ASD Dogs



This article is posted as part of PGAA’s curation efforts. This was originally posted at Way
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The ASD service dog, or Autism Spectrum Disorder service dog, comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors. Some people may be able to get by with little support treatment while others require intensive behavioral assistance.

For parents of kids with ASD, it may feel as though their child will always struggle with social interaction and relationships. Yet, hope is not lost. ASD dogs are on the rise, improving the lives of families affected by ASD and, most important, of their owners.

We have highlighted a few of the benefits of having an ASD service dog below.

ASD service dog with happy little girl


For many parents of kids with ASD, emotional outbursts are a daily concern. At home, family members are better equipped to manage the autistic child and their outbursts. Going out in public, however, is a different story. Families with an ASD child may find themselves avoiding community events. They are afraid their child will have an episode and possibly injure another child.

The ASD service dog is physically tethered to the child, preventing them from bolting away. The presence of the service dog can make the family feel safer when participating in social activities. They also appreciate that the dog provides comfort to the child while away from home. The proximity of the service dog also can work to counteract the child’s overemotional responses to stimuli.


Children with ASD struggle with social interaction. They may have a difficult time striking up a conversation or discerning how to ask other kids to play.

A dog is a ready-made conversation topic and increases social opportunities for a child with ASD. Peers will want to pet and play with the dog, making the dog’s handler more socially approachable. As such, the dog can bridge the gap between an ASD child and his peers and ease the path to friendship.

Given that the ASD service dog will attend school with their child, the dog will become a familiar and welcome sight for peers and teachers alike. With the dog leading the child to each class and buffering social interactions, the child is much more likely to succeed socially while at school.


For adults with ASD, a service dog can increase the likelihood of independent living:

  • A service dog can ground its handler during times of stress or emotion.
  • Service dogs can help identify and avoid obstacles for their handlers.
  • Service dogs enable their ASD owner to take part in more social opportunities.
  • With the dog present as a conversation starter, an adult with ASD may find it easier to make social connections.

Unfortunately, it difficult for adults to acquire ASD service dogs. Training programs target children and families of ASD children. While a few services will personally train dogs for adults, other dogs are trained by owners, working by a professional dog trainer.

Service dogs for a variety of mental disorders are becoming more and more common. PTSD dogs are finding their way to veterans to combat flashbacks and fear of being in public; anxiety dogs are mitigating panic attacks; and the ASD service dog can put families’ minds at ease.

Service dogs are a great way to avoid issues that many people with a mental disorder experience later in life, such as addiction and depression. They can also be of enormous help if your loved one already struggles with addiction.

If you believe a service dog would help your family live better, it is worth looking into the resources and finding one for your situation. The perfect ASD service dog is waiting for you.

WayCoolDog posts originally appeared on WayCoolDogs and are re-posted with the permission of Nancy Houser of WayCoolDogs © 2009 – 2018