Assistance dogs not only provide a specific service to their handlers, but also greatly enhance the quality of their lives with a new sense of freedom and independence. Within the United States, people partnered with assistance dogs are guaranteed legal access to all buildings providing public services and to all modes of public transportation.
Assistance dogs are distinct from pets and working dogs who provide other services in three specific areas. For a dog to be considered an assistance dog they must meet the following criteria:
1. The dog’s handler/partner must be disabled and meet the legal definition of disability in the specific country or region.
2. The dog must be specifically trained to mitigate the handlers disability in some way, such as: opening doors, detecting allergens, alerting to a ringing phone or guiding/leading handler away from danger.
3. The dog must be trained to a high level not to be a nuisance in public, to be safe with members of the public and well behaved, as well as being healthy, and not posing a hygiene threat.
DireWolf Guardians American Alsatian Dog Training Program identifies three types of assistance dogs:
There are many different types of service dogs including: mobility dogs, PTSD dogs, psychiatric service dogs, seizure alert or seizure response dogs, autism dogs, and medical alert dogs. Each type of service dog is trained specifically for the individual needs of the recipient in at least three different tasks. Service dogs may pick up dropped articles, push light buttons, open/close drawers, open/close doors, body block, lead someone out of a space during anxiety, lie under or on someone for protection during a seizure, find a lost recipient, and many more. Service dogs are varied and each potential DireWolf Guardian must be chosen specifically for the temperament traits that would best fit with the type of need.
DireWolf Guardians has successfully trained to certification one PTSD service dog that is currently actively working in the field. This PTSD dog was specifically trained to lead his recipient out of a space, body block, and apply deep pressure during anxiety.
Hearing dogs are trained to aid their handler’s when important sounds are heard. They can alert in many different ways, depending on the individual needs of the recipient. Hearing dogs may place a paw on the recipient’s knee, touch a small tug on the person’s belt, or nudge the person with their nose. Each hearing dog is initially trained to successfully alert to at least three different tasks. Hearing dogs generally need to be more energetic and willing to move at any moment when a sound is heard. But, they must also be smart and easy-going enough to calmly wait while there is no sound present.
DireWolf Guardians has successfully trained one hearing dog to certification. This dog was able to alert to the phone ringing, alert to boiling water on the stove, and alert to the knock at the door. She also was able to let her handler know that there was someone close behind them as they walked as well as when someone called the handler’s name. She ultimately did not go on to active assistance dog status, but is, instead, now working as a therapy dog.
Guide dogs can be essential to someone with a significant sight impairment. Guide dogs must possess a special patience and intelligence to continuously perform when in active duty. They must have the focus and attention they need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. A guide dog can stop and stay at a curb making sure to disallow crossing until given a release command. A guide dog can stop a person from walking into oncoming traffic or some other danger. A guide dog can learn to open doors and lead a person through crowded streets or buildings.
We do not train guide dogs at this time, but we may include guide dog training in the future after we establish Assistance Dog International program certification. The reason for this is that guide dogs are exceedingly more time-consuming and intricate in their training. DireWolf Guardians would like to make sure that we are accredited with the highest recognition before tackling this type of assistance dog.
That being said, we can train an assistance dog for someone with a milder visual impairment who may not need such a strict adherence to guide dog training. This will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the severity of the impairment and the overall recipient’s needs.
Learn about our DireWolf Guardian assistance dogs in training here:
Learn about our CERTIFIED DireWolf Guardian assistance dogs here:
If you are interested in obtaining a DireWolf Guardian Assistance Dog, please begin the process by completing our DireWolf Guardian Assistance Dog Application form here: