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Hunting Dogs as Therapy and Service Dogs

  • Date: 2009/01/23 (Rev: 2014/04/29) Lizzie Novotny
  • Synopsis : Many sporting or hunting dog breeds are used for service dog training to help people with a disability or as therapy in hospitals and nursing homes.

Main Document

A service dog is generally an assistance dog who is trained to help people with a disability.

Many private organizations raise service dogs with the help of prison inmates or families as puppy-raisers. Puppies learn obedience and basic life skills (socialization) until they are old enough for specific training. Other people train their own dogs at home.

Some Breeds Of Hunting Dogs Make Good Assistance Dogs

In the U.S. the disabled and their service dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) which gives them equal access to anywhere the general public is allowed, such as restaurants, taxis, and aircraft, as well as provides protection for handlers living in places "pets" are generally not allowed.

"Canine Companions for Independence" is one organization that helps people in need of service dogs. They primarily use Golden Retrievers and Labradors for service dog training.

How Is A Therapy Dog Used

Hunting dogs also excel at therapy dog training. Therapy dogs visit nursing home residents, people in hospitals, and children in schools. They are used for emotional support and for educational purposes. Therapy dogs cheer and comfort people.

Therapy dogs usually need to be certified before some places will accept them. Therapy Dogs International, Inc., and the Delta Society are two well-known therapy dog groups. They provide a great service. Dog training is often performed using volunteers.

Rescue Dog Training Can Mean The Difference Between Life and Death

  • The sporting breeds are also superb when it comes to rescue dog training.
  • Many of the best search and rescue dogs are sporting breeds.
  • They are agile, athletic, intelligent and aware of the job that need to get done.
  • The same good nose and sensitivity that works in the field can be put to good use when it comes to finding a missing person or a lost pet.
  • Some of the SAR (search and rescue) dogs used following 9/11 were sporting breeds.

What is seeing eye dog training

People everywhere identify Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers as preeminent seeing eye dogs. Guide Dogs for the Blind base their breeding program on Labs and Goldens, with a small number of Lab/Golden crosses because these breeds excel at their tasks and have the specific qualities needed for seeing eye dog training.

How Does hearing dog training Work

Hunting dogs also make good hearing dogs for the deaf and hard of hearing. With training, these dogs alert their owners to a variety of household sounds such as a door knock or doorbell, alarm clock, oven buzzer, telephone, baby cry, or smoke alarm.

Dogs are trained to make physical contact and lead their deaf partners to the source of the sound.

Any breed can be trained to be a hearing dog as they are generally small to medium in size. Hearing dogs are identified by an orange collar and leash and/or vest. (Dogs for Deaf and Disabled Americans) is the oldest continuing hearing dog program in the country.

Assistance dog training covers dogs with service dog training, hearing dog training, and seeing eye dogs. Some dogs can even be taught to recognize the signs of an impending illness, such as an asthma attack, epilepsy or a diabetic emergency.

Many dogs perform lifesaving actions by alerting their owners or other family members to a medical emergency. Sporting dogs, with their sensitivity and their intelligence, have frequently saved lives with their service dog training.

Reference: Lizzie Novotny R.N has a researched and informative website about dogs, especially the sporting dog breeds. She raises, trains and shows dogs and horses, and is familiar with all aspects of their care. Find answers to your dog-related questions by visiting her website www.the-hunting-dog.com

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