Service Dogs for Autism: Goods or Bad? (& Which Breeds?)

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Service dogs for autism are being pushed by celebrities and politicians as an effective treatment, but some wonder if it’s a solution that has side effects.

The “worst dog breeds for autism” is a question that has been asked by many people. The answer to the question is not so easy to find. I have found a list of breeds that are considered bad and dangerous, but there are also some great dogs on the list.


Service dogs are trained to assist individuals with a variety of developmental and behavioral issues, including autism. While not every kid benefits from owning a dog as a pet or as a service animal, multiple studies show that social and physical contact with well-trained therapy or service animals assist many children with autism.

A service dog has been specially trained to keep your kid safe, calm in stressful circumstances, and out of harm’s way. These dogs may also help you manage other parts of your child’s care.

Different dog breeds are better for dealing with autistic youngsters. Inquire with your kid’s behavior therapist about if a service dog might be beneficial to your youngster. Before choosing whether a therapy or service dog is best for your family, you may be able to meet with one.

Finding the Right Dog for Your Child With Autism Goes Beyond the Family Pet

Almost every youngster desires a pet at some time in their lives. Children like engaging with animals, learning how to care for them, understanding their behaviors, and treating them as family members, whether it’s a fish, hamster, cat, or dog.

Children acquire empathy and care when they engage with pets, according to many psychological research. Youngsters may learn reciprocal compassion through the unconditional affection that dogs exhibit their owners, especially children. Pets and their owners engage in a variety of exciting, lively ways, which might motivate kids to get more exercise and try new things like sharing toys or figuring out games.

Service animals or therapy animals, for example, may be very useful to children with special needs, including children with autism. While each child’s pet tastes may vary, many young children like dogs, and dogs make excellent service animals.

If your kid enjoys dogs, you may work with certain groups to locate a therapy dog that has been specially trained to help children with autism. You can discover a therapy dog with a personality that will captivate your youngster.

How to Decide whether a Service Dog Is Right for You

The majority of families that had support dogs for their children with autism benefited from their bond with the dog, according to a research. 67 percent of the families polled had a dog, and 94 percent of those said their kid with autism connected with the dog, playing and sharing personal space in ways that many children with autism fail to accomplish otherwise.

Parents said that the dog sometimes caused sensory difficulties, and that having a pet was a time and financial strain. However, having a dog that interacted with the youngster taught the child companionship and responsibility.

Other studies have shown that children who have pets, such as dogs, from an early age have greater social skills than their classmates. This may be beneficial for youngsters on the autistic spectrum who might otherwise struggle to socialize. Children’s social skills improve in the short term after spending even a little time engaging with therapy animals in a therapeutic environment, according to studies.

While clinical studies are crucial indications of how a support dog may aid your kid, there are additional factors to consider for you as a person, such as:

  • Is your youngster fond of animals in general and dogs in particular?
  • Is there someone in your family who is allergic to animals?
  • Can you devote the time and money required to care for the dog over a long period of time?

For children with autism, service dogs are trained to do certain tasks.

There are various alternatives for a prospective service dog to help your kid since many types of dogs are simple to train and trained to be sociable and gentle. Service dogs are trained by a variety of organizations, so you are unlikely to purchase a puppy and train it yourself. You could still be interested in learning about or taking part in this training so that you can easily work with your new pet and teach your youngster how to care for it.

Other sorts of therapy animals do not get the same level of training as service dogs. Many businesses and public venues are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to allow persons with service animals to enter with them. The animal will do useful activities such as reducing anxiety, guiding for walking, detecting probable seizures, and more. A service dog will wear a “cape,” which is a form of vest or harness that identifies the animal as having received particular training.

Dogs trained to work with autistic children to keep them safe by obeying particular directions from caretakers warn the kid or carers of potentially unsafe circumstances. They also support the child’s emotions and assist them in remaining calm.

A service dog working with an autistic kid may give assistance at locations or activities such as:

The Best Breeds for Autism Service Dogs

Humans have bred dogs for thousands of years for a variety of reasons, from hunting to companionship. Some dog breeds are much more clever and sociable than others, making them easy to teach, gentle with youngsters, and friendly.

Here are some of the finest breeds to consider for your child’s autism service dog:

  • Golden Retrievers (Golden Retrievers) are a breed Retrievers are particularly popular pets for children of all ages due to their amiable natures, intelligence, and silky coats. This breed makes excellent service animals because to its intelligence and kindness. Golden retrievers are trained by several groups that specialize in autism support dogs.
  • Labrador retrievers: These short-haired puppies are another bright and kind type of dog. They are one of the most popular breeds in the United States. Once taught, they are devoted to their owners and dedicated to their tasks. Their calm demeanor makes them ideal pets for autistic youngsters.
  • Because the dog was developed in harsh northern settings, the Great Pyrenees is known for its fluffy coat. They’re also noted for being intelligent and loyal to their owners, as well as being calm around their family.
  • Labradoodle: This popular breed of dog combines the intellect, tranquility, and protectiveness present in both Labrador retrievers and standard poodles. They have gorgeous, velvety coats and are bigger dogs. They are devoted, intelligent, and gorgeous pets.
  • Old English sheepdogs: This breed was created to herd sheep, and its shepherding ability may help if your kid has problems paying attention to their surroundings and is at danger of straying away. Because these dogs are clever, they’re simple to teach. They are appealing pets because of their silky, curly coats. They’re also known for being cool under pressure, but they’re also fun and eager to get their hands dirty.

What to Look for When Choosing a Service Dog for Your Child

Your youngster may be overstimulated by a dog’s activity, have difficulty with the feel of their hair or the loudness of their bark, or detest or be terrified of dogs in other ways. Service dogs are trained to help children with autism control their emotions, but if your kid does not appreciate being around animals, even calm ones, they will not benefit from having a dog as a companion or a service animal.

While having a pet or service animal might help your kid manage their emotions and develop new social skills, it is not a replacement for other forms of therapy. The first and most crucial step in helping your kid manage their symptoms is to work with a behavior therapist.

You may inquire about service animals, if they believe a pet might benefit your kid, and if they have access to therapy animals to see how well your child interacts with canines if you’ve found a competent behavior therapist. Your kid’s therapist will be able to advise you on whether a service dog is a suitable match for your child and which breed would be most suited to his or her requirements.


Parents of children with autism spectrum disorders must make pet dog ownership decisions. (April 14, 2014) The Journal of Pediatric Nursing is a publication dedicated to pediatric nursing.

Autism and Pets: More Proof of Social Advantages Autism Speaks is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about

How to Decide Between Autism Service Dogs & Autism Therapy Dogs. Autism Speaks.

Is That Based on Science? Service dogs for people with autism. The Association for Science in Autism Treatment is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving autism treatment (ASAT).

Autistic Children’s Favorite Dog Breeds (Updated November 2019) My dog, K9.

Autism Service Dogs Have a Life-Changing Impact. The People of the Dogs.

What It’s Like to Have an Autism Service Dog (February 2015). The Bark is a fictional character.

The “service dog for sensory processing disorder” is a type of service animal that has been specifically trained to assist individuals with autism. These animals can help with many things such as calming down, distraction, and helping the individual focus on tasks. They are not allowed in public places without their owner’s permission.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best pet for an autistic child?

A: It is not easy to say what the best pet for an autistic child would be. Every person with autism is different, and their needs are also very different from one anothers. Some people might need a dog that can help calm them down or hug them when theyre feeling stressed out. Others may prefer something like guinea pigs because these animals dont require much interaction, making it easier for someone who doesnt want to talk about their feelings too often

What can Autism service dogs do?

A: Service dogs are trained to help with a variety of tasks, including assisting people who have autism. They can also be used by their owners for other purposes, such as guiding or pulling them around in certain situations

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