When people think of dog guides, they often think of “seeing eye dogs” or vision guide dogs. These dog guides assist visually impaired people navigate their everyday surroundings and help to keep them safe. However, service dogs do not just assist the visually impaired. There are a number of different functions that our K9 friends are able to perform, and a wide range of people they are able to assist. In this post we will go over some of those amazing capabilities and let you know how you can assist in the wonderful programs that allow people to receive the help that our K9 friends provide! It is the season for giving after all!
1 – Hearing Ear Dog Guides
These specially trained dogs assist people that are hearing impaired. Hearing ear dog guides are trained to communicate with their handlers through touch to alert them of their auditory surroundings. Whether the handler’s alarm clock is going off, there is someone at the door, or any other number of auditory ques are going off, the hearing ear dog guide is able to communicate to the handler that action is required.
2 – Service Dog Guides
Service Dogs receive specialized training to assist people with physical disabilities. These K9’s are capable of completing incredible tasks and are invaluable in their assistance to their handlers. Service dog guides are able to open and close doors and appliances, retrieve objects of all sorts, and even help out with everyday tasks like taking off socks if necessary. Their impressive range of skills is a massive help to their handlers in doing everyday tasks.
3 – Seizure Response Dog Guides
There are actually dog guides that are specially trained to assist people with epileptic seizures. These dogs help to keep their handlers safe. They are trained to recognize when seizures are coming or happening. This ability allows the specially trained dog to alert the handler to sit down before falling. The dogs can also activate alert systems, and will bark for help if necessary. The specially trained pooches can be essential in keeping people with epilepsy safe.
4 – Autism Assistance Dog Guides
Dog guides that are specially trained for autism assistance help to provide safety, companionship and comfort to autistic children. Their services allow a bond to be created between the child and the dog. These bonds allow for increased social interaction for the whole family and especially for the child. Autism assistance dog guides provide a calming relief when autistic children are in high anxiety situations and can reduce the stress of being in certain public situations.
5 – Diabetic Alert Dog Guides
Diabetic Alert Dog Guides may be familiar with some of you, if you are hockey fans. Max Domi of the Arizona Coyotes deals with type 1 diabetes in his day to day life, and benefits from the assistance of a diabetic alert dog guide. This type of dog guide has the ability to detect, by smell, that their handler has low blood sugar. The dog will then alert the handler, with a body language signal, that they are in danger and need to ingest something with some sugar in it. The dogs can also activate an alert system to get help if that becomes necessary. The early alert system that these dogs provide prevents people dealing with diabetes from losing consciousness and the life threatening effects that come after. These important guide dogs allow their handlers to live more independently by providing safety and security.
So why am I telling you this, and how is it that you can help? Training guide dogs to perform the tasks that they do, and setting them up with their handlers is a lengthy and expensive process. Luckily, groups like the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides are doing great work to train these dogs. However, they need your help too! In order to provide the services of these animals to people in need, a lot of volunteers and funding is needed. There are a number of options available to you including, but not limited to, adopting a retired guide dog, participating in the foster a puppy program, participate in the “adopt” a puppy program, or donate to the Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides. Please visit their website to view all of their wonderful programs, and learn more about how you can help today!