General info, Training

Can Weimaraners Be Service Dogs?

Weimaraners have gained the love and attention of hundreds of owners. Their friendly nature and outgoing character make them the perfect companion for families. Weimaraners are so eager to please you and they’re extremely obedient, as well.

Considered a sporting breed, many of us think that those dogs can be the perfect service dogs. Can Weimaraners be service dogs? Here is the truth!

Weimaraners are extremely intelligent, easy-to-train pups. If you have the luck to adopt such a doggo, you’ll quickly realize that you can teach them almost anything. They can learn tricks and commands quickly, and they’re able to memorize new commands after a few repetitions.

They’re also very playful and excited. If you’re not willing to spend your day playing around your garden with your Weimaraner, then you should probably think twice before adopting such an energetic dog.

Many of us consider Weimaraner dogs as the perfect candidates for different service purposes. Is that true, however?

Weimaraners As Service/Therapy Dogs

Well, the truth is that unlike other breeds, like Poodles, Retrievers, or Border Collies, Weimaraners aren’t the best service dogs. There are other breeds more suitable for that purpose. That doesn’t mean that they cannot be great service dogs! It all depends on the personality of the individual dog and the type of disability of the owner. Some are more energetic than others and that could cause problems.

What Is a Service Dog?

So, what exactly does a service dog do? A service dog is a highly trained canine that helps people with disabilities. They are trained to help with certain tasks, like fetching things of everyday use, opening and closing doors, guiding blind and visually impaired people as well as alerting the owner to an impending medical emergency like a seizure, low blood sugar or fainting spell.

According to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), disability can mean physical or mental impairment that negatively interferes with person’s quality of life. Service dogs are then used as a way for such disabled person to be more independent.

Types of service dogs include:

  • guide dogs for the blind and visually impaired
  • medical alert dogs
  • mobility dogs
  • hearing dogs
  • psychiatric service dogs – for people with PTSD, OCD, anxiety disorders, etc.

Service dogs need to start training as soon as possible. The ADA doesn’t require the service dog to be taught by a specialized dog trainer, so it can be trained by its owner. However for best results I would recommend getting in touch with a trainer that has vast experience with training service dogs. Weims are a lot of work to train as a pet, so training a service dog is even harder. You need to have a good understanding of the breed.

Weimaraners are naturally stubborn and while they learn quickly, they can test their boundaries. That’s why it’s important for service dogs to have a suitable temperament for their training, regardless of the breed. A service dog training can take up as much as 2 years and it can be very hard.

You should never pet a service dog without asking the owner first. Remember that the dog is on their job and need to focus on their owner, not being distracted by random strangers on the street.

What Is a Therapy Dog?

Therapy dog is a term that gets thrown a lot with the service dog term. Therapy dogs and service dogs are not the same, as therapy dogs aren’t trained to do specific jobs for their owner.

For example, if a dog wasn’t trained to alert to an panic attack but it brings comfort to the owner, the dog is not considered a service dog, but rather an emotional support dog.

Therapy dogs are also used in hospitals, assisted living homes, airports, colleges, disaster areas and more. It has been proven that time spent with dogs (or other pets) can often relieve stress and anxiety and generally bring joy and comfort to people.

Therapy dogs can be pet and cuddled, unlike service dogs. Petting a dog helps release a hormones that boosts a person’s mood, like serotonin and oxytocin (the “love hormone”).

Therapy dogs must be calm and social with people and other animals. Weims can sometimes be prey driven, so these individuals might not make great therapy dogs. I wrote and article about Weimaraners and cats here.

There Are Weimaraners As Service Dogs

While I mentioned above that Weims are not the best service dogs, there are Weims that are wonderful service dogs to their owners. Weimaraners are usually bonded to their “one person” the most (they are called “velcro dogs” for a reason!), which in turn makes them attuned to their owner.

There are many Weims (and other breeds, of course), that are not trained as service dogs but have a natural ability to sense their owner’s impending seizure, etc. Weims are a very clever and very loving, always willing to please their owner.

The problem with Weims being service dogs is that they’re very excitable, particularly in their teenage years, but some dogs don’t grow of this phase.

What Are Weimaraners Good At?

Weimaraners are very versatile dogs. They belong to the hunting breed category and as such, are great companions for hunters in water, forest and fields.

They have an excellent sense of smell, so they’re amazing in jobs which employ nosework – besides hunting, they are one of the best breeds to work in rescue situations or as a detection dog for substances like drugs, explosives or even cadaver.

They are also great guard dogs but they are not aggressive.

Conclusion

Weimaraners are generally not the best breed for a service dog work. That being said, it depends on the individual dog’s temperament and the quality of training.

A lot of dogs have the innate ability to predict seizures, low blood sugars and other conditions without any service dog training.

If you decided to train your Weim as a service dog, bear in mind you need to have a lot of patience as it’s hard work.


If your Weim is a service dog, I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

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