Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What is a Service Dog?

A service dog is a dog individually trained to perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability. Service dogs perform a wide variety of tasks which enable individuals to experience increased independence and enhanced quality of life. Carolina Canines trains service dogs for people with funtional limitations of mobility.

Service dogs trained through Carolina Canines for Service, Inc. are able to perform the following tasks for their partners:
•Retrieving dropped/distant objects
•Pulling wheelchairs and loading wheelchairs into vehicles
•Opening doors
•Carrying items/packages
•Rising to high counters
•Physical support for mobility and transfers to/from wheelchairs
•Physical assistance to recover from a fall
•Dressing or undressing
•Assisting with household tasks such as bed making and laundry

Carolina Canines for Service, Inc. acquires dogs for the program from a variety of sources including donations from reputable breeders, rescue organizations, and local animal shelters. Purebred and mixed breed dogs are both utilized, with an emphasis on using rescued and shelter dogs.

All dogs are spayed/neutered prior to entering service. Male and female dogs are equally suited to service work.

Dogs best suited for service work are from the "working class" category which include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Border Collies, as well as mixes of these breeds.

Carolina Canines accepts puppies into training between 7 to 10 weeks of age. Older dogs are rarely accepted.

Each dog is individually temperament tested to determine its innate characteristics and strengths. Upon passing the temperament test and a health screening the puppy officially becomes a Service Dog in Training.

Throughout the course of training, service dog puppies are closely monitored for good health and temperament. Hips and elbows are x-rayed to rule out hip dysplasia and elbow dysplastia. Chronic health problems or aggressive/unpredictable behavior result in disqualification from the program. Carolina Canines For Service, Inc. commits to placing only healthy, temperamentally sound dogs into service.

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