I found this article useful because I see a lot of people who say their service dogs are multiple use dogs....How often do people come in here and say their SD is a mobility AND PSD dog? (or any other physical and mental health service dog).
A service dog that performs tasks for divergent health issues may in fact not be able to turn off. He does tasks for vision impairment when he's away from the house, but at home, he performs mental health tasks (and he may perform mental health tasks away from home as well).
I think that's why Milani speaks of the "contemporary" assistance dog -- as opposed to the more traditional service dog, who simply performed the tasks we used to narrowly consider service dogs, such as Guide Dogs. Also:
USATODAY.com - Study: 25% of Americans have no one to confide in
Americans have a third fewer close friends and confidants than just two decades ago — a sign that people may be living lonelier, more isolated lives than in the past.
In 1985, the average American had three people in whom to confide matters that were important to them, says a study in today's American Sociological Review. In 2004, that number dropped to two, and one in four had no close confidants at all.
"You usually don't see that kind of big social change in a couple of decades," says study co-author Lynn Smith-Lovin, professor of sociology at Duke University in Durham, N.C.
a weakening of community connections is in part responsible for increasing social isolation. More people are working and commuting longer hours and have little time for the kinds of external social activities that could lead to deeper relationships.
And since that study came out, Americans have become even more mobile, moving across state lines, presumably AWAY from their established family and friends.
Millions more Americans move to new states - USATODAY.com
And now, there's a recessession and the attendant difficuluties.
There are a lot of people I know, and there are a lot of members on this forum (pet dog owners) for whom their dogs are their only family, and perhaps, they don't have a lot of friends either. While there is certainly nothing wrong with that, for an SD who works all day long, the additional emotional work is something that we need to consider. In her book Chill Out Fido
, Nan Arthur discusses the amount of time that a dog (a pet dog) needs to sleep -- both snoozing and solid restful sleep. She puts that amount at about 17-18 hours. A pet dog can get somewhere near that, (probabably more realistically 12-ish hours) depending on the household and his extracurricular activities. A service dog most likely can't, even if his owner is aware of his need for a lot of rest. So extra play could be detrimental if it's at the expense of his sleep. Just because he likes it doesn't mean it's in his best interests.
It seems that the family dog may be substituting more and more for family and friend than ever before. The service dog, especially the dual-role service dog or the SD for someone who is isolated and lonely -- which seems to be more and more people -- may be relied upon for more than simply the tasks for which he has been trained -- not curling up at the handler's feet or willingly playing with young visitors, but being emotionally drained day after day.
This article was provided to my SD club by an SD trainer as something to think about. I thought it was worthy to pass on. Dr Milani is a behaviorist that nearly every trainer and behaviorist I've ever seen in person or on DVD (or read) has referenced to at one point or another. She's not just some observer on the periphery of training. So I thought her thoughts were worth considering.
FWIW, Many SDs don't wear vests when they're at home, but they still need to work as necessary. (Mine does).