Huskies are among the most impressive and beautiful dog breeds that make great pets for any kind of family but do they really make good service dogs? From their appearance, it is easy to classify them as service dogs instead of pet dogs. I have done my homework and found out what makes a service dog, and if Huskies meet my findings.
Are Huskies Good Service Dogs?
Huskies make great family and service sled dogs but not good service dogs. Other dog breeds e.g. Labradors, Great Danes, German Shepherds, Boxers, and Pomeranians would be preferred for service roles. While Huskies can be trained to be service dogs, it is not guaranteed as to whether it will meet your needs.
After diving deeper into the history of Huskies and other service dog materials I had at my disposal, you’ll be surprised by what I found out.
Let’s get started;
What Makes a Good Service Dog?
How do you know if a dog is a good service dog?
For a dog to be considered a service dog, training and their temperament are key factors. This is because most of them help disabled people around the globe to become independent.
From the archives I perused, the first service dogs were used to guide visually disable people. However, different needs came along, and today, service dogs help people with different disabilities including but not limited to,hearing loss and cerebral palsy. For that, a service dog should not be temperamental.
Again, before you call a dog a service dog, it should have undergone and completed an extensive training program.
As per my findings, dog breeds that tend to be uncomfortable being approached, those that get provoked when touched by strangers, dogs that are easily distracted, or aggressive dogs in general are not good contenders to become service dogs.
So, if you were wondering, do service dogs have to pass a test? Yes they do.
They must pass the temperament evaluation test as the first step. Here, the dog must have the following characteristics:
- Must have a calm temperament.
- Must be energetic.
- Confident: Should be able to endure pain -they’re allowed to yelp in pain but never at one point should they run away or attack the cause of pain.
- Must be one who does not get annoyed by strangers.
- Friendly: Must not be a dog who will be angered by kids pulling or touching their tail or ear.
- Should have the capacity to bond: Dogs who make great service dogs should enjoy being with people.
- Should be one who is anxious to please.
- Work drive: Must be a dog who is focused on tasks and ignores distractions.
- Good service dogs are those who don’t cower in fear when exposed in a variety of noises.
After passing the temperament test, service dogs undergo a training regimen that will depend upon the tasks that the dog will be asked to perform.
Some tasks that they can be trained to do are:
- Could be trained to guide visually impaired people.
- Pulling wheelchairs.
- Providing stability for unsteady people
- They can also be trained to be calming dogs for owners with post-traumatic stress problems
- They can be trained to be alerting dogs. For example, they can alert a diabetics person when their blood sugar levels drop.
- Retrieving items that owners cannot reach.
Can a Husky be a Good Service Dog?
Huskies are hard working dogs but as per the above evaluations, they don’t make good service dogs.
One reason why I am saying that is that these dogs enjoy getting in trouble. Just because they have beautiful blue eyes, it doesn’t mean that they are calm. They’re well known to be escape artists so it can be tough for someone on a wheelchair to cope up with them.
Another thing why I stated that Huskies aren’t great service dogs is that they have high energy levels. This does not mean that they’re energetic, it simply means that they will be problematic to you if you don’t give them enough exercise of at least 2 hours a day.
Also, Huskies need attention and don’t like being alone. Ok, I said that a good service dog should be that one who is comfortable and happy to be around people. This doesn’t mean that they should be dogs who can’t be left alone for a considerable amount of time.
What do I mean?
If you want a service dog and at one point you’ll need to leave it alone for long periods, Huskies are not the type of dog that will suit you.
One more reason why Huskies don’t make good service dogs is that they have a high prey drive. Imagine having a Husky lead a person who is visually impared to cross the road then it sees a rabbit, a guinea pig, or ferrets and start chasing after them. Nobody wants that!
Bonus reason why Huskies aren’t good service dogs:
Being a “runaway” dog breed, Huskies need to be walked on a leash. This combined with their high instinct to chase and run after small prey, it is generally not recommended to have a Husky as your service dog.
However they can be great service sled dogs.
What are the different types of service dogs apart from service sled dogs?
Apart from pulling sleds and becoming a service sled dog, below are other types of services dogs that exist:
- Guide Dogs
- Mobility Assistance Dogs
- Hearing Dogs
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Dogs
- Allergy Detection Dogs
- Emotional Support Dogs
- Rescue Dogs
- Medical Service Dogs
- Sled Emergency Dogs
- Seizure Alert Dogs
- Estate Dogs
It should however be noted that some service dogs will be in public places than others so a dog breed being trained to be a service dog in public areas in any of the above categories need to be good at being calm. Those being trained to pull heavy loads like sleds or people on wheelchairs need to be energetic and have a good work ethic.
Which Breeds Make the Best Service Dogs?
Dogs have a good sense of smell, in fact 10,000-100,000 better than that of people. However, it takes more than a good nose to make a great service dog. We’ve all gone through the qualities of/what makes a good service dog and with that in mind, here are a few of the dog breeds that make good service dogs:
- Labradors (American and English): This is the most well known service dog. They are extremely friendly, trainable, smart and have a hyper-strong bonding capacity. They are great dogs for providing support for mobility-impaired owners and also retrieving items.
- Golden Retrievers: This is among the friendliest, even-tempered,and gentle dog breeds that can be used for emotional support and as PTSD service dogs.
- German Shepherds: German Shepherds are loyal, obedient, and easy to train dog breeds that are most commonly used as guard dogs because they’re protective of their owners. They do create a strong bond with their owners but still are well behaved in public.
- Poodles: Poodles are active and fun loving dog breeds that are intelligent and easy to train. With their strong instincts and senses, Poodles can be great service dogs for those with diabetes or life-threatening allergies.
- Boxers: Boxers are another dog breed that make awesome service dogs. They’re playful and friendly but still have that work drive to ignore distractions. They’re loyal to their owners and love to work. They can serve as guide dogs for blind people. Apart from that, they can be good alert dogs for people suffering from epilepsy. They can alert them of imminent seizure
- Great Danes: Despite their towering size, these quiet giants are gentle, strong and sturdy enough to provide balance to people who need mobility assistance.
- Border Collies: Border Collies as of writing are being considered as the most intelligent dog breeds on the planet. They are quick learners and intuitive problem solvers who can work as a herding dog.
- Pomeranians: These extroverted and social dog breeds are vastly unique from other service dog breeds. They’re quick learners with a special talent as medical alert and hearing dogs.
Does insurance pay for a service dog?
After hours of research as to whether insurance pays for service dogs, I found out that your health insurance does not cover the cost to buy and neither does it cover the costs to care for a service dog.
However, most organizations have opened their eyes and learned that service dogs make life with a disability more manageable. They understand that finding these dogs, training them, and most importantly taking care of them adds up the costs of living and so they set up a few grants and financing that may be helpful.
5 ways to pay for a service dog
If you’re thinking of getting a service dog, here are 5 financing options to consider:
- Nonprofit grants: You can get these grants from several organizations, including Service Dogs for America and Assistance Dogs International. They help you (people with disabilities) find service dogs for little or no cost.
- Flexible spending account (FSA): Another way to pay for your service dog is use the FSA attached to your insurance policy. However, this is only if you get a letter of medical necessity (LMN) from your doctor. With this type of funding, you’re allowed to use your salary before taxes hence less expensive.
- Crowdfunding: This is whereby you reach out to your circle or social networks (followers), relatives and friends to help you raise money for your service dog. You can do this by creating a fundraising campaign or proforma on sites like GoFundMe.
- Build up your savings: You can have extra savings which can make getting a service dog and caring for it easier. However, it is not the easiest method, more so if you have limited/unstable cash flow.
- Take out a personal loan: If you’ve exhausted your options, you can consider a personal loan.
People Also Ask
Do you need a doctor’s note for a service dog?
Service dogs are trained to perform or help physically or mentally disabled people with some tasks. Although doctors have the authority to recommend a service dog, you don’t need a doctor’s note for you to purchase a service dog.
How much does a real service dog cost?
A service dog will cost between $15,000 to $30,000 to adopt and train. However, it sometimes depends on the breed you select and the training it receives. There are cases where one service dog can be priced at $50,000 annual expenses like vet visits, food and grooming excluded.
What should you not do with a service dog?
Whether the dog is a fully trained service dog or it is learning to be one, you are not allowed to touch or distract them. Interacting or distracting a dog that’s working could put his owner in harm’s way. Additionally, petting, cooing, whistling, clapping your hands, speaking to the handler, praising the pet when it completes a task are other examples of poor etiquette around service dogs.
Have you been wondering if a Husky is a good service dog? Now you know. They’re great service sled dogs but don’t make good service dogs.
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