Service dogs can be an amazingly vital part of an individual’s life, whether they are there for emotional support or to assist in performing daily tasks.
For this reason, it is important that the breeds of dogs chosen to be trained as service dogs have the right disposition. They must also have the ability to be properly trained in service tasks in order to fully assist individuals with disabilities.
An example of a dog breed that is particularly suited to be a service dog is the golden retriever.
This dog is gentle, intelligent, and reliable, making it a perfect candidate for service dog training.
Along with Labradors, Poodles and German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers are some of the most popular service dog breeds.
Golden Retrievers are intelligent, easy to train, reliable and loyal dogs that are perfect for service. These dogs are naturally sensitive to people being hurt or injured and only need a little training to be of service.
This good-natured dog breed is one of the most common service dog breeds. Golden Retrievers can function as emotional support animals for many disabilities.
Because they are gentle and attentive, they work well with children. But their size and discipline also make them suitable as ESAs for adults.
People with depression can also benefit from a Golden’s sunny, silly, playful nature.
Why are Golden Retrievers good service dogs?
It is important that a service dog has a number of characteristics that make it a good candidate for learning skills and supporting its owner.
Service dogs must be able to learn skills relatively quickly, be socialized in a number of different environments, and have the size and strength to perform the tasks necessary for their owners.
They must also be friendly and attentive without being overly reactive or aggressive toward other people or animals.
With these attributes in mind, it’s easy to see why golden retrievers make fantastic service dogs.
Golden retrievers are incredibly loyal and predisposed to following their owner, which can be very helpful for an individual who needs their service dog to stay by their side for long periods of time.
They are very friendly in nature and have a tendency to be affectionate with everyone they meet; this makes it easy to take a golden into different social settings and around different people and animals without them becoming angry or aggressive.
Golden retrievers also learn quickly and love to perform tasks for their owners; originally bred as hunting dogs who were given the task of retrieving downed ducks, golden retrievers love the challenge of learning new skills and having the chance to prove themselves to their owners.
Also, being a medium sized dog, they are very well suited for tasks that require a little more strength and height, such as opening doors, pushing buttons, and supporting their owners with their bodies.
What tasks can a Golden Retriever perform?
Golden Retrievers can perform almost any task assigned to them with the right training, but there are some responsibilities for which they are better suited than others.
Acting as a guide dog is where many golden retrievers shine. Guide dogs need to be active and attentive to their surroundings, which is something that golden’s excel at, being a larger breed that loves the outdoors. Guide dogs also need to learn a wide range of skills and tasks to help their owner, which golden retrievers are able to do and enjoy doing.
Mobility Assistance Dogs
As their name implies, golden retrievers love to retrieve. They are a good choice for a mobility assistance dog because they are able to learn commands quickly and enjoy bringing things to their owner. The size of a golden retriever also makes them particularly well suited to open doors, move objects and provide mental assistance to their owner.
Because they are very sensitive to the people around them, golden retrievers are very well suited to become therapy dogs.
They are often seen working in hospitals to provide comfort to patients and are often able to become emotional service animals (keep in mind that ESAs are different from service dogs in terms of legal protections).
Goldens are calm and naturally willing to be friendly and affectionate, one of the most important traits needed in a therapy dog.
Difference Between Service Dog, Therapy Dog And Emotional Support Dog
A common mistake people make is confusing service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support dogs.
They are trained differently, have different rights, and provide different services.
Service dogs are trained to perform specific actions to help their handler, while emotional support and therapy dogs are not.
For example, a service dog that is trained to help someone suffering from seizures may alert the person to an impending seizure, keep them safe during the seizure, or go get help.
This is not to minimize the tremendous value that therapy and emotional support dogs provide, but it does mean that these groups may have different rights.
Service dogs are generally allowed wherever people are.
Therapy dogs provide comfort to people in places like hospitals, nursing homes, airports or even schools.
One popular group of therapy dogs is the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs.
They are a group of golden retrievers (and their handlers) who are deployed to disaster areas that need their comfort.
For example, after the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Pulse Nightclub, the K-9 Comfort Dogs were there to help.
One difference between therapy dogs and service dogs is that therapy dogs are trained to help many people, while service dogs are trained to help one specific person.
Emotional Support Dogs
Emotional support dogs help someone deal with things like anxiety, depression, phobias, or loneliness.
Like service dogs (and unlike therapy dogs), they help a specific person.
Emotional support dogs must be prescribed by a mental health professional, and they may have rights like being allowed in apartments that don’t have pet policies.
They also used to have the right to fly, but that is changing.