It is well known that dogs are great and can learn an incredible number of skills. Service dogs prove this in an impressive way. The top-trained four-legged friends, who should not be confused with therapy dogs, take on very important tasks in the everyday life of their severely disabled human friends.
Assistance dogs are trained for around two years
In order for assistance dogs to be able to perform their responsible tasks, they have to undergo at least two years of training. Experienced dog trainers prepare the dogs to stand by their people for 24 hours. The aim of any training is to make the dogs fit for at least three tasks that later significantly reduce the difficulties of their partners with disabilities. The great dogs also have to meet certain standards in public; For example, they must not allow themselves to be distracted by their own kind or people, they must not snoop around and must always stay by their partner's side. Quite a lot to watch out for.
Legal information on assistance dogs
Service dogs enjoy certain special rules compared to other dogs. The Ninth Book of the Social Code (SGB IX) contains regulations on the rehabilitation and participation of disabled people in Germany. There is also something about the helpful four-legged friends. For example, paragraph 145 regulates the free transportation of a guide dog and a dog "carried by a severely disabled person, the identification of which proves the right to take an accompanying person with him." The Federal Supply Act stipulates that a guide dog serves as an "aid". The quality standards for assistance dogs are unfortunately not yet nationwide, but are regulated differently from state to state - but a draft law on the subject will soon be brought to the table (as of February 2017).
Therapy dogs: which four-legged friends are suitable?
Unlike assistance dogs, therapy dogs are not specially trained for a single patient ...
Tasks of assistance dogs: a selection
• Guide dogs: Assistance dogs help blind and visually impaired people by safely guiding them through everyday life. Stair treads, light switches, obstacles or even entrances and exits - the dogs show their people what is on the way and also guide them safely through the traffic.
• Mobility Assistance Dogs: These powerful assistance dogs help people with walking difficulties by supporting them. With the help of special mobility harnesses that the partner can hold on to, they guide their heart people around.
• LPF Assistance Dogs: These four-legged friends help people who are in a wheelchair or who rely on prostheses and crutches. Among other things, they hand over objects from the floor or from shelves, operate light switches, open and close doors and drawers and can also help with putting on and taking off.
• Dogs for people with mental or psychiatric disorders: These assistance dogs support people who have mental or psychiatric illnesses such as eating disorders, depression, borderline or schizophrenia. They support the everyday life of their partners with specific tasks geared to the respective illness, for example with tactile signals that indicate their behavior to their owners.
• Epilepsy, diabetic or stroke warning dogs: Epilepsy warning dogs are able to warn their owners minutes of an epilepsy attack so that they can sit down to prevent falls. Diabetic warning dogs warn type 1 diabetics in good time about hypoglycemia or hypoglycaemia and can thus save lives. Stroke warning dogs can indicate that a stroke is imminent and are very important for people who have had a stroke or are very likely to have a stroke because help can be obtained in good time. There are also assistance dogs that indicate allergies and asthma attacks.
• Dementia Assistance Dogs: These great four-legged friends accompany people with dementia, give closeness, love and warmth. In addition, you will inform relatives of a person with dementia if they ever leave the house or otherwise endanger themselves.
• Autism Assistance Dogs: These fur noses are a sensitive support for people with autism. They calm down in the event of sensory overload, lead safely through difficult situations such as large crowds and provide security in everyday life.