Service Dog Capabilities

... Not to mention emotional support and unconditional love...

… Not to mention emotional support and unconditional love…

A “service dog” is any guide dog, hearing dog, or other dog trained to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a physical or mental disability.

Operation Freedom Paws works with individuals who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) and/or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) symptoms, physical, neurological, psychological and/or mobility needs.

Service dogs are often considered in one of five categories:

Hearing Dogs (“Signal Dogs”) Alert deaf or hearing-impaired people to important sounds
Psychiatric Service Dogs Help with mental health disabilities such as PTSD, Major Depression, Panic/Anxiety, agoraphobia, schizophrenia, and the like
Mobility Dogs Perform tasks and provide support and balance for ambulation for those with limited mobility
Medical Alert Dogs Trained to be sensitive to medical events or conditions, including diabetes, seizures, and cardiac conditions
Guide Dogs* (“Seeing Eye Dogs”) Guide blind or visually impaired people around obstacles

*Note that Operation Freedom Paws doesn’t work with guide dogs, but will refer you to a partner organization that specializes in dogs to assist visually impaired people.

What kind of tasks can service dogs perform? The list is long. Here are some examples:

  • Blocking (creating space around an individual)
  • Opening doors, drawers, and refrigerators
  • Retrieving specific objects (videotapes, keys, remotes, etc.) or dropped articles
  • Getting help
  • Pulling on command
  • Turning lights on or off
  • Barking to alert of danger, doorbell, or telephone
  • Stopping at certain objects
  • Finding doors or access/egress
  • Finding scents
  • Walking slow to lead
  • Carrying objects