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October 2018

  /    /  October

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) allows two types of animals to serve as Service Animals: dogs and miniature horses. Read on to learn more about mini horses as Service Animals! Miniature horses are small, sturdy horses ranging in size from 26" to 38" tall. They can weigh 55 to 200 pounds, and they come in a variety of colors and patterns. These hardworking little animals are easy to keep and maintain. Minis possess a sweet-natured and docile, and many showcase high levels of intelligence. What Type of Service Do Miniature Horses Provide? Miniature horses are best known for their work as guide animals, but they also make excellent mobility assistance animals. They've been experimentally used for guide work since 1999 with outstanding results. Mini horses are less common mobility Service Animals than dogs, but for a variety of reasons, they're an excellent candidate. Guide Horses, the premier training organization of miniature horses as Service Animals, notes "In early experiments, Guide Horses have shown great promise as a mobility option, and  people who have tried Guide Horses report that the Guide Horses perform exceptionally well at keeping their person safe." Other Working Jobs Miniature Horses Do Miniature Horses also commonly work as therapy animals, as they're very gentle, interactive, and intuitive. The best known mini horse animal assisted therpay program in the U.S. is Gentle Carousel Therapy Horses. Teams of tiny Gentle Carousel horses visit over 25,000 adults and children each year inside hospitals, hospice programs, and with families, veterans and first responders who have experienced traumatic events. Finally, there's been some exploration into utilizing mini horses in search and rescue. Air Scenting Horses has successfully trained at least one mini to the standards required by the National Association For Search and Rescue for human remains detection. Experts have trained many full sized horses for detection jobs, and miniature horses possess many of the same traits. Requirements for Mini Horses as Service Animals Like any Service Animal, miniature horses must possess a sound temperament and good structure before being considered for service work. They must be individually trained to meet their person's needs, and their person must be considered disabled as defined by U.S. federal law. Miniature Horses who work in public require extensive desensitization so they're able to work calmly through distractions. Horses can be naturally spooky, so socialization ranks high on the list of requirements. In addition to the public access training, the mini horse requires house training and task training. What

It’s that time of year again, back to school! As you are hurrying around getting all of your school supplies in order and planning for the year ahead, make sure that you spend some time making sure your Service Dog is all set-up for the new school year as well.

Fire departments and dogs have been working together for a couple centuries or more. Historically, Dalmatians were known for their ability to clear the way for the horse-drawn fire wagons. In modern times, working dogs still play a very important, but different, role in fire departments across the country. Arson Dogs Arson Dogs sniff out accelerants left behind at fire scenes. These hard-working detection dogs perform important work with their fire investigation handlers. They're taught to sift through the remains of suspicious fires, smelling for trace amounts of common fire-starting substances like gasoline or lighter fluid. When an arson dog encounters a substance they've been trained to detect, they sit next to the source of the scent in order to alert their handler to its presence. Arson Dogs can be any breed of dog with a lot of food or toy drive. Usually, though, arson dogs come from the retriever or sporting dog groups, which includes popular breeds like the Labrador Retriever, German Shorthaired Pointer, and several types of working spaniels. There are hundreds of arson dogs at work in the States today, with many of them provided to fire departments by the State Farm Arson Dog Training Program. Search and Rescue Dogs Search and Rescue Dogs search for lost or missing people in wilderness, urban, and disaster environments. Fire departments often employ Search and Rescue Dogs to help them find or recover missing people more quickly. Some teams, like the Phoenix Fire Department in Arizona, are certified as a FEMA Task Force, and their search dogs work worldwide during urban disasters. Search and Rescue Dogs are usually medium or large dogs who possess a lot of stamina, drive, and good temperaments. Labradors, Border Collies, and German Shepherds excel at search and rescue work. Tracking Dogs Tracking Dogs follow scent trails left on the ground by wandering people. These specialized scent work dogs excel at recovering people on foot, whether or not they want to be found. When the trail is fresh, a tracking dog can follow it through a variety of terrains, including urban ones like concrete or asphalt. Some tracking dogs can follow trails that are weeks or months old. Fire departments commonly use tracking dogs to help recover lost children or missing elderly people. Bloodhound are the most well-known tracking dogs, but Labradors, German Shepherds, and other working dog breeds often perform the job well. Crisis Response Canines Crisis Response Canines are a type of therapy dog. These