Shilohs At Work ┬╗Service Dogs

Service Dogs are skilled canine companions which provide various aspects of assistance to enhance the independence and quality of the life of their human partner. Shilohs chosen to become Service Dogs must have especially steady dispositions. Training normally begins at a very early age which includes lots of socialization, exposure to a multitude of environments and distractions of all kinds. The Canine Good Citizen Test and the Therapy Dog Tests are often stepping stones in the evaluation and providing basic skills of a potential Service Dog. Only the best will go on to receive specialized training and become successful. At this point, a dog is typically x-rayed and evaluated by specific medical and temperament tests to determine their overall mental and physical status. Shilohs chosen must have the distinct personality which readily exhibits a true desire to work effectively with their partners. All the while demonstrating that they can handle any stressful situation thrown in their path. Upon graduating, the Service Dog has been prepared to support or assist a person who has developmental or physical disabilities.

There are many different duties that may be performed, all though most dogs are specifically training in certain areas.

Mobility assistance dogs are trained to pull a wheelchair or directly support a person in rising or to help them walk with stability and orientation. Other tasks may include retrieving a particular article such as laundry items, groceries, bringing the phone, possibly picking up a dropped pencil or television remote. Or they may have been taught to turn on and off light switches, open or close doors and drawers or even dial 911 in the event of an emergency!

Hearing Dogs or Signal Dogs assist the deaf or the hard of hearing by alerting their owners to important sounds such as the alarm clock, the telephone, the doorbell or even the smoke alarm!

Naturally, the seeing eye Guide Dogs which lead blind people were the first organization of dogs to perform a truly vital act of service. Today, there are multiple facilities which assorted dogs for those in need.

Several puppies enter this long term training program, but in the end, only a small percentage make the final grade.

Alert type dogs are sometimes self taught, guided by some unique intuition to warn people of an impending harm or danger. This most unusual instinct might motivate the dog to signal of an oncoming seizure - they often respond by herding the person to safe place to sit down or will strongly press their own body next to them in effort to shield to protect them from this unseen threat. Other dogs may be able to sense an episode of low blood sugar and to signal their loved one. Amazingly enough, there is currently an ongoing study to learn more about the ability of dogs to accurately detect lung and breast cancer by examining exhaled breath samples of the patient!

Rosie, training for assistance

Rebecca Foreso trained her first service dog, a wonderful Golden Retriever - Rachel's Scottish Laird CDX, CGC, SD/PSD, Therapy (Delta), READ (Reading Education Assistance Dog) whom she calls "Zeke". She also owns a very special Doberman - Highland Crystal Lassie's Black Watch, Therapy (Delta), READ, whom she calls "Jagr".

Rebecca has chosen a Shiloh Shepherd to become her next service dog and is in the process of training this puppy to replace 8 year old Zeke. Her Shiloh's name is Southern Starr's Amarillo Rose SDIT/PSDIT, she was born on 8/7/05. 'SDIT/PSDIT' stands for Service Dog In Training/Psychiatric Service Dog In Training.

Rebecca points out, "I have never bonded to a dog at first sight like Rosie." They do the majority of the training on their own, once in a while engaging the guidance of a personal trainer, Cindy Sanford. Zeke received his certification with an organization known as Florida Service Dogs. Rebecca goes on to say, "When we are out and someone asks what my dogs do, I generally tell them medical alert or mobility assistance. I sometimes get a little sensitive on this issue, but typically try to explain to the ones who you can tell will really listen why service dogs aren't a luxury and take a lot of hard work!"

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