Not all service dogs have to be a recognized breed. The Labradoodle service dog is a carefully selected mix of two different breeds, sometimes known as a designer dog. Labradoodles are popular children and family pets, but they originated as service dogs.
Labradoodle Service Dog - Everything You Need To Know
Labradoodles, a crossbreed between Labrador Retrievers and Poodles, combine the intelligence and trainability of both breeds. Their friendly and hypoallergenic qualities make them well-suited for roles such as therapy or emotional support dogs, providing comfort and companionship to individuals in various settings, including hospitals, schools, or homes.
In this article
Ladbradoodle Service Dog
Labradoodles make excellent service dogs. This mixed breed inherits the best traits from both parents, making them intelligent, gentle, and highly trainable. They can serve as guide dogs, therapy dogs, and alert dogs for various disabilities, making them an ideal choice for anyone in need of a service animal.
The Bottom Line
- What are service dogs? - With special training, service dogs learn to perform tasks for handlers with disabilities.
- Why Labradoodles as service dogs? - Labradoodles possess traits of two different breeds that each make good therapy dogs and assistance dogs in their own right.
- How to get a Labradoodle service dog - You need a letter from a health professional to qualify for a service or therapy dog.
- What's the difference between a service dog vs. ESA? - Emotional support animals do not receive special training to perform particular tasks as service animals do.
What Are Service Dogs?
If you have a disability, whether physical or mental, there are tasks that are necessary for daily life that may be challenging and potentially even unsafe for you to do on your own. A service animal receives training to carry out specific tasks for you that would otherwise pose a challenge. Relying on your service dog helps you become more independent while keeping you safe.
Why Labradoodles Make Great Service Dogs
A Labradoodle is a mix between a Labrador retriever and a poodle and combines the strengths of both breeds.
Dander refers to flakes of skin that come off when a dog sheds its fur. Labrador retrievers are high-shedding breeds. Poodles rarely shed and so do not produce as much dander. Labradoodles with woolly, poodle-like coats are less likely to shed as much, making them more appropriate for households in which family members are allergic.
Not all Labradoodles have the low-shedding, hypoallergenic coat of their poodle parents. Some have hair coats that resemble Labrador retrievers more closely and are more likely to aggravate allergies. Others have a wavy coat, called fleece dog fur, which may aggravate symptoms.
As one of the most intelligent dog breeds, poodles often work as service dogs. The first Labradoodle service dog may never have come to be, except that samples of poodle hair all aggravated the allergies of the spouse of an individual who needed a guide dog or hypoallergenic service dog.
Labradoodle puppies that inherit the intelligence of their poodle parent are likely to be good service dogs. While the Labrador retriever is not as intelligent as the poodle, both breeds are very receptive to task training.
Labrador retrievers are mainly known for being easygoing, friendly dogs that get along well with people and other animals. They are loyal, loving, and eager to please. These are traits that make Labradors good service dogs in their own right. Labradoodle service dogs combine the poodle's intelligence with the affectionate nature of the Labrador retriever. The result is often a service dog and a great companion that combines the strengths of both breeds in an allergy-friendly package.
A standard poodle and a Labrador retriever are each relatively large dog breeds. When bred together to produce Labradoodles, the offspring often grow to a similar size. However, there are different sizes of poodles that can cross with Labrador retrievers to produce Labradoodles. The size variance may result in puppies that grow to be of various sizes when they grow up, which could be advantageous if you need a smaller-sized service dog. However, it can be difficult to predict whether the puppy will inherit the size of its Labrador parent or its tinier poodle parent.
The Labrador retriever and the poodle are hunting dogs bred for hard work and endurance. They are born to spend hours at one time out in the field, retrieving game for hunters. Labradoodles inherit their parents' stamina and trainability. These traits can channel into task training to make them excellent service dogs. However, the dog's temperament also plays a factor.
What Tasks Can a Labradoodle Perform?
The type of service dog you need depends on your disability and situation, e.g., allergies to dog dander.
Picking Up Dropped Items
Both Labradors and poodles initially retrieved game for hunters. Therefore, fetching and carrying are in the Labradoodle's DNA. Through their training, Labradoodle service dogs can learn to pick up objects you have dropped if you have mobility limitations, physical disabilities, or trouble with manual dexterity.
Labradoodles that are moderate to large may have the strength required to pull wheelchairs for their handlers. Pulling a wheelchair may be necessary if a manual wheelchair that the handler cannot propel independently.
Calming an Anxiety Attack
A Labradoodle can recognize when a handler has an anxiety attack and provide a calming touch with its paws with service dog training.
Protecting a Handler Having a Seizure
Labradoodles are very loyal to their owners and eager to help. Labradoodle service dogs can receive training to detect when their handlers are about to have a seizure. When they detect that a seizure is about to start, they can get them to a safe area and position.
Reminding Handler To Take Their Medications
A mental illness can make it challenging to remember to take your medication, allowing symptoms to return. Again, a Labradoodle's training, affection, and loyalty make it possible for a service dog to remind you to take your medications at the designated time.
How To Get a Labradoodle Service Dog
A letter outlining your need from a licensed mental health professional is the first step in obtaining a psychiatric service animal of any breed.
Getting a Labradoodle service dog letter can take a while if you attempt to get one by seeing a licensed mental health professional in person. If you are not working with a licensed mental health professional, you must find and schedule an appointment to meet with them.
This mental health professional may or may not decide that you need a Labradoodle service dog and can deny you a service dog letter. If you want to speak to someone else for a second opinion, you will have to start this process over from the beginning. This method is time-consuming and potentially expensive, depending on your health insurance.
Luckily for you, Pettable has a more straightforward alternative.
Complete Our Assessment
Go to our website and fill out our quick assessment. It only takes about three minutes to fill out, and it will give us information for a thorough evaluation.
Consult With a Therapist
We can match you with a licensed mental health professional in your area from the information you give us in your assessment and some necessary consent and privacy forms. Use the provided link to schedule a live consultation.
Train Your Labradoodle Service Dog
To have your Labradoodle legally recognized as an official service dog you will need to make sure it is properly trained. You can train the dog yourself with the help of an online service dog training program, or reach out to a professional trainer for their help. Typically, training the dog yourself is the most cost-effective option.
Get a Psychiatric Service Dog Letter
Based on the consultation, the licensed mental health professional can write you a legally recognized psychiatric service dog (PSD) letter. If you qualify for a service animal, you can have the letter within 24 hours if you choose that option and don't live in California. We offer a money-back guarantee if your letter doesn't work.
Can I Train My Labradoodle To Be a Service Dog?
It may be possible to train your Labradoodle to be a service dog yourself if your disability is relatively mild and the tasks you have to teach your dog are relatively simple. Otherwise, you may have to engage a professional trainer to teach your dog more complicated tasks.
Training your Labradoodle to be a specially trained service dog starts with teaching basic obedience, preferably using positive reinforcement. When your dog behaves consistently, you should practice in a public place to see if the dog training holds up amidst distractions.
Where Can I Adopt a Labradoodle Service Dog?
The best source is probably an organization devoted to raising and training service dogs because you will know that the dog has received the proper evaluation and training. You may also be able to adopt a Labradoodle alert dog from a popular breed rescue.
You can also purchase a Labradoodle puppy from a breeder. Because Labradoodles are popular pets, some dishonest breeders put profit ahead of the dogs' health and well-being. Therefore, make sure you go to a reputable breeder.
What Disabilities Qualify for a Labradoodle Service Dog?
The service dogs most people are generally familiar with are guide dogs for people with disabilities who are blind or have low vision and hearing dogs, who assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, these are not the only disabilities that qualify for a service dog.
Psychiatric service dogs assist people with severe symptoms of mental illness that interfere with daily life, including:
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Panic attacks
- Personality disorders
What is the ACAA?
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) is a law that makes it illegal for travel providers to discriminate against people with disabilities, and it requires that air travel be made accessible. Any accommodations provided to meet that standard also cannot come with an extra charge.
In addition to the ACAA, disabled passengers should also know about the Bill of Rights for Disabled Passengers. This bill of rights includes ten legal protections that passengers have as airline patrons in the United States. This does not expand or restrict any disability rights that have been established already, but rather, it summarizes existing law.
Recent Changes in Airplane ESA Policy
In December 2020, The United States Department of Transportation changed its rules on emotional support animals flying in the main cabin of an airplane. Effective January 2021, the U.S. DOT no longer classifies ESAs as service animals. The new rule, similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act, defines a service animal as a "dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability."
As of September 2022, there have been no policy changes regarding which animals are allowed to board with passengers.
Airline Pet Policies to Know
If you plan on traveling with a Labradoodle, there are many things to consider to ensure safe travels for you and your dog. There are some airline-specific rules you should be aware of, but here are some general rules to get you started.
Most, if not all, airlines will require you to pay a fee to bring your Labradoodle as a carry-on for the flight. This fee may increase depending on the size and weight of your dog.
Some airlines restrict the breeds of dogs that are allowed to be stored in cargo. Short-nosed breeds will not commonly be allowed because they will likely have difficulty breathing during the flight.
Travel requirements may change between domestic, international, and U.S. inbound flights, so you should make sure you know the laws and procedures of the country you are flying to or from.
What Is the Difference Between Psychiatric Service Dogs vs. Emotional Support Dogs?
The main difference is the level of training each receives. An emotional support animal helps ease symptoms of mental illness by its presence but does not have the training to perform tasks for you specifically. A service dog is trained to perform tasks to aid in treating one or more of its handler’s conditions.
The law recognizes ESAs and service dogs as different support aids and provides legal protections accordingly. The law requires exceptions to no-pet policies in housing for ESAs, but they have limited legal protections otherwise. The ADA protects psychiatric service dogs that have received training to perform specific tasks and services for their handlers. They are service animals, so they can be in “no pet” spaces to remain with their handler.
Frequently Asked Questions About Labradoodle Service Dogs
Here are some answers to questions about working dogs in general and Labradoodle service dogs in particular.
How Much Does a Labradoodle Service Dog Cost?
Labradoodle puppies sold as pets cost hundreds of dollars. A service dog of any breed or combination can cost at least $15,000 because of the investment of time in training. There are also ongoing expenses related to dog ownership, including veterinary care and food.
How To Catch a Fake Labradoodle Service Dog
Because Labradoodles are not a breed, it may be easy to pass off any dog from other breeds as a Labradoodle. Dealing with a reputable breeder is essential because it can be hard to tell the difference, especially with puppies.
Can You Get a Labradoodle Service Dog for Anxiety?
You can get a Labradoodle service dog for anxiety if you have a letter from a licensed mental health professional confirming the diagnosis and attesting to your need.
Can Any Dog Be a Service Dog?
Only dogs with the right temperament and who can carry out the training can be service dogs. However, a service dog can be any breed under the law, including mixed breeds, such as Labradoodles.
Do Labradoodle Service Dogs Have To Be on a Leash?
The law requires the handler to maintain control of a service dog. Control includes restraining the dog with a leash or harness when working in public.
Does Insurance Cover Labradoodle Service Dogs?
The handler's responsibility is typically the expenses associated with service dogs, acquiring them, and caring for them. Health insurance usually does not cover them.
How To Get a Psychiatric Service Dog?
The first step in getting a psychiatric service dog is obtaining a letter from a licensed mental health professional describing your condition and your need for assistance.
How Long Does It Take To Train Labradoodle Service Dogs?
Training a service dog typically takes 18 months to two years. A dog may be more receptive to training at a young age, so it is best to start training before your dog is two years old, if possible.
Are Labradoodle Service Dogs Allowed Everywhere?
The law requires admittance to service dogs in public places, including restaurants, hospitals, schools, and public transportation. Apartment buildings that typically have no-pet policies still have to allow service animals. Places of worship do not have to allow service dogs.
How To Get a Labradoodle Service Dog for PTSD?
If you are a former military member with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, veterans' organizations may be able to help you find a Labradoodle PTSD service dog.
Does My Psychiatric Service Dog Need A Vest?
Psychiatric service dogs are not required to wear vests or any identification, according to the ADA. You are welcome to buy an identifying vest if you believe that that will make you feel more comfortable being in public with your PSD, but the choice is up to you.
What Can Disqualify A Labradoodle From Becoming A Service Dog?
Generally, dogs that display aggressive behaviors in public are poor choices to be PSDs because private businesses are legally allowed to ask you to leave if your service dog is behaving unruly.
How Many Tasks Does A Service Dog Need To Know?
There is not a specific number of tasks a service dog needs to be able to complete in order to be considered a “real” service dog. They need to be able to complete at least one task related to your condition or illness, and if you want to teach them more, you can!
What Age Is Too Late To Train A Labradoodle Service Dog?
There isn’t a specific age that makes it impossible to be trained. As long as your dog is able or has the accommodations to follow you around and provide support, they are the right age.
There are also benefits and drawbacks to training a dog at any age, so it is best to do what works for you and your situation.
Still have questions? Learn more about service dogs with Pettable today!