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Southeast Alaskas Island News of Thorne Bay, Alaska

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According to Assistance Dogs international, not all breeds of dogs make ideal service dogs. Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers tend to make the best service dogs. Dogs from the Working group might be easy to train, but they are also very protective. Since an assistance dog's job is to make a disabled individual more able and not simply protect, this can prove problematic. Dogs in the Working group include the Boxer, the Great Dane & the Doberman Pin-scher, each of which are better suited as guard dogs thanks to their, protective nature. Shelter dogs are also not necessarily the best assistance or service dogs, much of which is due to their age. Service dog candidates, ADI recommends, should be between 18 months and 2 years of age. That eliminates 60 to 80 percent of shelter dogs. Temperament tests typically eliminate many shelter dogs as well. Smaller dogs are also difficult to use as assistance or service dogs, as their smaller stature makes it difficult for them topick up large objects or pull wheelchairs. While larger dogs might seem perfectly suited to such activities, larger dogs also come with some baggage. Thanks to their size, larger dogs are hard to put under a table in a restaurant or out of the way on a train or bus. In general, the best assistance or service dogs are people-oriented, not overly active or protective, and not especially dominant or submissive. In addition, assistance and service dogs should not require complex grooming, as that can be difficult for disabled individuals.

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Original Publication Date: August 30, 2010

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