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What Service Dogs Do To Help People With Disabilities

Service dogs are specially trained animals that help people who are living with visible or invisible disabilities. What service dogs do will depend on the individual and what the person needs. There seems to be an almost unlimited amount of tasks or work that a service dog may be able to do to assist a person.

Let’s go through some common types of disabilities and find out what service dogs do to help their humans.

What Service Dogs Do For Mobility and Stability

A mobility or stability service dog can help people in a variety of ways. For example,

  • Pressing the button on automatic doors
  • Retrieving items that may have been dropped on the ground
  • Retrieving objects that are out of reach to the handler
  • Being a brace for people who live with balance or strength issues

What Service Dogs Do For PTSD

PTSD (Post-traumatic-stress-disorder) is a type of invisible disability. Psychiatric service dogs can help people who live with PTSD and other psychiatric disabilities.

They can:

  • Ground the person, distract the person, or guide their handler during a dissociation or panic episode
  • Provide tactile stimulation or deep pressure therapy. Check out our article on Deep Pressure Therapy Service Dogs and learn more on what they do
  • Interrupt potentially disruptive behaviour toward
  • Find objects for the handler
  • Alert the person to an oncoming panic attack

What Service Dogs Do For Hearing Assistance

Hearing service dogs can help people who live with hearing loss or total deafness and one of the ways they can help is by basically being the person’s ears.

Hearing dogs are trained to support hard of hearing and deaf people by alerting them to sounds their handler can’t hear. Examples are alarms, doorbells, knocking, kitchen timers, the person’s name being called, cars or people, and crying babies, just as a few examples.

What Service Dogs Do For Allergens

Many people live with life-threatening allergies and service dogs can help to alert people to the presence of danger and keep the person safe. Sometimes these types of service animals are known as Anaphylaxis Service Dogs or Anaphylaxis Prevention Dogs.

What these special Service Dogs do is sniff for the presence of allergens. They alert their human if any amount of the potentially deadly substance is found in the environment.

What Service Dogs Do For Autism

What does an Autistic Support Dog do?

Autism Assistance Service Dogs can help both adults and children who are on the autism spectrum. These special service dogs can provide things like safety, unconditional love, and companionship. They offer a calming relief for kids who are in high anxiety situations. In addition, they can help greatly to reduce the stress commonly experienced in public places.

A trained Autism Service Dog can help when someone has a meltdown. The dog can calm and ground the person. They do this by using several different avenues, including deep pressure stimulation, kinetic engagement, and tactile grounding.

Deep Touch Pressure Stimulation (DTPS) is firm, gentle pressure that is applied to the body. It relaxes the nervous system. This pressure therapy helps to create an overall sense of calm and well-being. It does this by releasing serotonin and dopamine (an up-lifting neurotransmitters).

What Service Dogs Do For TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury)

A traumatic brain injury is a type of injury to people that affects how their brain works. It’s a major cause of death and disability in the United States and many other countries. Anyone can experience a TBI for many different reasons.

If a someone’s injury results in occasional episodes of fainting or loss of consciousness, service animals can be trained to lick, nudge, or otherwise reawaken the TBI patient. Service dogs can also alert other people that help is needed.

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Sam is an experienced writer, advocate for people with disabilities and mental health, dog lover, artist, philosopher, and generally complicated human being.

What Service Dogs Do – Examples of SD Work or Tasks

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