When you think of a service dog, the first breeds that typically come to mind are Labradors Retrievers, German Shepherd Dogs, and Golden Retrievers. While these breeds are indeed a popular choice among service dog training and breeding organizations. Can Dalmatians make good service dogs?
What Makes A Good Service Dog?
The best service dogs are not only smart but have temperaments that make them easy to train as well as being reliable, calm under pressure, and not easily distracted. These breeds have a long history of these traits and are purposely bred to maintain these qualities making for the best service dogs. A good service dog must remain focused, attentive, and responsive to its owners’ needs, and untroubled by crowds of people, traffic, loud noises, or other animals.
Do Dalmatians Make Good Service Dogs?
Dalmatians are a popular dog breed in the US and abroad. Their beautiful black and white coat, outgoing nature, and good temperament convince many families to welcome a Dalmatian puppy to their home.
But can Dalmatians be trained beyond being a family dog? Specifically, can they become service dogs?
Unfortunately, most Dalmatians aren’t ideal candidates for service dog work. Today we’ll look at why a Dalmatian may not qualify to be a service dog.
Will Your Dalmatian Be A Good Service Dog?
Regardless of their breed, not every dog has the potential to become a service dog. While there’re breeds that are more suited to this job, the individual dog itself also needs specific characteristics and requirements to fulfil its task. After all, a service dog is not created by putting a service dog vest on!
Service dogs need to have an even temperament, be non-reactive towards other humans and dogs and be able to remain concentrated, even while being in distracting settings. A good service dog needs to be able to train for longer periods of time and be food-motivated. Preparing a service dog takes years and will require consistency and commitment.
Dalmatians have some of the required characteristics:
- They’re generally friendly and outgoing and not known for being aggressive.
- Dalmatians can get along well with most other dogs, people and children.
- Dalmatians are an active breed that enjoys visiting new places and spending time with their owner.
- A Dalmatian was bred for a few purposes: to keep watch over the borders of Dalmatia and to hunt.
What Is A Service Dog?
There are many dog owners that want their dogs to become “service dogs” so that they’ll be able to accompany them into stores or on airplanes. However, this is not really an accurate definition of a service dog. A good service dog is a highly trained animal that performs specific tasks to assist their owners that have a disability.
The ADA states specifically that a dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist a person with a disability. That simply means that “providing comfort” or accompanying their handler into an area such as a store is not a task for a service animal. A dog that’s considered to be a true service dog would for example alert their owner with diabetes when their blood sugar reaches high or low levels.
In order to make a Dalmatian a true service dog, you need to have a disability and train your Dalmatian to specifically assist with this disability through trained tasks
Can Dalmatians Make Good Emotional Support Dogs?
If your Dalmatian doesn’t work out as a service dog or you don’t have a specific disability that requires assistance, then your Dalmatian can still become an emotional support animal.
A Dalmatian can make for a fantastic emotional support dog. They can know exactly when their owners are sad or anxious and how to help them feel better. They’ll gladly give you a cuddle as you need to cheer up again!
Service Dogs Vs ESAs
Dogs used for emotional support have less stringent requirements than service dogs. They don’t really need to be trained to perform a specific task to assist their owner. They do less intense training and exposure to different situations.
Pretty much all Dalmatians are more suitable to become ESAs than actual service dogs. This is especially true if you’re a first-time dog owner who may not have the time to invest in a true service dog.
Most Dalmatians aren’t suitable for being true service dogs.
Unless you already have plenty of experience in training service animals, a Dalmatian wouldn’t make for the best choice. Even dogs that were bred just to work closely with their owners don’t always succeed in becoming a true service dog.
Already starting out with a dog that’s likely to fail isn’t a good idea and can lead to frustration for the owner and the dog.
Having your Dalmatian used as an Emotional Support Animal is a much better idea and is far more likely to be a success!