Science proves living with a dog carries many physical and mental benefits. Blood pressure goes down, people deal with less anxiety and generally speaking, just feel better. Dogs offer great emotional support, help us get more activity, and give the best snuggles. Benefits aside, though, simply having a dog who helps you feel better doesn’t make a dog a Service Dog. Only trained tasks do that, along with proper behavior, manners, and temperament. Without further ado, here are 5 awesome things dogs do that aren’t Service Dog tasks.
Provide Emotional Support
When it comes to unconditional love, acceptance, and pure joy, not much beats a good dog. Science agrees that dogs provide incredible emotional support and health perks. Be that as it may, though, emotional support, relieving anxiety, or helping with depression are not, in and of themselves, Service Dog tasks. Service Dog laws specifically exclude emotional support resulting from natural behaviors as a task. Service Dog tasks require specific training and cannot be natural behaviors any dog is capable of doing.
Help You Get Things Done
Lots of people struggle with daily chores and activities, including things like just getting out of bed. Having a dog can provide the boost some people need to get things done. After all, the dog needs to go out, be fed, and get some exercise. Having a dog can be a great help when dealing with some of the more difficult mental illness symptoms. However, helping you get things done is not a Service Dog task, unless the way your dog assists you is the result of specific training that is replicable on cue.
Walking a dog or going outside to play offers a great way to get some exercise and sunlight. For people who struggle with anxiety or who have phobias, getting out and about can be near impossible. Having a dog can make some of those activities easier. However, daily activities all dogs do aren’t Service Dog tasks.
Many mental illnesses and chronic disorders result in apathy or a desire for less interaction. Living with a dog usually means providing touch and contact, since dogs need that to be healthy, and so do humans! However, simply interacting isn’t a Service Dog task, unless it’s a replicable behavior that’s trained to assist in a concrete way.
Snuggling is great. Snuggling with a willing canine companion can be quite relaxing and soothing. No matter how much it helps you, though, snuggling on its own is not a Service Dog task. Many Service Dog tasks can mimic snuggling. Tactile grounding, deep pressure therapy, and kinetic engagement come to mind most readily. However, all of the snuggling-like tasks Service Dogs perform are trained behaviors, not natural affection any dog can provide.