Service Dogs Aren't Just Labradors

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Isn't it true that we are creatures of habit? Even for the most reasonable person, stereotypes have a way of working their way into our thoughts and words. It's no different when it comes to service dogs. The Wiredog service dog vest brand made it's way on the scene in 2007 and since then we have had thousands of conversations with customers and information seekers and one thing is still true today - the misconceptions surrounding assistance dogs are still everywhere. We have a lot of work to do.

In most people's minds, the term Service Dog immediately conjures up an image of a Golden Retriever leading a visually impaired individual across a street and that situation is certainly an awesome breed at work in a major capacity as a Guide Dog. However, this is where most people's definition of an assistance dog stops and that's a shame because it is an incomplete definition.

We have seen just about every breed out there used as a working dog. Don't believe it? Check out some of these examples.

  • Would you be surprised to find out that those tiny little Chihuahua's make dynamic hearing alert dogs? They do. With their great ears and keen senses, they can alert their hearing impaired handler of a visitor at the door or a tea kettle that has boiled just a bit too long.
  • What about those gigantic Great Danes? They are awesome mobility dogs and offer a huge amount of support to their handlers. Their intelligence, wonderful disposition and sheer strength can assist those needing help to get in and out of wheelchairs or navigate difficult terrain such as staircases.
  • The horribly fierce Pit Bull? Oh, please; we have heard of so many Pit Bulls alerting there owners to an oncoming seizure it's not even funny. They are also extremely prominent in the world of PTSD victims. How can this be? Could it maybe just be that stereotype the media has been feeding us about Pit Bulls, ever since I can remember, is flawed and wrong? You bet.

The point is that the dog is an amazingly crafted creature. Most breeds can succeed at some sort of job as a working dog and the stereotypes need to go out the window. So the next time you see the lady in the grocery store that has a Yorkshire Terrier with a service dog vest on, don't immediately appoint yourself judge and jury that she's a fake and the dog a fraud. That tiny little thing may just be her ticket to a world outside of her home.

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