With their boop-worthy noses, wagging tails and puppy eyes, dogs make our lives whole. For some of us with special needs, service dogs can do so much more. These dogs help patients deal with physical and mental disabilities and assist them in day-to-day activities. Here are some of the best service dogs in India and how they help us:
What is the difference between service dogs and therapy dogs?
The above terms are used interchangeably, so before we take a look at service dog breeds in India, it’s important to understand the difference.
Therapy dogs are mostly used for rendering emotional support and alleviating stress in places such as hospitals, old age homes, schools, airports etc. In this form of animal-assisted therapy, dogs can treat multiple people at the same time.
Service dogs are trained to perform very specific tasks such as providing mobility support, detecting seizures, assisting deaf and blind individuals etc. They are used to provide assistance to only one human at a time.
What are the traits of a good service dog?
Dog breeds with a mild temperament, healthy physique and an ability to pick up new skills make good service dogs. That being said, not every dog of the breeds mentioned below can be trained to become a service dog. It varies from dog to dog.
Service dog breed #1: Labrador retriever
As their name suggests, Labrador retriever dogs are good at retrieving and carrying objects, especially huge ones. Their high endurance is a big help for people confined to a wheel chair or those suffering from mobility issues.
They are energetic and receptive to a wide range of commands. Labradors are also ideal guide dogs and help lead people who are visually impaired.
With their quick-thinking nature, they can perform a multitude of tasks such as alert against intruders, get help in emergencies etc.
Service dog breed #2: Golden retriever
With their gentle temperament and eager-to-please nature, golden retrievers are one of the best service dog breeds in India.
They are commonly used for treating children with autism and adults with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They do this by gently intervening when individuals try to hurt themselves.
Commonly used as therapy dogs, they are highly perceptive and can detect seizures. They are also used as guide dogs for those with visual and hearing impairments.
Service dog breed #3: German shepherd
Intelligence, stamina and leadership makes this breed shine as service dogs. They are extremely loyal and hence from a strong bond with a single individual. They don’t get easily distracted by external stimuli and stay focused on the patient’s well-being at all times.
Given their size and strength, German shepherds can render balance and stability if the need arises.
Their temperament also makes them suited to take care of patients suffering from panic attacks, anxiety and symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.
Service dog breeds #4: Pomeranian
For smaller spaces, this is one of the best service dog breeds in India. This bright dog can instantly detect changes in blood sugar levels, treat psychiatric conditions like PTSD and even warn against an asthma attack.
They are often used as hearing dogs and can alert individuals to knocks on the door, phone calls etc.
Service dog breeds #5: Doberman
Instinctively protective, these service dogs are used to tackle PTSD, separation anxiety, panic attacks etc. Once they form a bond, they remain fiercely loyal and extremely affectionate, providing much needed safety and security to the emotionally vulnerable.
The above breeds can also trained as therapy dogs and some of the most common ones from this list of service dog breeds in India include Labrador retrievers and Golden retrievers.
If you feel your dog has what it takes to become a service dog or therapy dog, consult a canine behaviourist near you to understand how to go start the training process.