Doing good service

By Connie Orcutt • Published: September 1st, 2012
Category: Animal Airwaves

You don’t have to look further than assistance dogs to find a shining example of man’s best friend. Whether he’s a guide dog for the visually impaired, a signal dog for the hard of hearing or a service dog for the disabled, an assistance dog’s keen loyalty and vigilance give his handler a combined sense of security and independence.

Some assistance dogs come from special breeding programs, while others are recruited from animal shelters. The key is the dog’s temperament. The best assistance dogs are people-oriented but not protective to an extreme, confident but not dominant, and alert but not overly active. Size and grooming requirements have to be limited.

Once dogs are chosen, training takes one to two hours per day for more than six months, until these canine companions are ready for their service.