Can a Shih Tzu be a Service Dog? (You Might be Surprised!)

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Services dogs carry out a wide range of tasks, ranging from detecting allergens to getting medicine. So you might be wondering can a Shih Tzu be a service dog? You might be surprised by the answer.

Shih Tzus are dependable and loyal dogs, and if you were considering getting a service dog, they may be on the top of your list. Let’s consider whether a Shih Tzu is the right service dog for you.

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Can a Shih Tzu Be a Service Dog

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) describes service dogs as dogs specifically trained to carry out tasks that benefit persons with disabilities, including mental, psychiatric, sensory, and physical disabilities.

Types of Services Dogs

Service dogs are available in different categories. They are specifically trained according to the category they fall into. If you will be getting a service dog, it should fall into one of these categories.

1. Hearing Dogs

These dogs are suitable for persons with hearing difficulties. They are trained to alert their owners to all kinds of sounds. They will alert their owners when someone is calling out to them and even to small sounds like the ding of a microwave.

2. Alert/Response Dogs

Alert/response dogs are trained to tell when a medical emergency occurs and respond appropriately. They can tell when their owner is about to have a seizure or has low blood sugar. The pooches will alert the owner when they detect the emergencies and provide the necessary support, even up to calling 911.

The woman that cuts my hair has a young daughter with type one diabetes. She has a service dog that can detect when her blood sugar goes too high or too low.

Her dog isn’t a Shih Tzu, but it has made a huge difference in her life.

3. Mobility Dogs

Mobility dogs are usually bigger dogs that help physically challenged persons to move around. These dogs will have to open doors, turn lights on and off, and provide stability.

4. Autism Service Dogs

This category of dogs helps their owner’s process occurrences, especially when multiple occurrences take place simultaneously.

They help the owner to focus on a particular activity amid multiple stimuli.

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Will a Shih Tzu Make a Good Service Dog?

Service dogs carry out specific tasks that they are trained to do.

There are no regulations on the type of dog that can be a service dog.

Based on this, Shih Tzus will make great service dogs if they possess the required skills and are appropriately trained.

The size of Shih Tzus is typically a major concern when considering Shih Tzus as service dogs.

Yes, they are small dogs. Even so, Shih Tzus can make excellent service dogs depending on the type you may need.

It is noteworthy that the size of a service dog mostly matters for certain types of dogs like mobility dogs.

Bigger dogs are best suited to offer mobility assistance services.

In this regard, we can say Shih Tzus may not make the best of mobility dogs. Still, they can offer other forms of assistance.

They aren’t large enough to open doors and things such as that, but they are great as emotional support dogs.

Shih Tzus have the required temperament for service dogs.

They are not overly clingy or have a tendency to overreact.

They are also typically relaxed in crowded spaces.

The ease of training a dog also determines its suitability as service dogs.

Shih Tzus are not particularly difficult to train, except for housebreaking, which is another feature that describes their suitability as service dogs.

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How Does a Shih Tzu Become a Service Dog?

The process of getting a Shih Tzu service dog begins with confirming that it has the right temperament.

Most Shih Tzus have an even temperament, but it is still important to confirm before you begin the process of training a Shih Tzu to be a service dog.

After confirming the temperament of the dog, you can begin the training.

Identify the type of service you need the Shih Tzu to provide and train it accordingly or seek out a professional trainer that works with service dogs.

The ADA does not require certifications or registrations but you could simply register your Shih Tzu to give you access into certain spaces, especially areas that are not dog friendly.

Your service Shih Tzu does not need to wear special vests or tags but it is a good idea to have one anyway.

The ADA forbids establishments from asking for the certifications of the service dogs or requesting that they demonstrate their skills.

As the owner, you simply need to confirm that the service dog is assisting you with specific tasks.

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Related Questions:

Can Shih Tzus Be Emotional Support Dogs?

Emotional support dogs differ from service dogs. Emotional support dogs are not trained to carry out specific tasks.

Instead, they offer comfort and emotional support.

The ADA does not consider emotional support dogs as service dogs.

Shih Tzus can be emotional support dogs. Their temperament makes for excellent emotional support dogs.

Shih Tzus are good companions.

They are also quite loyal and dependable, giving their full devotion to their owner.

The size of Shih Tzus also makes them excellent emotional support dogs as you can take them with you pretty much anywhere even when flying.

You can find out all you need to know about flying with your Shih Tzu here.

Can I Turn My Shih Tzu into a Service Dog?

If you need assistance that your Shih Tzu can provide, you can train them and turn them into a service dog. The training makes the service dog.

Simply train your dog to “convert” it to a service dog.

Be sure that your Shih Tzu can provide the required service before you begin the training.

To Sum it All Up:

Yes, a Shih Tzu can be a service dog. They make excellent service dogs, especially in categories where size does not influence the ability to help.

The trainability of a dog is a major factor to consider when deciding whether it will be an excellent service dog. Shih Tzus have an even temperament and are easily trainable.


Please Note:

This article is informational only and does not substitute for veterinary advice. Always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned about your Shih Tzu’s behavior. This article should not be considered in any way as veterinarian advice.

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