Service animals are essential to securing a better quality of life for people with various disabilities. Whether the person is hard of hearing, has severe post-traumatic stress disorder, or experiences epileptic seizures, they can have more peace of mind that crises can be mitigated or even averted altogether with a trained service dog.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about Chihuahuas as a service animal, including answers to the following questions:
The Bottom Line:
- What are service dogs? Service dogs are specially trained animals that can assist their owners with physical tasks, emotional stress, etc.
- Why are Chihuahuas good service dogs? Chihuahuas are small, sweet-tempered, and bond very strongly with their adoptive owners.
- How can you obtain your own Chihuahua service dog? Completing a quick assessment can help us get a comprehensive understanding of your needs for pet service.
- What's the difference between a service dog and an ESA? Service dogs are specially trained to assist with physical and emotional problems; an ESA receives no special training.
What Are Service Dogs?
Service dogs have learned to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities. Service dog training includes the process of the dogs learning to perform actions on cue that are helpful or necessary for the person or family members they are serving. Because of how essential they are to dog owners, service dogs have special privileges when staying with their owners in public places and traveling with them. There are about 500,000 service dogs currently working in the United States.
Why Chihuahuas Make Great Service Dogs
Chihuahuas, known for their small size, loving nature, and sassy attitudes, are popular dogs to keep as pets, and they are also an excellent option for those looking to find or train a good service dog. Here are five reasons why Chihuahuas make great service dogs or therapy dogs, thanks to their appropriate competence and temperament.
Chihuahuas Are Loyal
The loyalty and unconditional love that Chihuahuas show to their owners is a crucial characteristic of their success as service dogs. Loyalty from a dog is one of the most critical aspects of building a relationship of trust with the owner, and trust, in turn, allows the owner to lean on the ability of a service dog to help them.
Chihuahuas Can Live Long Lives
Chihuahuas can live upwards of 18 years (longer than many dog breeds). Because of this, those with long-term disabilities can count on them for an extended period without the need to find a new service dog. Their longevity also means that their bond can grow very strong throughout their working relationship.
Chihuahuas Are Intelligent
Being intelligent dogs, many Chihuahuas are well-suited to learning and working with a purpose, precisely what any service dog needs to do. This ability to retain information and utilize it is essential because it can directly impact the person the service dog is serving. There may be times that this ability to respond in a crisis could save the owner's life.
Chihuahuas Are Conveniently Sized
Because Chihuahuas are small dogs, they are easier to travel with and carry. Their size can be beneficial for those with physical disabilities and those who need to take a lot of flights for work. It can also help prevent the service dog from being overwhelming to other people in public (which is a helpful consideration for those with small or large dogs as service dogs).
Chihuahuas Are Relatively Low-Maintenance
Finally, as a small dog breed, Chihuahuas don't require much exercise as many other dog breeds. The lack of exercise can afford the owner extra breathing room when caring for their service animal, which can be critical, especially for those with physical disabilities. While it's essential for service dogs to be well taken care of, the more they can alleviate burdens for their owners, the better.
What Tasks Can a Chihuahua Perform?
Chihuahuas are great at retrieving items for their owners, whether as crucial as an inhaler or something as incidental as a TV remote. While this physical support task is simple, it's still vitally important. It can also save a person with physical impairment a lot of trouble (potentially protecting them from injury). The list of retrievable items is limited only by the physical ability of the dog to carry them.
Alerting About Dangerous Blood Sugar Levels
Amazingly, service dogs (including Chihuahuas) can sense and alert a person with diabetes about dangerous blood sugar levels. Of all the specific tasks that a service dog can handle, this is one of the most important and potentially life-saving, especially when retrieving the proper medication or other items that the person needs to handle the situation.
Helping With Psychiatric Conditions
Service animals can also help with psychiatric conditions. People with PTSD, for example, might have a Chihuahua service dog that can help calm them down when they experience an anxiety attack in public, or their service animal might help them turn on the lights or check rooms in their house. This kind of help is different from more general emotional support, though a Chihuahua can certainly also give emotional support to people suffering.
Leading To Important Sounds
Chihuahuas can be great hearing service dogs. Hard-of-hearing people can miss important alerts, whether in public or at home. For example, if a crying baby is in distress and its mother or father isn't able to hear it, the service dog can lead them to the baby. If a fire alarm goes off and there isn't anyone around to indicate it, the service Chihuahua dog performs the task of leading its owners to an exit.
Providing Reminders To Take Medications
Another valuable thing a Chihuahua working dog can do is remind many owners to take the medications they need. Missing medication dosages can be very dangerous, and, especially for those with memory impairment, it's invaluable to have a built-in reminder.
How To Get a Chihuahua Service Dog
Complete Our Assessment
The first thing you should do is complete our simple assessment (which only takes a few minutes) so that we can better understand your particular needs for pet service.
Consult With a Therapist
Next, you'll fill out a few more necessary forms that will allow us to connect you to a licensed mental health professional. You'll meet with them so they can officially evaluate whether you qualify for a PSD (a psychiatric support dog).
Get a Psychiatric Service Letter
If the licensed professional you met with affirms your need for a PSD, they will write an official PSD letter that will officially and legally demonstrate your need for service dog support.
It's essential that you are satisfied with the service we provide you, so please contact us if you have any questions or concerns. If our PSD letter process does not work out for you, we will offer a 100% refund.
Can I Train My Own Chihuahua To Be a Service Dog?
Yes, you can. While many people opt to hire someone else to train their dogs, it is acceptable to do it yourself. It may even be desirable because you know better than anyone else what your specific service animal needs are. As long as your service dog receives proper training, it doesn't matter if you do the teaching or if a professional trainer does.
Where Can I Adopt a Chihuahua Service Dog?
While you may or may not find an already-trained Chihuahua service dog to adopt, you can adopt a Chihuahua from anywhere you would typically adopt from, then train it properly to be a service dog. That means your service dog ultimately might come from a shelter, a breeder, or a pet store.
What Disabilities Qualify for a Chihuahua Service Dog?
Any physical or mental disability that significantly impacts your quality of life or ability to perform simple tasks can qualify you for a Chihuahua service dog, under federal law, including the Americans With Disabilities Act. Whether you have significant hearing loss and need a hearing dog, have a mobility impairment, or experience a whole host of mental disabilities, you can qualify for the help of a properly-trained service animal.
What's the Difference Between Psychiatric Service Dogs vs. Emotional Support Dogs?
Sometimes emotional support animals (ESAs) are confused with psychiatric service animals. While this is understandable, the two are different. A psychiatric service animal is a dog trained to do specific tasks to assist someone unable to do so alone.
On the other hand, an emotional support animal is a dog or other animal present primarily for emotional support for someone with a mental condition. Notably, not only can you get an official PSD letter from us to demonstrate your need for a psychiatric service dog, but you can also get an official ESA letter from us to demonstrate your ESA need.
Frequently Asked Questions about Chihuahua Service Dogs
How Much Does a Chihuahua Service Dog Cost?
A fully-trained service dog can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000, and you also have to factor in the cost of the care (food, shelter, medical needs) that the service dog needs regularly.
How To Catch a Fake Chihuahua Service Dog?
The most obvious way to spot a fake service dog via a close search is the lack of characteristics such as discipline, focus, and professional presence around other dogs and people. If a supposed service dog is particularly aggressive, unfocused, or disruptive, it may be a fake service dog.
Can You Get a Chihuahua Service Dog for Anxiety?
Yes, you can. A service dog, by definition, can perform tasks to help people who need it. If anxiety gets in the way of everyday life functions, a service dog can help. People with anxiety disorders can get a Chihuahua service dog to help ease anxiety attacks.
Can Any Dog Be a Service Dog?
Yes, any particular trained dog can be a service dog.
Do Chihuahua Service Dogs Have To Be on a Leash?
Yes, all service dogs need to be leashed or harnessed when spending time in public.
Does Insurance Cover Chihuahua Service Dogs?
No, health insurance does not cover getting a service dog.
How To Get a Psychiatric Service Dog?
To get a psychiatric service dog, start by obtaining a PSD letter from us. After that, you can research the right place to get the service dog that can best help you.
How Long Does It Take To Train Chihuahua Service Dogs?
Full training for a service dog takes six months to three years. The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) recommends that a service dog's training be at least 120 hours over six months. The dog must also complete at least 30 hours of practicing its skills in public.
Are Chihuahua Service Dogs Allowed Everywhere?
Yes, fully-trained service dogs are allowed to go anywhere public with you.
How To Get a Chihuahua Service Dog for PTSD?
To get a Chihuahua service dog for PTSD, start by obtaining your PSD letter from us, and from there, you can find the right service dog for your situation.