There’s little info on the origin of service dogs, just that they’ve been around for a long time. Some historians took note of a fresco found in the ruins of an ancient Roman city that shows a dog leading a blind man. Chinese scroll paintings from the Middle Ages also tell similar stories of dogs helping blind people.
In the United States, it was only when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 that service dogs were legally recognized. The act defines a service dog as any dog or other animals that are trained to provide assistance to a person with a disability.
This definition really makes a person wonder. Do the dogs we have at home automatically qualifies as service dog?
And for Shiba Inu owners, the question is does Shiba Inu makes a good service dog or not.
What is a service dog?
A service dog is a working dog specially trained to help a person with a disability or specific needs.
The Americans with Disabilities (ADA) defines service animals as “dogs that are that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.”
This means that your service dog is not a pet but is an assistant that helps with your disability. In the law, emotional support dogs and therapy dogs are not considered service animals.
Under the ADA, service dogs are allowed to enter businesses, including food service establishments, state and local government facilities, and non-profit organizations.
They should be in control at all time, meaning they are leashed or harnessed, unless these hinders them from their duties.
Also, handlers of service dogs are not charged more money because of their dogs and the only time they are to ask to leave is if their service dog is out of control or if not house trained.
Do Shiba Inu make good service dogs?
Because of a Shiba Inu’s temperament, they are not exactly on top of the list of most ideal service dogs. Labradors and Retrievers are more known to be most suitable for such jobs.
However, this doesn’t mean they are entirely off the list.
All dogs, regardless of their breeds, have the potential to become excellent service dogs. As long as they are properly trained, and mastered the fundamental skills of socializing, obedience, and specific service training, they are qualified to become one.
So a Shiba Inu as a service dog is 100% possible.
The Shiba Inu is an intelligent breed. They are quick learners, highly alert, and extremely loyal dogs. All of these traits are good qualities of service dogs.
But they also have downsides.
Shiba Inus are famously known to be stubborn. They will ignore commands and due to their high-prey drive, they tend to act without much thinking. These are also traits that are a no-no for service dogs.
But one thing’s for sure. If a Shiba Inu is able to pass the lengthy training process to be a service dog, then they are more than capable to be one, despite of their inherent characteristics.
Qualities of Service Dogs
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has laid down qualities that your dog should possess for it to be recognized as a service animal.
So these are the characteristics that your Shiba Inu should have to qualify as a service dog.
One of the most important traits of a service dog is being obedient. They should be able to hear, understand, and obey commands.
It doesn’t matter if he is professionally trained or trained at home, what’s important is that he is able to obey every command given.
Duration of training depends on the dog’s intelligence and could be within 10 days or up to 6 months. Nonetheless, 30 hours of total training time should be in public to make sure your Shiba is well-acquainted with the environment.
Shiba Inus as service dogs must have proper socialization skills and proper behavior.
They should not:
- Bark and jump on other dogs and people
- Sniff everything and everyone they come across
- Inappropriately poop or pee in public areas
- Eat food from strangers or other dogs
- Attack people
Whenever there is noise, disorder, or anything that excites them, service dogs should know to refrain from such situations.