How to Acquire a Service Dog
Service dogs are not born or bred to be assistance animals. They are trained in this highly skilled behavior, with the most successful process being done through an accredited service dog certification program.
These canines come from all different environments. They can be obtained from breeders, shelters or even from litters of your current family pet. While there are certain breeds that seem to adapt more readily to this lifestyle, almost any dog can be taught to act as a guide dog.
The actual definition of a service dog is a dog that is taught a specific skill to assist a disabled individual. The terms guide, assistance and service are somewhat interchangeable to describe the animal you will be seeking.
It is not recommended for a dog to become a service animal until they are at least six months of age. In some circles, one year seems to be the popular age when these pets will be most adaptable to this lifestyle. Your search may begin immediately, however, since the puppies must be home nurtured prior to participating in service dog certification training. This includes the usual “house training” as well as being exposed to a variety of humans from babies to senior citizens. Exposure to the different sexes and a variety of ethnicities is a plus.
As mentioned earlier in this article, certain breeds such as the Golden Retriever seem to do well at their assigned tasks, but almost any dog can be used. Another qualifier you will want to consider though is a calm demeanor. You do not want a high strung, hyper pet to be running and jumping around its possibly disabled handler. It is normally thought that small to medium sized canines are the best for service dogs, if for no other reason than they simply take up less space in public.
My personal recommendation would to be acquiring the dog from a shelter. In many cases these delightful puppies are given to qualifying people free of charge and although most will be of the mixed breed variety, if relatively intelligent, that should not be a hindrance to it’s becoming a service dog. This will not only benefit the person the animal helps, but will provide the dog with a loving home as well.
So with just these few traits to consider, you should have absolutely no problem finding the perfect wonderful furry creature to be trained as part of a service dog certification session and to ultimately be of assistance to a disabled loved one or even a stranger in need.