Can I leave my service dog at home?

Many people with disabilities who have a service dog wonder if they always must be with their dogs, or if they can sporadically leave them at home? To answer this question, this post will talk about the work developed by service dogs.

Can I leave my service dog at home?

Ideally service dogs should always be with their guardians. However, if the person feels safe to go out on the streets without the animal, he can do it. Service dogs can be fine at home, but they shouldn’t be left alone for many hours.

If the guardian is going to spend many days away from home, it is ideal that he has someone so that he can go home to take care and keep the service dog company. If the animals are left alone for a long time, they can get hungry or thirsty, being a kind of stress for the dog.

Therefore, before leaving the house, it must be observed that the animal has enough food and water until the guardian returns. The dog should be in a clean, preferably not too cramped, and ventilated environment. If possible, leave toys so that the animal is distracted in the absence of the guardian. Thus, giving all the comfort and well-being to the animal that will stay at home without its guardian.

What is a service dog?

A service dog is a dog that accompanies people with disabilities to help these people in their day-to-day activities. Thus, avoiding accidents in addition to filling these tutors with love, affection, and companionship. The service most developed by the dogs are:

  • Guide dog: Helps people with visual impairments, informing them of obstacles and avoiding accidents. These dogs should always be with their guardians;
  • Hearing Dog: helps people with a hearing impairment or disability. These dogs can be left alone at home;
  • Alert Dog: Alerts people to common conditions, e.g. people with seizure or diabetes. These dogs can be left alone at home, but it is advisable to always have this dog as a companion;
  • Help dog: helps people with organic or motor disabilities, looking for objects, opening doors, among other tasks. These dogs can be left alone at home, but it is advisable to always have this dog as a companion
  • Emotional Help Dog: These are dogs that help people with psychological and/or psychiatric problems.These dogs can be left alone at home.

Teaching dogs to work as a service dog involves training a dog with a complex set of skills to access public roads, thus preparing the animals for the challenges that will be encountered on the streets.

In addition, dogs are trained to be docile, obedient and to identify and communicate situations that can lead to damage to the health of the person who has some degree of disability. So, these dogs are prepared to help a person with a disability.

The main tasks taught to dogs involve training the animal to control impulses, ignoring anything that can stress or hinder the dog from performing its activities in addition to training to make the dog always alert and patient with its owner.

Where can I find service dogs?

These dogs can be found in organizations that can be located on the internet. These organizations are responsible for breeding, training, and marketing these dogs. There is usually a waiting list to buy a puppy. These lists are often long.

The delay in getting a dog trained causes many breeders to buy a puppy and train it at home with the help of a canine behavior specialist. It is worth remembering that not all breeds learned the commands and became good service dogs.

The most common breeds to be used as service dogs

Several breeds are used as service dogs. To be a service dog, the animal must have a balanced temperament in addition to being very sociable and easy to learn.

The most common breeds for service dogs are:

  • Labrador retriever;
  • Golden retriever;
  • Poodle;
  • Cocker Spaniel;
  • Cavalier King Charles;
  • Shetland Shepherd Dog;
  • Corgi;
  • Australian Shepherd;
  • German Shepherd.

Some mixed breeds can also be used when well trained. But before giving the animals the title of service dog, they undergo several evaluations that aim to test their intelligence, behavior and socialization with the tutors.


Service dogs have been trained to spend most of their time with their guardians. However, if people feel safe going out on their own, service dogs can stay at home alone. To give comfort and well-being to the dog, avoiding unnecessary stress, the environment must be arranged so that it is clean with food and water available for the animal. So, when the guardian returns home he will find his pet healthy and happy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How long does it take to train a service dog?

What breed of dog guides blind people?

The most common dogs to be used as guide dogs are:

  • Labrador retriever
  • Golden retriever
  • German Shepherd

Labrador retriever dogs are the most used breed for this type of work. Due to his intelligence and affectionate and friendly demeanor.

How long does it take to train a service dog?

A dog can be trained in a period of 2 to 3 years. Since, after this period, the pet also needs to go through an adaptation phase with the person with a disability in which the dog will help.

When should I retire my service dog?

In general, the working time of a service dog is 8 years. After that he retires and can stay with his guardian or be adopted by a family he has lived with before.


Badalo, C. A. D. A. (2014). O papel do cão-guia como facilitador da inclusão da pessoa cega na sociedade: mobilidade, segurança, interação social e qualidade de vida(Doctoral dissertation).

Martin, A. G., & Marta, T. N. (2010). O dever estatal de garantir o treinamento de cães-guia. Revista Brasileira de Direitos Fundamentais & Justiça, 4(13), 249-278.

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