8 types of guide dogs and what they do (2023)

The dogs worked on itservice to manfor so many years, if not more, they have served as our sweet and loyal pets. And for people with disabilities, the services dogs can provide are not only helpful, they can even save lives.

It's at least 500,000service dogsin the United States accdivide america. Under theAmericans with Disabilities Act, a service dog is defined as a dog that assists a person with a disability. But the jobs they perform are as diverse as the people they help, and service dogs go through many different types of serviceTrainingand providing different tasks depending on the needs of your handler.

Although they differ fromworking dogs, what all service dogs have in common is their legal right to enter all public spaces (via the rights ofEmotional Support Animals), as well as the fact that they are not "pets", butDogs with very important tasksDo. So what are these jobs? Here are eight types of service dogs and the valuable roles they play.

  • 01ab 08

    guide dogs

    8 types of guide dogs and what they do (1)

    Guide dogs were perhaps the first iteration of service dogs as we know them today. In fact, the oldest recorded example of a guide dog dates back to the first century AD. C., and the active and standardized training of guide dogs dates back to the 18th century.

    A guide dog's job is to help blind or visually impaired people. This includes guiding their handlers around obstacles, helping them navigate public places, and helping them climb stairs. One of the unique characteristics of guide dogs is "selective disobedience", the ability to obey commands but also make decisions based on their own assessment of a situation.

    You typically see guide dogs in a special harness that has a pole for their humans to hold onto for support. They also often wear "Don't Pet Me" vests, an important rule to follow as guide dogs should not be distracted while on the job.

  • 02ab 08

    dogs hear

    8 types of guide dogs and what they do (2)

    Just as guide dogs serve as eyes for people who cannot see, hearing dogs serve as ears for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Hearing dogs are trained to alert their humans to important noises, including doorbells and knocks, as well as fire alarms, babies crying, and alarm clocks.

    Being deaf can be an incredibly isolating experience. By introducing deaf people into the hearing world, hearing dogs help their humans stay connected to their surroundings and function more independently. Based on the sound, hearing dogs make physical contact with their handlers and then lead them toward or away from the source.

  • 03ab 08

    seizure alert dogs

    8 types of guide dogs and what they do (3)

    One of the most impressive traits of dogs is their ability to adapt to subtle changes in human behavior, a trait that can be life-saving for people with epilepsy. Seizure alert dogs are trained to recognize the often elusive signs their owners are about to have a seizure, then alert for help and position themselves to protect the person during a seizure.

    Interestingly, there still isno scientific understandingvonifSeizure alert dogs detect an impending seizure or even prove that dogs can be specially trained to deal with it. Instead, research shows thatSome dogs appear to have innate abilities to recognize seizures, and anecdotally, there's a lot of "evidence" that seizure alert dogs do their job pretty well.

  • 04ab 08

    diabetic alert dogs

    8 types of guide dogs and what they do (4)

    Dogs have around 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses compared to the meager six million we humans have, which makes up their sense of smellbetween 10,000 and 100,000 times sharper than ours. And with impressive olfactory abilities comes the ability to smell things we can't, including chemical changes in blood sugar. For people with diabetes, this means they can be alerted to drops in blood sugar before they reach dangerous levels, and alert others when they're experiencing a critical drop. This gives diabetics a sense of security and independence that they may not have experienced before.

    Continue with 5 of 8 below.

  • 05ab 08

    allergy detection dogs

    8 types of guide dogs and what they do (5)

    For children and adults with allergies, avoiding certain ingredients and substances can be vital. Luckily, there are allergy-sniffing dogs that use their unrivaled sense of smell to detect trace amounts of allergens in the air and food and alert their humans to the allergen's presence. Allergy detection dogs often work with children, escorting them to school and activities so that they are more independent and their parents are calmer.

  • 06ab 08

    mobility assistance dogs

    8 types of guide dogs and what they do (6)

    Mobility assistance dogs perform invaluable tasks for people with limited motor skills, especially those in wheelchairs. They can do everything from wheel wheelchairs up ramps to push elevator buttons, and are often responsible for helping their caregivers with many of the day-to-day actions that many of us take for granted.

    In addition to assisting wheelchair users, mobility assistance dogs also work with people with arthritis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and spinal cord injuries, among others.

  • 07ab 08

    Support Dogs for Autism

    8 types of guide dogs and what they do (7)

    While autism is not a physical disability, autism support dogs play an important role in maintaining their handlers' well-being. Specific duties include helping their caregivers navigate social settings to build their confidence, as well as being trained to keep an eye on autistic children who tend to wander around. Perhaps most importantly, autism support dogs provide non-judgmental companionship and support to autistic individuals who may have difficulty connecting with other people. For this reason, autistic service dogs are useful in helping people with autism improve their communication skills and better regulate their emotions.

  • 08ab 08

    Psychiatric service dogs

    8 types of guide dogs and what they do (8)

    Mental health disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and bipolar disorder can be immensely debilitating. People with these disorders may have difficulty taking care of themselves or leaving the house, and may periodically experience panic attacks or intense feelings of unease in public places. Psychiatric support dogs provide a calming barrier in times of need and can perform a variety of duties including guarding your handler's personal area and turning on lights before your handler enters a room to help you feel safer.

    It is important to note that psychiatric service dogs are not the same asEmotional Support DogsÖTherapiehunde. Although many of their duties are emotionally based, psychiatric service dogs undergo extensive training and are not pets by legal definition.

If you see a service dog in public, it's important that you remember that you have a job to do and should never be distracted verbally or physically, even if you just want to say hello. Also remember that not all disabilities are clear and obvious. Someone with a service dog may seem capable, but their dogs are necessary to help them avoid certain allergens or alert them to impending seizures.

As people gain a better understanding of dogs and their amazing abilities, the list of services andworking dogspecies grows. And whether a dog is a trained companion animal or just a pet, we can all agree: they're pretty amazing.


8 types of guide dogs and what they do? ›

A guide dog is trained to guide his Client in a straight line unless told otherwise; avoiding obstacles on the ground, to both sides and above. He will stop at curbs, stairs, and locate doorways to regularly visited destinations. He should maintain a straight line when crossing a road.

What is a guide dog and what do they do? ›

A guide dog is trained to guide his Client in a straight line unless told otherwise; avoiding obstacles on the ground, to both sides and above. He will stop at curbs, stairs, and locate doorways to regularly visited destinations. He should maintain a straight line when crossing a road.

What are the commands for guide dogs for the blind? ›

The standard obedience commands and exercises are: “Sit”, “Sit and wait”, “Down”, “Down and stay”, “Stand”, “Stand and wait”, “Heel” and “Come” (see Recall documentation for development of “Come” command).

What is the most common guide dog? ›

Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds have been and remain our most common pure breeds on the programme. Historically the Golden Retriever crossed with the Labrador has produced the most successful guide dog of all, combining many of the great traits of both breeds.

What are guide dogs examples? ›

Guide dog breeds are chosen for temperament and trainability. At the moment Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Standard Poodles, German Shepherds, and Golden Retriever/Labrador crosses are most likely to be chosen by service animal facilities. The most popular breed used globally today is the Labrador Retriever.

Can you get a guide dog if your blind in one eye? ›

However, in order to qualify, an applicant must be legally blind--no more than 20/200 vision in their better eye with standard correction or a visual field of no more than 20 degrees in their better eye.

Is it OK to pet a guide dog? ›

Some handlers will allow petting, but be sure to ask before doing so. If allowed, don't pat the dog on the head; stroke the dog on the shoulder area. If the handler says no when you ask to pet the dog, don't be offended. The dog (or handler) might be having a bad day, or he might be in a hurry.

What is the no command for dogs? ›

- Training a “No” or to “Leave” command is teaching your dog to stop doing something. Most dogs respond more easily to actually doing something. So, asking your dog to “Sit” and receive a treat may be easier to train.

How does blind person pick up dog poop for guide dog? ›

When the dog is older and working as a guide dog, the dogs blind handler can say “get busy” and rub the dogs back (the back arches differently whether the dog pees or poops) and then within an inch there's the dog poop.

What breed makes the best guide dog? ›

Certain breeds are more commonly chosen as guide dogs than others. You'll find that most seeing eye dogs are Labradors, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. But other breeds, such as Border Collies, Vizslas and Standard Poodles are also heavily favored.

Will a guide dog protect its owner? ›

Your dog should also be on leash and under control. Guide dogs are also not trained to be protection dogs they are busy safely guiding their partners when out in public.

What is the most talented dog? ›

Border collie

According to The Intelligence of Dogs, which ranks 131 dog breeds in terms of their relative intelligence, the border collie is the smartest dog breed known to man. Need proof? Chaser, a linguistically gifted border collie from South Carolina, could recognize over 1,000 words.

How do I identify a guide dog? ›

Qualified guide dogs wear fluorescent strips around a white harness. Guide dogs are trained to walk in a straight line, to guide around obstacles and to stop at kerbs. The owner still needs to have some knowledge of their environment, so they can support the dog and tell it which way to go.

What are guide dogs now called? ›

guide dog, also called Seeing Eye dog or service dog, dog that is professionally trained to guide, protect, or aid its master.

How are guide dogs chosen? ›

beginning with A? puppies are extra special and are chosen to be sponsor pups or are named by a member of the public who has raised money to name the pup. given a health check and vaccinations then each one goes to live with a volunteer Puppy Walker.

Who pays for guide dogs? ›

How much does a guide dog cost? Due to the generous donations of the general public, Guide Dogs can train and partner you with a guide dog at no cost.

Can an older dog be trained as a guide dog? ›

Training a guide dog starts from puppyhood, once the eight-week mark has passed, and requires lifelong training. It's not realistic to train an already adult dog with behavior issues to be a guide dog, as this can put both dog and handler at risk.

Do guide dogs get to play? ›

Daily exercise and play are as important as nutrition, grooming and other activities in raising a healthy, well- behaved GDB puppy. Guide dogs are active animals.

Can you cuddle a guide dog? ›

In many cases, when the dogs go on to become guides, their partners introduce “creature comforts” such as snuggling on the couch or sleeping on the bed. However, because we don't know whether or not a client will allow this, it's important the dogs grow up assuming such behaviors are not allowed.

Do guide dogs bark? ›

Q: Do guide dogs bark? A: Yes, but not when the harness is on and the dog is working. A calm and quiet disposition and the ability not to bark when excited are all hallmarks of a genuine service dog.

Can a guide dog go to a zoo? ›

In order to protect the health and wellbeing of the animals in our care, assistance animals might not be permitted access to all zoos and aquariums. The decision to allow access is at the discretion of the individual institution following a risk assessment of their specific site.

Who cleans up after a blind persons dog? ›

Qualification: Puppy walked for the Guide Dogs Association. Answer: Their owners clean up after them because they're trained to go on command.

Do you have to pick up after guide dog poo? ›

Legally guide dog owners don't have to pick up their dog's poo. However, Guide Dogs encourage owners to pick it up if they can. On training owners are taught how to do this without being able to see it.

How do blind people know when to stop wiping? ›

Essentially, you just pay attention to how easily (or not) toilet paper slides across your backside- rougher glide = more clean. And once you're getting close to being clean, thanks to how extremely sensitive said orifice is, detecting when it's fully free of any objectionable matter isn't difficult.

What is the hardest command to teach a dog? ›

15 Most Difficult Tricks To Train Dogs
  • Go and Fetch.
  • Playing the piano.
  • Wait.
  • Play Dead.
  • Sit Pretty.
  • Walking Backward – “Back Up”
  • Tug / Tugging (Open The Door)
  • The Bang Performance.

Is Doggijuana a catnip? ›

Doggijuana is a non-addictive catnip. There are no added ingredients that are harmful for your pet.

What is the easiest command you can teach your dog? ›

Sit. Unlike teaching your pup to stay down, “sit” is the easiest command to teach your furry friend. To teach your puppy this trick, make sure to follow the next steps carefully: Kneel in front of your puppy with a treat in your hand.

How many dog owners pick up poop? ›

Humans, however, aren't picking up after their pets when nature calls. A study conducted in Boulder, Colorado found that only 73.5% of dog owners collect all pet droppings.

How do dogs pick where they want to poop? ›

Dogs use the Earth's magnetic field when they're relieving themselves. Not only that, but canines choose to do so in a north-south axis, a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology says.

Why do you have to pick up dog poop? ›

Pick up promptly — Prevent parasites, bacteria, and viruses from infecting people or other pets by picking up your dog's poop immediately. Many parasites require days to weeks to reach the infective stage, so feces becomes more hazardous to your health the longer it sits.

Are male or female dogs better as guide dogs? ›

The most important part is teaching our dog needs to be a good listener and follow all our directions. Having a male or a female dog does not make a difference because,it basically depends upon how you treat them. If you treat them well without any gender discrimination they are more likely to feel free.

How long does it take to train a guide dog? ›

The puppy will go on to their formal guide dog training for around 20 weeks, before they go through an assessment and then matched with a guide dog owner if they pass. You will be kept up to date on how your puppy is doing in their training and when they have been matched with their service user.

Why aren t poodles used as guide dogs? ›

Poodles whether Standard, Miniature, or Toy are not usually used as mobility dogs because of their smaller size. More commonly, Poodles make ideal service dogs for people with needs other than mobility assistance.

Do guide dogs know when to cross the street? ›

How does a guide dog know when to cross the street? Contrary to common belief, guide dogs do not know how to read and understand traffic signals. A person who is blind or visually impaired determines when it is safe to cross the street by listening to the sounds of parallel traffic.

How long do guide dogs stay with their owners? ›

A guide dog typically works for 6-8 years, providing trust and safety to their blind handler.

Do guide dogs get enough exercise? ›

Daily exercise is just as important to your puppy's health as feeding, grooming, and obedience. Our dogs are expected to be fit and well behaved. Many of our guide dogs walk miles every day so it is important for pups to develop stamina and be healthy.

Which is the No 1 intelligent dog? ›

1. Border Collie: A workaholic, this breed is the world's premier sheep herder, prized for its intelligence, extraordinary instinct, and working ability. 2.

What does a purple dog coat mean? ›

Assistance Dogs, Support Dogs or Dogs for the Disabled assist people with many different tasks ranging from alerting people when their owner has a seizure, carrying items, loading and unloading washing machines and many other tasks. They wear a purple coloured coat.

What does an orange vest on a dog mean? ›

Red – Beware of the dog, and don't get too close. Orange – This dog does not get along well with other dogs. Yellow – The dog is unpredictable and edgy. It could also mean that it's looking for a new home. Green – The dog has a friendly nature, and it's okay to get close alone or with any animal.

Do guide dogs have to wear a vest? ›

Assistance dogs are highly trained which means they:

Most are instantly recognisable by a harness or jacket. However, the law does not require the dog to wear a harness or jacket to identify it as an assistance dog.

What can guide dogs not do? ›

Although guide dogs cannot read traffic signals, they are responsible for helping their handlers safely cross a street. Calling out to a guide dog or intentionally obstructing its path can be dangerous for the team as it could break the dog's concentration on its work.

How many commands do guide dogs know? ›

The standard obedience commands and exercises are: “Sit”, “Sit and wait”, “Down”, “Down and stay”, “Stand”, “Stand and wait”, “Heel” and “Come” (see Recall documentation for development of “Come” command).

What was the first guide dog? ›

Fact! The first known example of a special relationship between a dog and a blind person was depicted in a first-century AD mural in the ruins of Roman Herculaneum. The Guide Dogs story started in 1931 with two amazing British pioneers, Muriel Crooke and Rosamund Bond.

Do you get to name your guide dog? ›

As a thank you, you'll get the chance to gift a guide dog pup its name – and be at the heart of its lifechanging story. You can choose to receive: A 'My first pawtrait' photo and birth certificate keepsake. Bi-yearly information factsheets during training.

How much does a guide dog cost? ›

Referrals can be made by health practitioners or directly by the person who is experiencing vision loss. According to the Guide Dogs of America, The cost to ready a dog for service is $48,000.

What can a guide dog do? ›

What a guide dog does
  • walk centrally along the pavement whilst avoiding obstacles on the route.
  • not turn corners unless told to do so.
  • stop at kerbs and steps.
  • find doors, crossings and places which are visited regularly.
  • judge height and width so you do not bump your head or shoulder.

How does a guide dog know where it's going? ›

A guide dog is not a GPS, and he cannot read traffic signals. Instead, a guide dog takes directional cues from the handler and is taught to intelligently disobey if there is an unsafe situation in the handler's path.

What skills do guide dogs have? ›

Traits of guide dogs

Service dogs should possess many traits, including intelligence, obedience, good memory, attention to surroundings, willingness to learn, and ability to concentrate. If a dog exhibits signs of aggression, nervousness or reacts negatively to other animals, the dog will be cut from the program.

Who was the first guide dog? ›

However, the first systematic attempt to train dogs to aid blind people came around 1780 at 'Les Quinze-Vingts' hospital for the blind in Paris. Shortly afterwards, in 1788, Josef Riesinger, a blind sieve-maker from Vienna, trained a Spitz so well that people often questioned whether he was blind.

Why can't you stroke a guide dog? ›

Guide dogs are working dogs that help their owners to find their way around. Petting the dog (however tempting), while it's in its harness and helping its owner get around, distracts the dog from its work and could put its owner at risk of danger or delay to an essential journey.

Why can't guide dogs be touched? ›

Whether the dog is in service or in training to serve, the rule of thumb is: don't touch or distract him. This is because interacting with a dog that is working or training could put the other half of his team — his owner — in harm's way.

Do guide dogs ever fail? ›

Dogs who fail GDB's program generally fall into two categories: 40% medical (allergies, etc) and 60% behavioral (too much energy, not kid-friendly, etc). Drop out dogs are typically between one and two years old. However, there are some requirements.

How do you tell if a dog is a guide dog? ›

Qualified guide dogs wear fluorescent strips around a white harness. Guide dogs are trained to walk in a straight line, to guide around obstacles and to stop at kerbs. The owner still needs to have some knowledge of their environment, so they can support the dog and tell it which way to go.

Does a blind person have to pick up their guide dogs poop? ›

Legally guide dog owners don't have to pick up their dog's poo. However, Guide Dogs encourage owners to pick it up if they can. On training owners are taught how to do this without being able to see it.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Domingo Moore

Last Updated: 26/09/2023

Views: 5328

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (73 voted)

Reviews: 88% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Domingo Moore

Birthday: 1997-05-20

Address: 6485 Kohler Route, Antonioton, VT 77375-0299

Phone: +3213869077934

Job: Sales Analyst

Hobby: Kayaking, Roller skating, Cabaret, Rugby, Homebrewing, Creative writing, amateur radio

Introduction: My name is Domingo Moore, I am a attractive, gorgeous, funny, jolly, spotless, nice, fantastic person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.