We know that dogs can perform a large number of tasks entrusted to them by humans. We have used dogs as helpers in hunting for more than 20,000 years, and some historians say this is the main reason why a connection was created between man and dog.
Over the last 100 years, we have begun to realize that dogs can be used to help people with physical and mental problems and since then helper dogs have gained in importance.
Not all dogs can become helper dogs. Some dogs are too confused, and each individual helper dog needs to undergo special training.
What is a helper dog?
A helper dog is a dog that is trained to help meet the daily individual needs of users. This means that each helper dog is trained to help one person and meet their unique needs. There are special dog training courses that train dogs to help blind people or people with any physical or mental problem.
What types of helper dogs exist?
In this modern world, the term “helper dog” is often used too liberally, and people choose to just name their dogs “helpers”. Helping dogs can be divided into eight groups, and these groups are:
-Dogs that help with seizures
-Autism help dogs
-Dogs that help with medical alerts
-Dogs to detect allergies
-Dogs to help with PTSD
-Dogs to help diabetics
These are roles that “real” helper dogs can play, and other types like “emotional support dogs” are not considered helper dogs. Emotional support dogs provide support and comfort to their owners and are not trained to perform a particular task for a person with a disability.
Which breeds are allowed to become helper dogs?
The law does not prohibit any dog from becoming a helper. Even foster parents can become helpers if they are trained to perform a particular task. Certain breeds have a specific character that allows them to be excellent helpers, and that is why they are most often used.
What are the most popular breeds of helpers?
Helping dogs can be small or large; the only question is what tasks they are qualified for. If a person with walking difficulties needs a helper dog to help them walk, then taking a small breed of helper dog would not be the best idea.
The most popular breeds of helper dogs are:
- Great Dane
- Bernese Mountain Dog
What kind of helper dog should he be?
As we have learned, helper dogs can be of different sizes and energy levels. However, some breeds share common characteristics that all helpers should have. They are extremely easy to train, are intelligent, calm and usually have a calm demeanor with the ability to concentrate on their owner at all times.
Helping dog training
Helping dogs can help in many situations and can significantly improve the lives of their owners. However, training a helper dog can be quite long and expensive. Training costs can reach a staggering $ 15,000 depending on the task for which the individual helper dog is trained.
Helpers can perform very complex tasks, and their training can take up to two years. All professional dog trainers begin by planning a course and assessing the capabilities of an individual dog.
The first step in training a helper dog is to teach him basic commands like “sit”, “by the leg”, “wait” or “lie down”. This will give the trainer a clear insight into the dog’s ability and ability to become a helper.
The second step is to start testing the dog’s ability to follow commands under certain circumstances. Coaches are starting to include distractions like food, people, crowds and traffic. A good helper dog should always follow your commands, no matter where you are and no matter the environment.
The third and most important step is to train the dogs for the specific tasks they need to perform for their future owner. These tasks can include complex and complicated things like dialing 911 in an emergency, closing the door, turning off the lights, and so on. It all depends on the needs of people with disabilities.
In order for a particular dog to become a helper, that dog should in 90% of cases successfully complete the task on the first command given. This complex training can last up to 2 years, so it is no wonder that the price of a professionally trained helper dog is high.
Can helper dogs be trained at home?
Yes, you can train a helper dog yourself, but only if you are registered with the competent ministry as a natural or legal person qualified to train dogs.
The law allows dogs trained by a trained owner to become helper dogs, so if you have the time and resources to train a dog yourself, feel free to do so. Just keep in mind that a year to two trainings is a very long period, and even professional trainers cannot guarantee that a particular dog will “graduate” into a functional helper dog.
Does the helper dog have to wear an identification mark?
By law, a helper dog is required to wear special identification tags, such as a vest. Helper dog vests usually have a clear message that the dogs are in the process of training or have become helper dogs. You should never interfere with a dog in the performance of its duty. Helping dogs are working animals that are “on duty” 24 hours a day.
Can an official dog be barred from entering public places?
Prohibiting the entry of people with disabilities and their assistance dogs is against the law. People with disabilities must have the same opportunities as everyone else. It is also important to distinguish a helper dog from a “emotional support” dog who is not considered a helper. If you are a business owner and have a customer with a assistance dog, you may be required by law to present your ID and if the ID is valid, any further refusal of the service or ban on entering the premises may be punishable by a fine.
You should know that you, as the owner of the business, and neither your employees should ask for a demonstration of the assistance dog’s qualifications or any additional confirmation if the person has presented a certificate with a certificate.
Asking for a card is the best and safest way to determine if a dog is really a helper or someone just wants to bring their dog with them without adhering to any measures and regulations.