It has been estimated that up to 20% of the population of every country in the world has a disability; this adds up to a total figure of over 650 million people. For many of these persons, having a disability assistance dog can mean the difference between complete isolation and full integration into their society. Disability assistance dogs are often trained from being puppies to help and support those individuals with a range of health issues, such as epilepsy, blindness and autism as well as those with severe physical disabilities.
The dog training involved in preparing these animals for a life assisting people to gain a degree of independence is very stringent in order to allow the dog to be of greater use to those who need them.
The dog training prepares the canine for the undertaking of a wide range of essential everyday tasks, such as retrieving a range of objects, helping to signal the need for a person to administer medicines or to call for further help; often, these are basic tasks which those with medical conditions are unable to perform for themselves.
Many people also have very individualistic needs and dog training can be tailored to address these requirements. For instance, many with disabilities are unable to dress themselves and assistance dogs can now help with this process.
In addition, having a disability assistance dog can allow someone to avoid the isolation and loneliness of being housebound. Often these dogs help individuals to socialise with neighbours by becoming a catalyst for conversations or dialogue.
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