Children with autism feel safer, calmer and more understood through their bond with a Smart Pup Assistance Dog. These trusty canine companions can increase an autistic child’s ability to cope with life, ease sensory overload and provide emotional support. A Smart Pup acts as a bridge between each child and the outside world; guiding children through their daily routine, keeping them safe and comforting them when the world just gets too much.
Smart Pups are trained to quickly find their child using their sense of smell. In an emergency situation where the child has run away or wandered off, this skill can be life saving.
Smart Pups are trained to touch or nudge their child to disrupt repetitive or destructive behaviours. These Autism Assistance Dogs are also trained to snuggle and comfort their child if they become upset or distressed, which helps prevent the child’s emotional reaction from escalating into a meltdown.
Smart Pups can perform a variety of simple tricks, which increase the bond with their child and create fun during social interactions. Smart Pups give children a reason to communicate, and something familiar to talk about – their special dog, which boosts their confidence in engaging with others. Improved interaction often increases a child’s vocabulary and decreases their anxiety in social situations, and creates a social bridge for children who are unsure how to interact with their peers
Medical studies and our professional experience confirm that children with a companion dog feel less pressure from their surroundings and have lower frustration and anxiety levels. This greatly improves children’s sleeping habits which leaders to better quality of life for their whole family.
Smart Pups are also trained to assist with post-seizure recovery by providing comfort and support to their child to lean on when experiencing post-seizure frailty.
Many of our dogs can predict oncoming seizures up to 20 minutes beforehand, and alert a guardian adult. Although we do all we can to train a dog for this task, we can’t guarantee that our Smart Pups will always perform with complete success and reliability.
Many children with a Seizure Response Dog experience a decrease in seizure activity. Although a direct link has not yet been proven, in some cases this may be attributed to a decrease in stress due to the support and companionship of a loving assistance dog.
We train our mobility dogs to perform tasks based upon the child’s specific needs, such as:
• Open and close doors, drawers, cupboards and fridge
• Act as a brace to assist with balance and maneuvering
• Retrieve dropped items or fetching specific items
• Turn lights on and off
• Press the button at the traffic lights
• Carry items
• Signal if their child is in danger
We train our Smart Pups to perform a number of simple, fun tricks to strengthen the bond between a child and their dog. Sharing these tricks with others can also help the child overcome social isolation by making social interactions a positive and fun experience Smart Pups Mobility Assistance Dogs are also taught to comfort their child companion if they are in emotional distress or are just in need of affection. A Smart Pups Mobility Assistance Dog will become a child’s loving best friend to share their life and help them connect with their world.
Diabetic Alert Dogs assist children who have insulin-dependent Type 1 Diabetes
As with other medical alert dogs, Diabetic Alert Smart Pups are trained to smell the chemical body changes that occur as insulin levels increase or drop, and alert a child’s parents or guardian who can check blood sugar level and take appropriate action. Training Diabetic Alert Dogs for children means that we must train a dog that is unique in its ability to meet the needs of both the child with diabetes and the child’s family.
At Smart Pups we believe in early intervention and with the working life of an assistance dog around eight to ten years, we recommend that you apply when your child is around four years of age. In addition to the alert work, these dogs provide a measure of comfort for the child, increased self-esteem and confidence, a distraction during unpleasant medical procedures, and of course companionship. Our Diabetic Alert Assistance Dogs are trained to accompany their child at all times and is certified for full public access.
Smart Pups does not train Guide Dogs for children who are blind or visually impaired. However, we can provide Smart Pups that are trained in some guide work, as well as other task-specific skills according to the needs of each child.
With our guiding assistance dog work, the child learns to walk with using a guide dog harness on their assistance dog to navigate their environment. However rather than the child acting as the navigator, the adult caregiver in the child’s life plays that role. By providing the child with the ability to walk using the dog rather than holding a parent’s hand Smart Pups Vision Assistance Dogs give the child a new level of independence, mobility and confidence.