In many countries, assistance dogs for various medical purposes have long been widely used. These dogs provide active physical and psychological assistance, can monitor the health of their owner, provide emotional and psychological support. Every dog passes a special course with an assistant dog trainer and instructor according to purposes.
This classification is a compilation of world experience in the use of specially trained assistance dogs and assistance dogs to help people with disabilities, various physical disabilities and diseases, with a brief description of the functions that these dogs perform:
Autism Service Dogs
These dogs are specially trained to help people with autism by serving as an “anchor” in an environment where autistic people find it difficult to cope with the pressures of the situation. Dogs also help people with autism to form strong emotional bonds that are difficult for them to create with people. They help people to socialize, gain independence and the ability to carry out everyday activities.
PTSD Service Dogs
These dogs assist people with Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and panic attacks. In the event of panic attacks and stressful situations in its owner, the dog “brings him back to reality”, helps to abstract from the stressful situation.
Specially trained dogs can inspect homes before their owner enters, look for potentially dangerous objects and psychologically support the person when he is suddenly confronted with the experience of “flashback” – a vivid traumatic memory of past stress.
Psychiatric Service Dogs
Service dog for mental health conditions is specially trained in a variety of skills: bringing medication, helping the owner return home if he gets lost or feeling disoriented in the environment, and also detecting when the patient is hallucinating. Different mental illnesses have their own characteristics, and the dog is specially trained to cope with different situations.
These dogs are not the same as specially trained helpers for psychiatric patients. The psychotherapy requires calm, level-headed dogs with good communication skills and friendly. They are used to provide moral support to people who suffer from psychological problems or are in a depressed state of mind.
Therapy with a dog is called canistherapy. Canistherapy is a method of rehabilitation of people with the help of specially trained dogs for diseases such as cerebral palsy, psychomotor developmental disorders, during recovery from a stroke, in case of depression in children and adults, in the treatment of hospitalism and acute stress disorders, psychological trauma. Canine therapy dogs are successfully used for socialization and adaptation to the daily life of children and adults with various mental disorders: autism, Down syndrome. Such dogs can provide assistance in schools, hospitals, nursing homes, boarding schools, hospices, disaster areas.
People with movement problems are often unable to reach home elements such as a doorknob or a light switch and have to rely on specially trained dogs to help them in their daily lives. They pick up objects, bring things, open and close doors, turn lights on and off, and perform many other functions.
Help blind and visually impaired people to move outdoors and avoid obstacles, warn of obstacles on the way. In addition, dogs are trained to carry out basic commands, fetch and serve objects.
Hearing Service Dogs
Hearing-impaired people rely on hearing dogs. These dogs are specially trained to understand the owner’s daily environment. A person sees the reaction of a dog hearing certain sounds, and acts accordingly. They can also work outside the home, alerting their owner to car horns, and sounding an alarm if someone calls the owner by name.
Seizure Alert Dogs
This new type of service dog has not been around for more than 10 years, but has already had a profound impact on people with some types of epilepsy. Specially trained dogs feel the approach of a seizure at the first, only noticeable signs, and a person has time to take measures in advance and protect himself from an epileptic seizure.
In addition, they can wake up someone suffering from bad breathing or alert others to urgent medical attention.
Diabetes Alert Dogs
They are trained to detect high (hyperglycemia) or low (hypoglycemia) blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and to alert their wearers to dangerous changes in blood glucose levels. Not every dog can do this, and puppies are thoroughly tested before being accepted into the training program.
Severe Allergy Alert Dogs
These dogs recognize allergens that are dangerous to humans by smell, and warn their owner about life-threatening allergens.
*Image by CLVann