People with disabilities or illness can be helped with increased safety and independence in several ways by using service dogs, experts have observed.
A report in the Mayo Clinic Health Letter exemplifies how breeds such as Labrador or Golden retrievers, can be trained in many specialties including:
Skilled assistance dogs-These dogs are trained to help those who are physically disabled. They can open doors, pull wheelchairs, turn on lights, retrieve the telephone or summon help.
Hearing dogs-These dogs alert their handlers to alarm clocks, doorbells, smoke alarms, approaching vehicles or someone calling the handler's name.
Diabetes response dogs-These dogs carry objects such as juice bottles and can retrieve a phone or sniff the handler's breath for low blood sugar.
Alzheimer's helper dogs-These dogs are trained to stay with a person who has Alzheimer's-or fetch help -- if the person starts to wander or gets into an unsafe situation.
Parkinson's disease helper dogs-These dogs can assist with balance.
Psychiatric service dogs -- These dogs help people who are disabled by severe mental illness by calming anxieties, prodding their handler to take medications and interrupting harmful compulsions.