Are Goldendoodles Good Service Dogs?
Goldendoodles are a hybrid mix between Golden Retrievers and Poodles, which are both very intelligent breeds. This allows Goldendoodles to be quick learners and understands complex tasks. Goldendoodles make amazing service dogs due to their intelligence, friendliness, great desire to please, and affectionate nature.
What is a Service Dog?
People train dogs to support and perform tasks for people with disabilities, and these dogs become service dogs. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.”
Some people need clarification about the differences between service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support animals, but the differences are pretty distinct.
Therapy dogs volunteer in many different settings in order to provide comfort and support to people. People comforted by therapy dogs include hospital patients, nursing home residents, school children, and people in disaster areas. Therapy dogs have to complete the Canine Good Citizen testing. It is not considered that therapy dogs are working dogs because their owners do not have disabilities to the point that the dogs are expected to provide care for their owners 24/7.
Emotional support animals are animals that provide emotional support to their owners. They do not complete any training and don’t have the same rights or opportunities as service dogs or therapy dogs. Any animal that can beahave accordingly can become an emotional support animal with the proper recommendation from a licensed mental health professional.
Therapy dogs, emotional support animals, and service dogs are all important and provide different kinds of support. However, service dogs go through immense amounts of training and provide service for their owner on a daily basis; let’s look at service dogs more in-depth.
History of Goldendoodles as Service Dogs
Golden Retrievers have always been popular as service dogs, but 15% of the population have allergies to non-hypoallergenic dog breeds. So, crossbreeding Golden Retrievers and Poodles creates a dog with the friendly, affectionate personality of the Golden Retriever and the low-shedding coat of the Poodle. Goldendoodles were first bred in the 1990s, so they have not been around as long as some other working dog breeds.
Goldendoodles, despite their recent arrival, make fantastic service dogs, and people are increasingly using them as such. Mony Goldendoodles have very loyal, caring, and laid-back personalities, which allows them to be great service dogs, with the added benefit that they can be hypoallergenic.
Types of Service Dogs
People with disabilities all need different kinds of support. Because of this, many different types of service dogs exist, and all of these dogs have been trained in specific areas to support their handlers in different ways.
Here are some different types of service dogs:
- Guide dogs: These dogs are also called seeing-eye dogs because they support their visually impaired handlers by guiding them around obstacles, leading them across streets, preventing them from bumping their heads, and guiding them around unfamiliar places.
- Hearing dogs: Hearing dogs support their deaf or hard-of-hearing handlers by alerting them to sounds such as doorbells, smoke alarms, alarm clocks, text messages, and other important noises.
- Medical alert dogs: These dogs can assist people with many different kinds of medical conditions. All medical alert dogs will alert their handlers differently and support the handler in a beneficial way.
- Seizure-alert dogs have the ability to sense an impending seizure and can alert their owner and help them get into a position to avoid harm during the seizure. For example, they can lie down beneath their owner’s head so they don’t injure their head.
- Diabetic dogs can use their sense of smell to detect changes in their handler’s blood sugar levels. If there is a dangerous change coming, they then alert their owners.
- Cardiac alert dogs alert their handlers of intense drops in blood pressure, which can cause the handler to lose consciousness. This allows the handler to be prepared to be in a safe location and bodily position.
- Allergy detection dogs are specially trained to detect and alert their handler to the odor of allergens, such as peanuts, gluten, or eggs. Some people go into anaphylactic shock from coming in contact with even a small amount of an allergen, so these dogs keep people safe by picking up the scent of a harmful allergen before their handler even comes into contact with it.
- Mobility assistance dogs: These dogs can help physically disabled individuals with tasks such as retrieving items, opening doors, pushing buttons, turning on lights, retrieving dropped items, and much more.
- Psychiatric service dogs: These dogs provide their handlers with emotional support, alert them of incoming panic attacks, calm them down during panic attacks, and interrupt self-harming behaviors.
Service Dog Tasks
Service dogs are trained for all different sorts of skills and tasks. One service dog may not be trained to perform all of these tasks, but the tasks below are some common ways a service dog can support its handler.
- Service dogs can alert their handler and those nearby to the onset of panic attacks or alert handlers to situations that may induce anxiety or stress.
- Alert handlers to bodily changes or changes in the environment of which the handler may not have been aware.
- Service dogs can guide a handler home to a safe place or a specific person. Service dogs may check rooms for other people before the handler enters, guide the handler safely through a crowd, or protect the handler from approaching strangers.
- Service dogs may provide deep pressure therapy when their handler is anxious.
- They may retrieve medications and any other items the handler may need.
Which Puppies Will Be Good Service Dogs?
Not all dogs will be good service dogs. Most breeders will go through steps to ensure that someone looking for a service dog will receive a puppy that has the temperament and behaviors of a future service dog. Some ways they determine if a puppy will be a good service dog are below.
- The puppy’s parents are calm and behaved. A dog’s behaviors can be genetic, so the way their parents behave may be an indicator of how they will behave.
- The puppy was evaluated for their temperament. This evaluation will determine if they will be skittish, energetic, calm, etc. Most breeders will be able to understand which dogs will be good service dogs based on this evaluation.
- Puppies with laid-back personalities tend to do better as service dogs.
- The puppy passed breed-specific health tests as genetic or hereditary health issues can interfere with a service dog’s ability to perform.
- At Fox Creek Farms, we allow certified trainers to utilize testing protocols to determine which puppies have the best aptitude for service dog training. We also prioritize people looking for a service dog before other people searching for a dog as a pet. We try our best to match the puppy/dog to fit the needs of its new owner.
How Do You Make a Goldendoodle a Service Dog?
- Determine if you have an eligible disability qualifying you for a service dog.
- Start training and socializing your Goldendoodle when they are young. Socializing is key for a puppy between the ages of 3-14 weeks. Socializing a puppy allows it to become acclimated to all types of sights, sounds, and smells in a positive manner. This will allow your puppy to not be overly excited or fearful in new situations when they get older.
- Train your dog how to assist you with your disability. Your dog will not only need to be well-behaved and calm, but they will also need to be able to assist with your specific disability. This type of training will likely require a certified trainer to achieve the goals of service work you expect the dog to perform.
- Have your dog pass a public access test. This test determines if your dog can behave appropriately in public. Your dog should not display aggressive behaviors, overexcitement, or unruly behavior while in public.
- Register your service dog. This will allow you to have their certification papers if ever needed.
Why are Goldendoodles Good Service Dogs?
Goldendoodles are a popular choice for service dogs due to several factors that make them well-suited to this role. Here are some of the reasons why Goldendoodles can make excellent service dogs:
- Goldendoodles have an amazing temperament. Everyone knows Goldendoodles have playful, silly attitudes, but they can also be calm, caring, and laid-back. Goldendoodles personalities are amazing for service dog tasks.
- Both Golden Retrievers and Poodles, the breeds that mix to make a Goldendoodle, are highly intelligent. Since dogs can pass their intelligence down to their offspring, Goldendoodles are very intelligent, trainable, and bright.
- Goldendoodles can be hypoallergenic, which means they have a low to no-shedding coat. This makes them a great option for people with allergies or sensitivities to pet hair.
- Goldendoodles come in a range of sizes, from small to large. This means they can be a good fit for people with different needs and living situations.
- Goldendoodles are known for being affectionate and loving towards their owners. This can make them excellent emotional support animals with the ability and desire to provide comfort to those in need.
All About Fox Creek Farms Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs
We have 72 doodles listed on our website that are service dogs or therapy dogs that were produced by Fox Creek Farms. These doodles have earned different titles in the Service and Therapy Dog fields as well as the testing requirements for a dog to earn its Canine Good Citizen certification. Fox Creek Farms values service dogs, and we are excited to contribute to the ability of people with disabilities to get assistance in the form of a service dog. In fact, when we have a litter of Goldendoodle puppies for sale, we accommodate those seeking a service dog first.
We are so proud of all of the service dogs and therapy dogs that have come out of Fox Creek Farms. But we want to highlight a couple of them.
- Richter was the world’s first Goldendoodle Seeing Eye Dog. Fox Creek Farms donated Richter to the Guide Dogs of America in California when he was just 8 weeks of age. His parents were Ellie and Hawkeye, and he was born on 4/23/03. His raiser was Judith Gomez. He graduated on 5/1/05 as the world’s first Goldendoodle seeing eye dog. Richter was then matched with a vision-impaired person, who supported her in pursuing her goals with increased mobility and independence.
- Fergie is a certified therapy dog who loves walking, playing fetch, and sticks. But she also loves visiting people who need emotional support. After regularly visiting her handler’s mother in assisted living, she got certified as a therapy dog. When she’s a visitor at the assisted living center, she is respectful of residents’ physical limitations and their interest in engaging with her.
Goldendoodles are incredibly smart, and they prove it by being able to pass the Canine Good Citizens Test and Therapy International Test.
Goldendoodle Service Dog Conclusion
In all, Goldendoodles are excellent candidates to become service dogs due to their intelligence, hypoallergenic coat, friendly nature, and affectionate behavior. There are many different kinds of service dogs, and all of them are trained to perform a variety of different tasks to support their handlers with disabilities. The selection of a puppy for service dog training is crucial, and breeders take many factors into consideration to help try and predict the best possible outcome. Service dogs provide invaluable support and assistance to their handlers, improving their quality of life and independence. Since Goldendoodles are super affectionate and caring animals, they love supporting their handlers on a daily basis.