Australian Shepherds are known for being one of the most versatile dog breeds in the world. They are often used as working dogs on farms and ranches, but can they also be used as service dogs? In this blog post, we will take a closer look at Australian Shepherds and their suitability as service dogs.
First, What is a Service Dog?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service animal as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.” A service dog is a dog that has been trained to perform certain tasks that assist its disabled handler. These tasks can include things like providing assistance with balance, picking up dropped items, opening doors, or even alerting their handler to an impending seizure. Service dogs are usually individually trained to meet the specific needs of their handlers.
Are Therapy Dogs The Same As Service Dogs?
Therapy dogs are not considered service animals under the ADA, but they perform a similar function. Therapy dogs provide comfort and companionship to people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other settings. They are usually trained to be gentle and calm around people, and their handlers often work with them on a volunteer basis.
Therapy & Emotional Support Dogs are not the same as Service Dogs. Therapy dogs provide comfort and companionship to people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other settings. These dogs are usually not individually trained to perform specific tasks for their handlers.
Emotional Support Dogs provide emotional support and comfort to their owners who have a mental disabilities such as anxiety or depression. Again, these dogs do not perform specific tasks for their handlers but their presence is often therapeutic for their owners.
Who Benefits Most From Emotional Support Dogs?
- Anxiety Sufferers
- Depression Sufferers
- Bipolar disorder Sufferers
- Panic attack Sufferers
- Social phobias & agoraphobia Sufferers
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Sufferers
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Sufferers
Who Benefits Most From Service Dogs?
Service dogs are extremely versatile and can handle almost any task. Due to the fact that service dogs have a pretty defined job, they can specialize in a few specific categories. The most common service dog categories are:
Allergy Detection Dogs
Allergy detection dogs are trained to alert their handlers when they come into contact with substances that their handler is allergic to. This can be a life-saving ability for people who suffer from severe allergies.
Guide dogs are probably the most well-known type of service dog. These dogs are trained to lead blind or visually impaired people around obstacles.
Hearing dogs are trained to alert their deaf or hard-of-hearing handlers to various sounds such as doorbells, smoke alarms, and phones.
Medical Alert Dogs
Medical alert dogs are trained to detect changes in their handler’s blood sugar levels or to alert their handler to an impending seizure. These dogs can provide a measure of independence and security for their handlers.
Seizure Alert Dogs
Seizure alert dogs are trained to detect changes in their handler’s body that indicate an oncoming seizure. These dogs can then warn their handlers and help them to get to a safe place.
Mobility Assistance Dogs
Mobility assistance dogs are trained to help people who have difficulty walking. These dogs can provide stability and support for their handlers when walking, going up and down stairs, or getting in and out of chairs. Australian Shepherds make great mobility assistance dogs because of their strong build and athletic abilities.
Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSD)
Many people who experience difficulty in their day-to-day life due to one or more of the following find comfort in having a furry friend that also doubles as a psychiatric service dog.
- Bipolar disorders
- Panic attacks
- Social phobias & agoraphobia
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Australian Shepherds as Service Dogs
Australian Shepherds are intelligent, loyal, and hardworking dogs that make excellent service animals. They are often used as working dogs on farms and ranches, but can also be trained to perform specific tasks for their disabled handlers. Australian Shepherds are large dogs, and their handlers often work with them on a volunteer basis.
Australian Shepherds are generally considered great service dogs if they are properly trained and cared for. If you’re considering either getting an Australian Shepherd as a psychiatric service dog
or training your current Aussie to become recognized as a psychiatric service dog (or any other specific type of service dog), the good news is that it’s doable. It may require a few months of dedicated work with training your Aussie, but it’s definitely possible.
Common Tasks For Service Animals
Service animals are usually trained to perform specific tasks for their handlers. Some common tasks that service animals (and Australian Shepherds) can be trained to do include:
- Assisting with one’s balance
- Taking items off the ground and putting them back on their hooks or shelves
- Keeping an eye on one’s surroundings and being prepared for anything
- Alerting & preparing for seizures
- Low blood sugar levels
Common Traits of A Good Service Dog
When do you think of a service dog that performs its job well, what traits come to mind? Most great service dogs have a combination of the following traits or skills:
- Calmness under pressure
- The ability to stay focused
- A gentle and loving demeanor
- Strong drive to please their owner
Do Australian Shepherds Make Good Service Dogs?
Yes! Australian Shepherds can make great service dogs because of their loyalty, obedience, and trainability. They are also very intelligent and have an impressively strong work ethic. Australian Shepherds are generally considered great service dogs if they are properly trained and cared for.
If you’re considering either getting an Australian Shepherd as a psychiatric service dog or training your current Aussie to become recognized as a psychiatric service dog (or any other specific type of service dog), the good news is that it’s definitely doable. It may require a few months of dedicated work with training your Aussie, but it’s definitely possible.
Australian Shepherds are intelligent, hardworking, and loyal dogs that make great service dogs. Australian Shepherds are often used as working dogs on farms and ranches, but can also be trained to perform specific tasks for their disabled handlers. Australian Shepherds are usually required to have a high level of obedience and must be able to perform their tasks even in distraction-filled environments.
How To Train Your Australian Shepherd To Become A Psychiatric Service Dog
There are a number of books, courses, and training exercises that you can find online that will help you train your Australian Shepherd to become a psychiatric service dog.
However – it’s important to note that in order to have your Australian Shepherd viewed as a psychiatric service dog under the eyes of the law, you will need to jump through a few additional hoops. One of those hoops is getting your PSD letter from a licensed therapist. There are a number of programs out there that make is easy to accomplish. Certapet is one service that comes to mind – they make it super easy to get that emotional support letter. Once that letter is in hand, you’re good to go.
Australian Shepherds can make phenomenal service dogs when properly trained. Due to the fact that Australian shepherds are extremely intelligent, loyal, and eager to please their owner(s), they often end up being great service animals.
Those who are serious about getting their Aussie trained to be a service dog typically dedicate several months (up to a year) to training their Aussie.
Can Any Dog Be a Service Dog?
No, not every dog can be a service animal. To be considered a potential service animal, dogs must have certain temperament traits and skill sets that enable them to perform specific tasks for their handlers. Australian Shepherds are often considered great service animals because of their intelligence, trainability, and loyalty.
What Is the Best Age to Start Training an Aussie as a Service Dog?
The best age to start training an Australian Shepherd as a service dog is typically around 12-18 months old. This is because Australian Shepherds mature relatively quickly and are able to start learning complex tasks at a young age.
How To Get an Australian Shepherd Service Dog for PTSD?
If you’d like to get an Australian Shepherd as a service dog for PTSD, consider exploring the K9s For Warriors website to learn more about that process.
Are Australian Shepherd Service Dogs Allowed Everywhere?
No, Australian Shepherd service dogs are not allowed everywhere. There are certain places where service animals are not allowed, such as in areas where food is prepared or served (e.g., restaurants).
However, Australian Shepherds that have been trained as psychiatric service animals may be allowed in some places that other types of service animals would not be allowed (e.g., hospitals). Australian Shepherds that have been trained as service animals for other disabilities may also be allowed in places where other types of service animals would not be allowed. It really depends on the specific laws and regulations in your area.
Does Insurance Cover Australian Shepherd Service Dogs?
Australian Shepherd service dogs may be covered by insurance, but it depends on the specific insurance company and policy. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of training an Australian Shepherd to become a service dog, while others may only cover the cost of purchasing a trained Australian Shepherd service dog. It’s always best to check with your specific insurance company to see what they specifically offer for you.
How Much Does an Australian Shepherd Service Dog Cost?
There is no simple answer here. Consider speaking with an Australian Shepherd service dog seller to learn more. The cost of an Australian Shepherd service dog varies depending on a number of factors, such as the specific training required and whether you purchase a trained Australian Shepherd service dog or train one yourself. Each service dog provider sets its own unique prices.
How Long Does It Take To Train an Australian Shepherd Service Dog?
If you stay consistent and regularly train your Australian Shepherd, It should take you a few months to up to a year.
Are Service Animals Required To Be Registered?
Be sure to read your local laws, as they typically drive the requirements for registering your Australian Shepherd service dog.
Registration for service animals, in general, According to the ADA Website, “Service animals are subject to local dog licensing and registration requirements.”