.

Next time we will learn about how puppies become service dogs.  Until then … keep making good choices to be safe, learn new things and have fun!

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