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Neuro Service Dogs

Neurological Disorders


Neurological Service Dogs

(Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Brain Injury)

Diseases involving the nervous system are devastating to the individual and their families. In certain diagnosis such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc. the disease is progressive. Over time the individual losses control of their arms and legs (as a result of the destruction of the nerves). Thought processes become progressively impaired as the disease advances. The person’s safety becomes increasingly at risk due to falls or elopement.

Another category of neurological disorders are those which are non-progressive. A few examples are Brain Damage (chemical or organic), Stroke, Down Syndrome and Brain Tumor.

Care giving tasks become increasingly needed from the person’s friends and family. Such care can be expensive or if separated from loved ones, unavailable. The goal of the service dog for these individuals is to keep them as independent as long as possible. Statistically once a service dog is placed, the individual is able to stay out of assisted living (nursing homes) an average of 3 years longer. This is a savings of $10,000 - $15,000. Being able to stay in one's home longer and with greater independence is priceless.

Individuals experiencing these type of diagnosis can have a wide range of symptoms.

They may struggle with:

  • Balance
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Communication Difficulties
  • Physical Symptoms

The individual may:

  • Leave the stove on
  • Leave water running
  • Become more prone to falling and
    unable to get up
  • Wandering and becoming lost

Day to day tasks become more overwhelming related to:

  • Disorientation
  • Mood swings
  • Forget where items are located
  • Forget how to do simple tasks
  • Forget to take medication

The goal of the service dog for such persons is to aid them in achieving as much independence as possible.

The Goal of a Neuro Service Dog


Though the range of illnesses involving the brain is expansive, there are a few key symptoms that cross nearly all neurological diseases. Wilderwood focuses our core training on these symptoms. Then, in the last three months of training, we specialize tasks for each dog to the client’s specific needs.

Service dogs offer companionship, decrease isolation and improve physical mobility. Other symptom managments are:

Symptom Service Dog Response
Cognitive (poor decision making, environmental safety issues) Alert to hazards, alert to client leaving home, alert to night awakenings
Perceptual (decrease function of five senses, decrease balance) Guide on stairs, balance, assist with rising and sitting
Physical (headaches, fatigue, tremors, decrease sleep) Snuggle, lean, deep pressure
Emotional/Behavioural (irritability, mood swings, aggression) Snuggle, touch, companionship, increase independence, distraction