The dachshund is one of the most popular dog breeds to have as a pet. They are loving, affectionate, and loyal, with playful personalities. But are these fun-loving dachshunds capable of being service dogs?
Yes. Dachshund can be a service dog provided he has received good training.
Dachshunds are very independent dogs who can be very stubborn. They like to do things their own way when they feel like it.
This can be an issue for some services. However, this is not to say that it is impossible for dachshunds to be service dogs. They just need good training.
What do service dogs do?
Service dogs are specifically trained to provide services. They are trained to provide physical, medical, emotional, or moral support to people, mostly their owners.
They can help their owners with daily activities, such as opening doors, fetching things, carrying stuff, dressing, and undressing, guiding them, helping during medical emergencies, and more.
However, not all dogs can be service dogs. There are specific dogs that can be better at providing a specific service.
What are the types of service dogs?
Guide dogs act as assistants to visually impaired or blind people. They help them walk around obstacles. Guide dogs are one of the most commonly known service dogs.
Labradors or Golden Retrievers, or a Lab-Golden hybrid are usually chosen to work as a guide dogs.
Guide dogs have been helping humans for centuries, and their use may date back to Roman times. A lot of laws regarding service dogs have been written with a focus on guide dogs.
Hearing dogs are used for people who have hearing impairments.
They assist their humans by alerting them to different sounds, such as the doorbell, alarms, or crying babies. When the dog hears a sound, it touches it’s human and leads it towards the sound.
Labradors and Golden Retrievers are used for this job, although other dogs such as Cocker Spaniel or the Miniature Poodle have also been trained to alert their humans for noises.
Small to medium mixed breeds from animal shelters are usually chosen to be trained as hearing dogs, depending on their personality and temperament.
Mobility Assistance dogs
Mobility Assistance dogs can perform a lot of tasks for people with a range of mobility issues. They can fetch and carry stuff, help in dressing and undressing, press buttons on automatic doors, or even help pull a wheelchair up the ramp.
A Mobility Assistance dog benefits people who have arthritis or brain or spinal cord injuries.
In most cases, the dogs must be large enough to support their human, however, a lot of different dogs can be trained to be Mobility Assistance dogs.
Working dogs can be trained in a lot of different fields. They can be used as military dogs, sniffer dogs, guard dogs, or farm dogs.
Military and sniffer dogs help the police and army to detect bombs, drugs, and any suspicious activity that they need to look after.
Guard dogs are used for someone’s protection, kind of like a bodyguard.
Farm dogs work in farms and fields, looking after sheep and cattle, and so on.
Seizure alert and Seizure response dogs
Seizure alert dogs can supposedly predict and alert an oncoming seizure, although some research says that it is not possible for dogs to be trained to alert to seizures.
On the other hand, seizure response dogs provide help to a person who is experiencing an epileptic seizure. They bark for help or press an alarm system.
These dogs can also get a person out of an unsafe space, and even bring medicine to a person who has just had a seizure.
Other types of service dogs include FASD service dogs, allergy detection dogs, autism support dogs, diabetic alert dogs, therapy dogs, etc.
Emotional support dogs
Emotional support dogs assist people suffering from mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, more importantly, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or more.
PTSD can affect people who have served as first responders, been through abuse, trauma, natural calamities, terrorism, or other life-altering events.
Emotional therapy dogs can help calm these people and make them feel safe by entering a room first, creating a physical barrier between themselves and other people in a public place, and other such situations.
Having a dog also helps people suffering from mental health problems to take care of themselves and the dog.
What type of service dogs can dachshunds be?
Dachshunds can be great emotional support and therapy dogs.
They are affectionate and loving, with fun personalities. They can be really good for people with anxiety, stress, or depression.
Dachshunds are fearless and love being around people, which makes them good companions. They can also be clingy, and will always be there for you. Adults that have anxiety issues can get some comfort in the company of dachshunds.
Dachshunds can also be good as therapy dogs visiting hospitals and healthcare centers, playing and cuddling with people who need that.
Because of their hyper-sensitive and sharp ears, dachshunds can make very good hearing dogs.
Dachshunds can be used as seizure alert dogs, or for people with autism and epilepsy. Children with autism, who need a companion that doesn’t overwhelm or judge them, can benefit from a dachshund.
For children with severe allergies, it is preferable to have a small service dog like a dachshund in school to smell their food.
Dachshunds may not be as useful for people with physical disabilities. Conditions which require a lot of physical work, like operating mechanisms or fetching items can be too demanding for this small dog.
They also may not be a good fit as a Seeing Eye dog, as they are so small in size.
Who can qualify to get a service dog?
Any person that has a mental or physical disability that comes under The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and has a medical document that states that the person could benefit in some way from a service animal can apply for a service dog.
To legally qualify for an emotional support dog, you will need a prescription for an emotional support dog from a licensed therapist or psychologist.
It would need a physical letter stating that you could benefit from an emotional support dog in your current state.
How to get a dachshund service dog?
Once you decide that you do need a service dog, you have two options to get a dachshund as a service dog.
The first option is to get a dachshund puppy and train it to be a service dog. The second option is to adopt an already trained service dog.
How to train your dachshund to be a service dog?
You can train your dachshund to be a service dog yourself, but it is much more effective to get professional trainers to train your dog.
As an owner, you might not have a complete idea of everything you need to teach your dachshund. This can prove to be dangerous if, in the future, your dachshund encounters a situation it is not prepared for.
A professional trainer can devise a training regime suited for your dog and teach it everything it needs to know. As a professional, they will also be able to cover every situational issue, having experience in the field.
Another thing is that it can take a lot of time, energy, and patience to train your dachshund to be a service dog.
While dachshunds are smart and loyal, making them good for this job, they are also very independent and stubborn.
It is easier for a professional trainer to get past this issue when the dog is still very young and then train it to be very obedient. As owners with not a lot of skill or experience, this can be difficult.
However, before hiring a trainer, you need to assess the age and health of your dog, in order to see if it has all the qualities needed to be a good service dog.
You should also take the opinion of your vet to diagnose your dachshund before starting training.
How to certify a service dog?
Because of The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), it is not a legal requirement to register your dog as a service dog.
However, since a lot of people are not aware of this, it is best to get your dog registered.
All service dogs must be registered, even emotional support dogs. You can register your dog with the US Dog Registry, explaining a few things like who your dog is and what kind of service does it provide.
The registry then sends out the certificate, harness, and any other official gear required by a service dog. This is important if you need to validate your dog when someone questions its purpose.
Where to find a service dog?
The other option is to just adopt a service dog that has already been certified. There are a lot of organizations that train dogs for all kinds of service work.
You can apply for a dachshund if you have a condition that a dachshund service dog is well-suited for. But you will need a letter from your therapist to get a support dog for a mental health condition.
This is why a lot of people who do not have a therapist choose to train their dachshund as a service dog.
What other breeds make good service dogs?
Dog breeds such as the Labrador, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi, Greyhound, Collie, etc. make for excellent service dogs.