Amy Cook
Last Updated

An assistance dog is an animal that assists those who need it. They can be trained as service or therapy animals depending on the individual’s needs. These furry beings have been providing support for those with disabilities, PTSD and more since the 1930s. They come in various shapes and sizes to suit all needs, and they can even be trained as a service or therapy animal. There are so many reasons to love these animals.

They are Adorable

Alright, this might not be the reason you’re considering getting an assistance dog, but it can’t hurt to know that Assistance Dogs International has a list of the top ten cutest breeds you could choose from. You’ll be looking into Golden Retrievers, Labs, Great Pyrenees, Poodles, German Shepherds, Malteses, Pugs and more, to name a few.

They Can Provide Help

Assistance dogs provide support for those who have disabilities that inhibit their quality of life, as well as people with PTSD. For example, an assistance dog has been known to help to keep their handler safe while navigating around traffic, guide their handler to help them get through public spaces and under stress, and provide support in the event of a panic attack.

Dogs Can be Trained

If you’re considering getting an assistance dog, the idea of training the dog may be scary. However, you do not have to be a professional trainer for this; there are many different ways you can teach your new furry friend. Even better is that assistance dogs do not need to be trained from birth; they can start training at any point in their lives depending on the dog and their needs. You would be surprised at how quickly these animals learn-and. The best part is, they want to please you!

You Can Choose What Breed Fits You

There are a variety of breeds that make OK assistance dogs. This means you have the choice in determining the dog’s temperament and size to suit your lifestyle and needs best. Choosing from these breeds will help ensure that the dog is a good fit for your household.

Assistance Dogs are Not Just for Those with Disabilities

There’s no rule stating that you have to have one of the accepted disabilities to get an assistance dog from a reputable agency. Although these dogs can be a great help for those who need them, they’re not just for those with disabilities. They can be used to provide comfort and support to individuals who have anxiety, phobias or PTSD.

You Can Help Save a Life

Most assistance dogs are rescued from shelters or breed rescues. This means you’re giving an animal in need a second chance at life while also giving yourself an invaluable animal companion.

Conclusion

Assistance dogs provide a variety of services and can be trained to suit the needs of their handler. They come in various sizes, shapes, breeds and temperaments, so you have plenty of options for your new furry friend. You’ll find that they are not just for those with disabilities but also for people who suffer from anxiety or PTSD and other conditions where an animal companion would help alleviate some symptoms. Best yet, most assistance dogs are rescued from shelters or breed rescues which means by getting one yourself, you’re giving an animal in need a second chance at life!


Sources:

Assistance Dogs International. (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2015, from http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/about-us/faqs

Assistance Dog Needs Handler With PTSD To Make A Long Flight Bearable – NPR. (2015). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/04/09/399131622/assistance-dog-needs-handler-with-ptsd-to-make-a-long-flight-bearable

Assistance Dogs International. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/

Mangione, J. (2004). PTSD Service Dogs Help Veterans Feel Safe Again . Retrieved April 29, 2015, from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1744779

Wolpe, P. (2014, September 23). Service Dogs Can Help People With PTSD, But There Aren’t Good Ways To Train Them. Retrieved April 28, 2015, from http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/09/23/354875846/service-dogs-can-help-people-with-ptsd-but-there-arent-good-ways-to-train-them

Why You Should Consider Getting An Assistance Dog. (n.d.). Retrieved April 29, 2015, from http://assistancedogsofla.com/why-you-should-consider-getting-an-assistance-dog/

This PTSD Service Dog Went Undercover to Save Her Handler’s Life. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from http://www.peoplepets.com/pets-animals-nature/this-ptsd-service-dog-went-undercover-to-save-her-handlers-life

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