While many of us picture our beloved dogs as family members or best friends, it’s easy to forget that dogs traditionally, and still in many ways today, were designed to perform specific jobs. We developed countless breeds to aid in the workforce in farms, the police force, hunting, and so much more. However, there are so many other ways dogs still aid us in the modern day.
Service animals are a newer job description that dogs have fallen into and one they excel at. Let’s take a look at all the amazing things a service dog has to offer.
What Are Service Dogs?
Under the American Disability Act of 1990, service dogs are defined as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform a task for people with disabilities.”
When trained correctly, a service dog is able to aid a disabled person in caring for their health, warn them about oncoming health emergencies, or simply help make the outside world a little more accessible.
Service dogs are specifically bred, and there are many charities and organizations that specialize in breeding the perfect dogs for these tasks. The most common breeds you’ll find working as a service dog are Labradors and Golden Retrievers. This is due to their eager-to-please attitudes and how easy they are to train.
That doesn’t mean other breeds can’t be perfect service dogs too. Other breeds found to be effective service dogs are German Shepherds, Poodles, Burmese Mountain dogs, and, of course, Greyhounds.
Can Greyhounds be Service Dogs?
Greyhounds can be service dogs. In fact, they make excellent service animals for anyone with special needs. They excel as guide dogs, emotional support and therapy dogs, as well as mobility assistance dogs.
Service dogs are more often picked based on their character, rather than their exact breed. An effective service dog needs to be intelligent, and gentle, have a calm demeanor, and have a strong desire to work.
A dog with a larger build will have a much easier time carrying out physical tasks too. And a Greyhound’s high stamina level can mean they’re able to work for longer periods. A Greyhound service dog can be a perfect match for anyone in need.
Are Greyhounds Good Service Dogs?
It’s hard to say outright if Greyhounds are good service dogs. The ability to be a good service dog relies on the personal strengths of each individual dog, and not the breed as a whole. A Greyhound would definitely be better fitted to certain roles than others.
Greyhounds are known to be a little difficult to train and sometimes take a little longer to learn commands than other breeds. This might be a slight setback, but if you’re determined for a Greyhound service dog or a Greyhound emotional support animal, then all it will take is a little more focus and patience.
Types of Service Dogs
There are thousands of potential disabilities a person may have, and it’s hard to think that a dog may be the answer for them. Of course, a dog isn’t a cure, it won’t make symptoms disappear or reduce pain.
But a trained service dog can help in so many other ways. In recent times, there has been such a big development in the world of service dogs. More and more research is going into what dogs are truly capable of, and that has led service dog users, commonly referred to as handlers, to be able to further train or acquire a service dog that is able to help them in such specific ways.
Guide dogs are the most common type of service dog. These dogs are specifically trained to use their senses to help blind or visually impaired people navigate the outside world, or even help within their own homes.
To fully train a guide dog, can take around 2 years. The beginning of their training is more general. They are very thoroughly socialized, desensitized to potential fears and triggers, and heavily assessed on their strengths and weaknesses.
As they age into adulthood, this is where they would spend around 5 to 8 months being specifically trained to complete guide dog tasks.
While handlers can sometimes train their own service dogs, this is usually not the case with guide dogs. Due to the nature of the disability, it can pose great difficulty for them to train their own dog.
This doesn’t mean they are excluded from the training process. In fact, many charities that train service dogs will let the future handler partake in training as much as they are able to.
This can help grow the bond and trust between the dog and the handler. This is incredibly important, as this guide dog may be working with them for the next 8 to 10 years.
Greyhounds as Guide Dogs
Having a Greyhound be a guide dog would be the best role for their abilities. Greyhounds are sighthounds, meaning they would traditionally hunt prey using their sight instead of their other senses.
This trait would make them exceptional guide dogs. A Greyhound service dog would be better at noticing and identifying changes in an environment that another breed could possibly miss.
A hearing dog is a newer type of service dog. But that doesn’t make their job any less important. A hearing dog is made to help someone that is deaf or hearing impaired. These dogs are trained to alert to important sounds in the environment that their handler would otherwise miss.
These can be simple sounds like a doorbell or a text message, but they can be extremely helpful in emergencies. If a security alarm goes off, or a fire alarm, the dog will be able to alert, and the handler will be able to get them both to safety.
Similarly to guide dogs, hearing dogs are most commonly raised and trained by charities, as a deaf handler would face the same issues a blind person would in training their dog.
Training a hearing dog would take about 18 to 24 months. With the first 18 months of its life being basic to advanced training. This service dog would be taught to ignore distractions, socialize with other dogs, humans, and other animals, and be desensitized to anything intimidating they could potentially face while working.
There is a big emphasis on desensitizing them to sounds, which is no surprise. A hearing dog triggered by loud noises wouldn’t be ideal! The last 6 months of training would be direct hearing dog training, teaching them to alert to a large variety of sounds.
Greyhounds as Hearing Dogs
Greyhounds might not be best suited for this role. They have been known to fear loud noises and while they may be able to conduct day-to-day functions effectively, it is a possibility that they will be faced with a louder noise such as a fire alarm.
Using a Greyhound to play this role type of service dog might fail to achieve its goal if it’s under too much stress.
Allergy Detection Dogs
Allergy detection dogs are dogs that are specifically trained to detect certain allergens in food or in the environment. These service dogs are paired with a handler that has an extreme allergy to certain substances.
One of the most common substances these dogs are trained to detect is gluten. They are the perfect option for someone with celiac disease.
These service dogs are trained similarly to how a drug or bomb detection dog is. Like previous types of service dogs, it can take about 1 to 2 years to train an allergy-detection dog. The selection process is a little more specific.
While all dogs have an extremely keen sense of smell, not all dogs are able to detect ingredients as easily as others. In some cases, dogs will undergo the entirety of basic and advanced training for the trainer to realize they just can’t detect the allergen very well at all.
However, for those dogs, there is no need to dwell. They will most likely face early retirement and be placed in a loving home or possibly be selected to perform a different type of service duty.
Greyhounds as Allergy Detection Dogs
While Greyhounds aren’t originally made to use their sense of smell as much as other dogs, their noses are still incredibly sensitive. Using a Greyhound as a service dog to detect gluten or other allergens may be a great fit. Your service dog may be able to better pick up on certain scents than other dogs.
Seizure Alert and Response Dog
Seizure Alert and Response dogs are service dogs that are trained to help people who experience epileptic seizures. They are able to detect and alert of an oncoming seizure and provide physical and emotional support during a seizure.
These service dogs can potentially search or call for help if their handler requires medical assistance during a seizure, and provide physical support after a seizure has ended.
Service dogs are quite commonly paired with children with epilepsy. They are a great way to provide comfort for them while they are struggling to deal with their condition.
Having a service dog can also provide comfort to the family. They can bring a little peace of mind knowing their child will be safe and cared for while they are at school or at other activities.
The time it takes to train a seizure alert and response dog is slightly shorter than other types of service dogs. It usually takes up to 18 months for one to be fully trained. They stay with the handler for about 8 to 9 years before retiring.
Some of the tasks the dog is trained to do are: lying next to someone to prevent injury, placing their body between the handler and the floor to break the fall when a seizure occurs, and activating a device that would alert a designated person that a seizure is occurring.
Greyhounds as Seizure Alert and Response Dogs
A Greyhound could make a great seizure-alert dog. If they need to break the fall of someone seizing, their strong stature and strength can better help them prevent injury. As Greyhounds often have a loud bark, this helps them draw attention to their owner if they need help.
Emotional Support and Therapy Dogs
This type of service animal is slightly different than the rest. While all service dogs provide a level of support and comfort for their owner. They also carry out physical tasks to help them in their day-to-day lives.
Emotional support dogs aren’t trained to carry out physical tasks. Their only duty is to provide emotional support for the owner.
Any breed of dog can be an emotional support animal, or any service animal could technically be one. The training can be whatever you want it to be and has no time limit. It’s always recommended to do basic training, to ensure it can remain safe in the home and out and about.
As they aren’t trained to conduct any specific tasks, emotional support dogs are not legally recognized as service dogs. Therefore they don’t have the same freedoms as a true service dog would.
It’s not permitted to enter any establishments or services that a normal pet wouldn’t be allowed to enter. So an emotional service dog owner would be restricted to normal pet-friendly locations.
Greyhounds as Emotional Support and Therapy Dogs
Having a Greyhound emotional support animal may be a great option. Greyhounds are extremely loveable dogs and care deeply for their owners. They are a wonderful companion for anyone who may be struggling with mental health and need an extra shoulder to lean on.
A Greyhound does have high exercise needs and requires long, stimulating walks. This could sound daunting for someone struggling, however, it could be a great motivator to get someone out and about. A Greyhound therapy dog can help offer emotional support and physical motivation to their owner.
Mobility Assistance Dog
A mobility assistance dog is a service dog that is assigned to help a person with limited mobility during their daily activities. These dogs will most commonly be seen assisting a wheelchair user, but they aren’t limited to just them. They can be used by anyone with mobility issues that would benefit from support.
The official training for these dogs only lasts around 6-12 months, but their training never really ends. These dogs are constantly learning new tasks, or relearning old ones that aren’t used often. A mobility assistance dog’s knowledge is ever-growing. They need to be able to learn new skills constantly to keep up with the changing needs of their owner.
These dogs are the easiest dog to be trained by the handler directly. This type of service dog is much more commonly used in the home, and not just when completing activities or errands outside.
Greyhounds as Mobility Assistance Dogs
In their role of service dogs, Greyhounds have the potential to truly succeed. Greyhounds have an innate want to be seen as equal to their owner. They have a deep need to work with, and not for someone. Being a mobility assistance dog would allow them to truly feel they are working with someone to achieve even simple daily activities.
How to get a Greyhound Service Dog
Getting a Greyhound service animal might be a little tricky. While they can make great service dogs, many organizations that breed, raise, and train service dogs opt for slightly more reliable breeds like the Labrador or Golden Retriever.
You will probably have to search independently for a Greyhound breeder that is able to produce puppies with the ideal traits. This would mean you would have to train your future service dog yourself.
There is an option of sourcing a professional trainer to help you. Many organizations will still be willing to help in their training and give advice, so you won’t be on your own.
There is also the option of adopting a rescue Greyhound. This isn’t recommended if you’re wanting to use them as a full-service dog. Service dogs need to be trained as a puppy as they have no previous knowledge or experience. A rescue has lived a whole life before you. They might already understand basic or advanced training, but they would take longer to learn new commands. They may also have deep-rooted fears they can’t overcome that would prevent them from working effectively.
A rescue would make a perfect Greyhound therapy dog. They don’t need any complex training and it will be easier to work around any potential triggers or fears they have.
Do I Need Documents to Prove My Greyhound is a Service Dog
Not at all! Under the American Disability Act of 1990, no service dog or service animal requires any documents, certificates, or licenses to prove they’re a service dog or service animal. So beware online, there are many scams out there that try to sell you ‘service dog licenses.’ These have no legal standing.
Some establishments such as universities or workplaces may have a voluntary register. Here, you can register that you have a service animal in case of an emergency. This is so emergency responders know there is someone who may potentially need more help.
Can an Italian Greyhound be a service dog?
Yes, an Italian Greyhound can be trained as a service dog for people with disabilities. Italian Greyhounds are highly intelligent and affectionate dogs that have the potential to excel as service dogs.
Their small size makes them well-suited to working in close quarters, such as those found in homes and public spaces. These dogs are also highly trainable, which makes them an excellent choice for those looking to train their service dog.
However, it is important to remember that becoming a service dog requires extensive training, patience, and commitment from both the dog and the owner. A well-trained Italian Greyhound service dog can provide a wide range of support, from assisting with mobility to offering emotional support.
Suppose you’re considering training an Italian Greyhound to be a service dog. In that case, working with a professional pet trainer is essential to ensure that the dog receives the proper training and socialization necessary for success in this role.
Can a Whippet be a service dog?
Yes, a whippet can be a service dog. Service dogs are trained to assist individuals with disabilities in their daily activities. It’s important to note that they are typically chosen based on temperament, trainability, and physical ability to perform specific tasks.
While the most common breeds used as service dogs are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, any breed, including Whippets, can be trained to be a service dog.
It’s essential to remember that not all dogs are suitable for service work, and it’s important to thoroughly assess the individual dog’s abilities and suitability for the task. Service dog training requires a significant time investment, patience, and consistency, but a Whippet can make an excellent service dog with proper training.
- How Long Do Greyhounds Live? Factors You NEED to Know! - March 17, 2023
- Italian Greyhound Min Pin Mix: Ultimate Toy Breed - February 10, 2023
- Greyhound Freezing on Walks: ‘Statue’ Freeze Background and Tips - February 10, 2023