People often don’t think of smaller dog breeds as service dogs. This is because of their small size and limited stamina.
With that being said, can a Cocker Spaniel be a service dog? Well, of course, they can be!
Being intelligent, loving, peaceful, and intuitive, Cocker Spaniels are suitable as service and therapy dogs. You can train them as service dogs to alert in a multitude of situations when help is needed. Cocker Spaniel service & therapy dogs are most often used to help owners who have PTSD & anxiety.
It is no secret that Cocker Spaniels are loved and fancied by dog parents. These little guys are not only playful and charismatic but also loving and devoted. In fact, it’s hard to stop talking about the Cocker Spaniel charm and cuteness.
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Read on to learn more about the reasons for a Cocker Spaniel’s suitability as a service dog.
Definition of service dogs
According to Americans with Disability Act (ADA): “A service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The tasks performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.”
Under the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA): “A service animal is any animal that is individually trained or able to provide assistance to a person with a disability; or any animal that assists persons with disabilities by providing emotional support.”
There are so many ways in which service dogs can assist humans. These laws don’t specify the particular dog breeds that can be considered service dogs. Thus, it’s not so surprising to see a small breed as a service dog. Their hard work can make all the difference in improving the quality of life for their owners.
Can a Cocker Spaniel be a service dog? What Services Do they Provide?
For obvious reasons, the Cocker Spaniel would not do well for people that need a Service Dog for tasks that involve physical support and heavy lifting. However, that doesn’t mean your Cocker Spaniel is out of the picture.
Loyal and loving Cocker Spaniels have proven adept at alerting their owners to symptoms associated with diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, or asthma.
Cocker Spaniels are very different from most service dogs but they do have some special talent.
- Cocker Spaniels are great for the hearing impaired and deaf.
- Cocker Spaniels can help individuals who have PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
- Despite being small, Cocker Spaniels can still be adept at helping around the house with more manageable projects.
- The Cocker Spaniel service dog is valuable for those who have psychiatric disorders such as autism and social anxiety disorders.
- Also, Cocker Spaniels have even proven themselves to be valuable as medical alert service animals. This breed can be trained to detect epileptic seizures and subtle changes in a diabetic’s glucose level. Cocker Spaniels can sense when their owners’ blood sugar reaches dangerous levels and let them know.
- Cocker Spaniels can be trained for lap duty. A trained Cocker Spaniel provides caregivers with the opportunity to physically embrace their four-legged companions.
Following are some of the manageable house chores any Cocker Spaniel can do:
- Fetching television remote
- Pulling open cabinet doors with soft handles
- Retrieving light clothing from the dryer
- Alerting their owner to specific sounds, like telephone ring, alarm, or if someone’s at the door
- Alerting their owner of baby cry
- Fetching the newspaper from the lawn
Consider training your Cocker Spaniel to become a service dog if he has the following characteristics:
- Your dog is intelligent and obedient
- Your dog is well-behaved in public situations.
- Your dog is healthy to perform the required tasks
- Your dog is quiet and active when in public
Cocker Spaniels are also not terribly wary of strangers, so they can do their jobs in public with no problem.
How To Make Your Cocker Spaniel a Service Dog
If you want your Cocker Spaniel to become a service dog the process is quite simple. Either you or a professional needs to train your dog to do a specific task for you. This task is something that you can not do or have trouble doing for yourself.
Whether the task is to detect when a seizure may be coming or alert you when your blood sugar is getting too low there needs to be a specific task that your dog is trained to do.
If this task is something that you need help with while in public areas your dog needs to be well socialized and able to be in a public place without being disruptive or aggressive.
A service dog is allowed to go into any public place with the exemption of some religious buildings. You do not have to have a license or any documentation stating that your dog is a service dog.
If you are questioned by a business about your service dog they are allowed to ask you 2 things.
“(1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability.” (Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA)
Although it is not required to have any identification for your service dog it can be very helpful to have a service vest for your dog so that you can avoid some uncomfortable questions or possible confrontations. Cocker Spaniel service dog owners have loved this vest for their dogs. You can check the prices on service vests by clicking here.
It’s important that if you plan to have your Cocker Spaniel be a service dog that you train it properly and don’t take advantage of the opportunity to have your dog with you in public places.
Because some people are taking advantage of just saying their dog is a service dog without the proper training it is shining a bad light on service dogs in general and making it more difficult for people who actually do need their dogs in order to function in society.
Pro Tip: Even though it is not required, It can be helpful to have some sort of identification for your service dog. Here you can find service tags and badges for your dog.
Difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog
Here are some key differences between service dogs and emotional support dogs:
- Service dogs perform duties and tasks that their disabled owner can’t do. Emotional support dogs offer comfort to people suffering from any trauma or mental health problem.
For example, for someone who suffers from PTSD if the dog is trained to go into a room to sniff, look around, and check that is safe and then come and signal to their owner that it’s ok to enter that would be a service dog. That would be a specific task that it has been trained to do. If the dog is just there to offer support and comfort to the person with PTSD, that is not a service dog.
- Service dogs need training while emotional support dogs do not undergo extensive training.
- Service dogs undergo quite a bit of training in order to be able to complete specific tasks for their owners.
- Service dogs can easily travel anywhere with their owners. Emotional assistance dogs cannot travel anywhere with their owners.
Are Cocker Spaniels good emotional support dogs?
With their small size and loving nature, Cocker Spaniels possess the qualities that make them wonderful emotional support dogs. Cocker Spaniels won’t give you the additional stress of transportation since they are fairly lightweight and very portable.
There’s nothing quite like the warmth of a sweet cold nose. Cocker Spaniels can provide you with emotional support as you go about your day. Cuddling up with a Cocker Spaniel can boost your spirits when you’re feeling low. They are wonderful family dogs!
Cocker Spaniel are capable of making their owners feel better and feel happier. They can be of great advantage to those with mental health conditions. Owners must train their Cocker Spaniel and ensure that they do not misbehave in public, despite the situation.
What to look for in a service dog
Regardless of the breed of dog, there are some qualities and characteristics a good Service Dog should possess. These include:
- The dog should be of the right size, with the right amount of strength and stamina to perform the required duties.
- The dog must be physically active as well as calm and peaceful when in public.
- The dog must be smart and a problem solver. It should have a some intelligence and obedience.
- The dog must always be well-behaved in public situations. They should not be aggressive, hyper, or snappy at public places.
Can a Cocker Spaniel be a Therapy Dog?
A therapy dog lends comfort and affection to people in an establishment or to certain people who require help to deal with a physical or emotional problem. They are neither service dogs nor emotional support dogs.
The responsibilities of therapy dogs are to provide comfort, assistance, and psychological therapy to individuals other than their handlers. Generally, they visit hospitals, schools, old age homes, nursing homes, and many more.
The Cocker Spaniel is an intelligent and easy-to-train breed. This fantastic combo of brains and beauty makes him an ideal therapy dog. Cocker Spaniel have a tendency to bark, so they need to be trained to stay quiet and calm.
The comfort that these energetic and tiny Cocker Spaniels can share is remarkable. This small breed is also valuable for those individuals that suffer from any psychiatric issues. Cocker Spaniel can provide relief to those in anxiety-provoking situations. They can bring comfort and relief to those who are grieving or lonely. Cocker Spaniels offer affection to people who are in hospitals or nursing homes.
Cocker Spaniels Characteristics and Personality
Cocker Spaniels are affectionate, fun-loving, and happy dogs. All Cocker Spaniels generally share the following personalities:
- Loyal: Loyalty is a natural behavior of Cocker Spaniels . These little dogs are very loyal to the family.
- Great Watchdogs: Cocker Spaniels are alert dogs who are fearless. They tend to bark at anything suspicious. If you want to get alert for unexpected people or animals, Cocker Spaniels serve as reliable watchdogs.
- Playful: Cocker Spaniels are playful dogs and enjoy playing and spending time with their human companions. They thrive on human companionship and can get anxious if they don’t get enough interaction with their owners.
- Intelligent: Cocker Spaniels are very intelligent and smart dogs. They can read and react appropriately to human gestures. These little guys have a good memory. Cocker Spaniels need mental stimulation to stay away from mischievous and destructive activities.
- Affectionate: Cocker Spaniels are very loving and affectionate dogs. They need your attention and affection but offer unconditional love to their owners.
- Barkers: Cocker Spaniels are vocal dogs with high barking potential. You can train your Cocker Spaniel to stop barking and to avoid unpleasant situations.
- Adapts well to apartment living: If you live in apartments, then this little guy is a suitable option for you. Cocker Spaniels are excellent apartment dwellers due to their smaller size.
- Easy to train: Cocker Spaniels need less time, patience, and repetition during training. They are smart and can easily get bored with repetitive training. Cocker Spaniels respond well to rewards-based training. You will need to use treats and games to teach Cocker Spaniels to comply with your requests.
These traits make the Cocker Spaniel a great therapy dog for people needing emotional support.
The temperament of Cocker Spaniel is affected by a number of factors, including genetics, training, and socialization.
Overall, a Cocker Spaniel is a small dog that is not capable of performing big tasks like pulling a wheelchair or supporting balance.
There are many Service Dog tasks that a Cocker Spaniel is capable of learning. These include being there for psychiatric issues and small duties around the home like opening cabinet doors.
The Cocker Spaniel’s size, personality, and capabilities make them a good emotional support dog. They can soothe people who need a furry companion through petting, cuddling, and doing simple tricks or playing games.
While we strive to give the most accurate and helpful information about your pet’s health that we can, this article is meant to be informational only and not medical advice. Never disregard, avoid or delay in obtaining medical advice from your veterinarian or other qualified veterinary health care provider regardless of what you have read on this site or elsewhere.