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Service Dog Facts: 5 Things You May Not Know

Service Dog FactsMan’s best friend is always finding new ways to help us out! Every day service dogs are performing tasks for their human counterparts, from the traditional, such as “seeing-eye” guide dogs, to the brand new, such as seizure detection or being a support system for someone with MS (check out Tyffanie and Zeus). Here are some service dog facts that you may not know about these hard working canines:

1. “The Vest” is a uniform: Handlers will put the vest on their service dogs for two reasons.  First, to give humans a heads up that this dog is on the job.  Second, to let the service dog herself know that it’s time for business! Many service dogs are trained from puppyhood to know that the vest means it’s time for work and time to focus.

2. Yes, they do get time off! Just like the rest of us, service dogs need to blow off some steam at the end of a long day. When they get the okay from their handlers, service dogs love to let loose and play ball, go swimming, or roll in something smelly. Service dogs still get to be their doggy selves, off the clock.

3. They might not seem like they’re working, but they are.  People will often ask handlers who “seem fine” why they have a service animal, or assume that the dog isn’t working. Some service dogs are trained to guide their owners to a safe place in case of emergency, or remind them to take important medication. Never try to distract or touch a service dog unless you’ve spoken to the handler first!

4. Their jobs are private information, just like medical history. When there is a service dog on premises, proprietors can only ask two questions. First, “Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?” and second, “What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?” All other information is protected by medical privacy and the handler is not obligated to provide proof of their disability or proof of the dog’s training.

5. They love their jobs! Many handlers find themselves accused of working a service dog too hard, all day every day. The truth is that these pooches love to work! Having a job and designated tasks to perform provides a service dog with physical, mental, and emotional enrichment that they might not receive as pet dogs. They love their handlers, and they love to work. Check out Erin and Sky, who have made this awesome video about their relationship!

Want to know more about service dogs out and about? Check out the Americans with Disabilities Act section about service animals. If you think you or someone you know could benefit from a service dog, check out this article that walks you through what the process of what it’s like to apply for and attain a service dog. If you’ve already decided that a canine caregiver would be a good match for you, check out this directory that can help you find a trainer in your area.


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