Service dogs are important members of our society – they allow people with disabilities to have a higher quality of life. Their roles can be demanding and stressful at times so service dogs must undergo intense training. Not all dogs are suitable however, specific traits are needed to prevent harm coming to both the dog and its owner.
If you are reading this article, you are likely wondering if Huskies have the necessary traits to be service dogs. After all, they are incredibly friendly and great problem solvers. So, can Huskies be service dogs? Keep reading to find out why the breed is surprisingly unsuitable.
WHAT IS A SERVICE DOG?
Before we ask whether Huskies can be service dogs, let’s make sure we understand what a service dog actually is.
According to the ‘Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)’, service dogs are defined as ‘dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities’. Tasks that may be performed by a service dog include, but are not limited to:
- Protecting a person who is having a seizure
- Guiding someone who is blind
- Calming a person who is having a severe anxiety attack
- Relaying a signal to a deaf person
- Providing medication reminders
- Alerting a diabetic person to changes in their blood sugar levels
The ADA makes it clear that service dogs are working animals and not pets, and that dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort/emotional support do not qualify as service dogs.
Service dogs typically go through an intense training period at a young age to learn how to behave and react depending on their owner’s needs. Emotional support dogs are just as needed for many people who live with mental and physical disabilities, but they will not be granted the same access with their owners as true service dogs.
WHAT QUALITIES ARE NEEDED IN A SERVICE DOG?
Let’s take a look at the qualities that a required to make a good service dog. Many people depend on their service dogs in stressful and difficult situations, so the dogs must have the required personalities to act appropriately.
Possibly the most important quality needed for a service dog is intelligence. Service dogs are heavily relied on by their owners in many different situations, so they must be able to think and act quickly. Problem-solving is a key part of a service dog’s role, and some tasks can be more difficult than others.
Service dogs will often be relied on in stressful situations. They may be required to act quickly and efficiently to prevent harm from coming to their owner. For that reason, confidence is essential. A service dog must not get anxious easily and must be able to act appropriately in stressful situations.
An Enjoyment for Working
Dogs don’t have the same level of understanding of job responsibilities as humans do. They do not understand that they can’t stop working whenever they feel like it. Therefore, a good service dog must enjoy the work that they are doing so that they keep on wanting to do a good job. It is not only unfair to force a dog to do work that they don’t enjoy, but it will also likely result in the job being done poorly.
As we have already discussed, a large part of a service dog’s role involves reducing stress for its owner. It should be no surprise then that a service dog must be very friendly and should easily form a strong bond with its owner. Service dogs should be loyal to their owners and should be friendly towards strangers who may be required to assist their owners.
The Ability to Remain Calm
Service dogs are often relied on in public situations, and will typically accompany their owners whenever possible. Out in the world, many distractions could cause a dog to become stressed or overly excited. Common distractions include heavy traffic in cities, or people wanting to pet said dog. A good service dog must be able to remain calm with distractions around them so that they can focus on doing their job.
CAN HUSKIES BE SERVICE DOGS?
So, we now know what a service dog is and the traits needed for a dog to be successful in its role. It’s time to ask the most important question of this article – can Huskies be service dogs?
It may be a surprise to some owners to hear that Huskies are not suitable dogs for service training. Let’s discuss why by looking at the traits we mentioned previously.
Firstly, Huskies are known for being very easily distracted. If you are an owner of the breed, you will have undoubtedly encountered their short attention span during training sessions. It can be difficult to maintain their attention for very short amounts of time.
When a service dog is working, they will need to keep their attention on their owner and their surroundings for hours at a time. Being distracted for even a minute could lead to serious danger, so it’s not worth the risk to try and force an easily distractable dog (such as a Husky) into a working role.
Secondly, Huskies have built a reputation for being the opposite of calm. We think everyone on the internet must have seen a video of a Husky throwing a tantrum by now! A service dog needs to remain calm when working, and we can too easily imagine a Husky being dramatic and overly stubborn when faced with a task they don’t want to do.
Huskies do possess some of the necessary qualities for being a service dog. They are undoubtedly a friendly breed, and we’ve witnessed their problem-solving skills many times when they’ve tried to escape from our gardens. Whilst it might be possible to train a Husky to be a service dog, we think it would be extremely difficult as it would require going against a Husky’s nature.
Although Huskies are not destined to be the next great service dog breed, they do make wonderful emotional support dogs. They have plenty of love to give and will never turn down the extra attention.
Below are our quick answers to some of the internet’s most frequently asked questions surrounding Huskies as service dogs.
What is the difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog?
Service dogs are working dogs that undergo a lengthy training period to learn how to support someone with a specific disability. Their role as service dogs grants them access to places that are usually restricted to other animals. This is because their owner’s health is often dependent on having them with them.
An emotional support dog does not need to be trained to perform specific tasks. They will provide emotional support to their owners but not usually physical support.
Can a Husky be trained to be a service dog?
It is not recommended to train a Husky to be a service dog. Huskies do not possess all of the required traits to be a successful service dog, and training them would require forcing them to unlearn their instincts. It is likely that if a Husky was trained to be a service dog, they would not enjoy working as they would be put in stressful situations which Huskies do not typically react well to.
Huskies are not ideal service dogs after all. Their tendency to be easily distracted combined with their reputation for throwing tantrums means that training them to become service dogs would be more hassle than it’s worth. Not only that, but Huskies are unlikely to enjoy being service dogs due to the everyday stresses involved. Not to worry though, Huskies can make wonderful emotional support dogs!
If you have any questions related to this article, please get in contact with us through our form by clicking here.