The short answer to this question is this, yes! All three types of schnauzer: giant, standard, and miniature are great candidates for service dogs, if well trained. In fact, many people train these dogs themselves. Giant schnauzers are used by many police departments as not only police dogs but search and drug dogs as well.
Miniature Schnauzers’ Temperament
These little dogs make an excellent therapy and emotional support animals for a variety of reasons. The first is aspect is their temperament of this compact yet robust breed. This breed is alert and lively but they are also friendly and obedient.
These little dogs are intelligent and get along with most people and other animals. These dogs are not aggressive, but can give warning barks, but rarely bite. They can also be slightly clownish at times.
Mini schnauzers are also energetic and enjoy being able to have a job to do. This dog has a terrier spirit, which means he or she is unafraid to take on things bigger than him or her, giving them a drive to make a good therapy dog. Their small size make them easy to care for even for elderly or disabled people, without being threatening.
For a quick example, check out little Obi Wan doing service tasks, the Force is strong with this Miniature Schnauzer!
The Schnauzer Coat
One of the plus sides is that the coat of all three schnauzer types tends to be more hypoallergenic than many breeds. The coat is wiry and hardly sheds. This dog group does need professional grooming to strip the coat and remove all the dead hair.
This makes them great dogs for people that suffer from allergies, like I wrote more about here. The schnauzer is easy to groom and is known as a “wash and wear” dog using a brush two to three times a week
What Kind of Service Dog Can a Schnauzer Become?
This dog can become many type of service dog including an Emotional Support Animal, a Psychiatric Service Dog, a Dog for the Hard of Hearing, or a Dog For Autism. Many also train their dog to become a therapy dog that visits nursing homes.
The Cost of Training a Service Dog
There are many ways to go about training a service dog. Many emotional support animals do not need to have any training beyond providing emotional comfort and support to their owners.
Psychiatric service dogs usually help those affected by PTSD or depression, and training a dog can be quite costly through professional organizations, about $20,000-$30,000!
The owner can look to find a trainer to help him or her for a reduced fee, and some organizations will cover the costs of training the dog.
The Steps to Training and Certifying a Dog
First, you will need to figure out the training needed and work with the trainer. This will not only include performing tasks, but also socialization and exposure to all situations.
The dog will need to pass a public access test; during this test the dog will need to be polite and able to perform his or her job in public. There can be no aggressive behavior towards people and animals and the animal cannot seek to receive food or affection while working.
Important note: The dog must not relieve him or herself without being commanded to do so during the test.
The Giant and Standard Schnauzer
The original Schnauzer is the Giant Schnauzer often known as the beer Schnauzer in Germany. They were known for this because they would pull the beer carts. These dogs are often used by law enforcement as police dogs.
They are used to sniff out drugs and in search and rescue. The size and strength of these dogs makes them excellent candidates for personal protection dogs or as guide dogs for the blind as well as therapy dogs.
The Giant Schnauzer Temperament
This larger breed has a calm, loyal, and protective temperament. They have a guard dog streak and take this responsibility seriously. They tend to be aloof with strangers, but are gentle with those that they know. These dogs are highly intelligent and playful and like to work and have a job to do.
The temperament of the standard schnauzer is similar to the giant in that they are a good watchdog and a very athletic dog. This medium-sized dog is gentle and kind to those that they know well and can be good playmates to children and other animals.
The Giant and Standard Schnauzer Coat
The coat of both the standard and the giant is like that of the miniature. The coat is wiry and does not shed. These are both easy breeds for an owner to maintain by brushing them out one or twice a week.
The owner should make sure the dog sees a groomer routinely for stripping and keep up a dental routine.
Giant Schnauzers and Becoming Guard Dogs
Giant Schnauzer’s are often used as personal protection dogs. They are intelligent, hard-working, and have a naturally protective nature. The bad side is that this sort of training is expensive, as much as six figures for some of the best protection companies.
A dog owner can find individuals and starter companies willing to do this training, and it may cost into the thousands of dollars.
The Cost of Giant Schnauzer Therapy Dogs
A dog owner can train his or her own service dog for a lower fee, usually in the hundreds vs. thousands of dollars for professional organizations.
Giant Schnauzers can make good candidates for those who are blind. These organizations can be willing to cover some of the costs of training the dog which can definitely be expensive otherwise.
How To Train a Therapy Dog
The owner should work with a trainer or company to expose the dog to a variety of tasks and situations. They need exposure to all types of people and animals as well as advanced obedience training.
The dog will then need to pass a public access test. Dogs for the blind have to face multiple tests and a final test to become certified and be paired with an owner.
All Three Types Are Great Emotional Support Animals (ESA)
The love and devotion these dogs show their owners make them great ESA animals. They are also highly intelligent so they can learn basic tasks. These dogs love to be around people and children making them wonderful companions.
The miniature type are small enough to be perfect travel companions. The Giant can offer some protection for those who suffer from anxiety.
The Giant and Standard type can make great search and rescue dogs. Owners can join a professional organization to train and help find missing persons. These dogs thrive on being able to have a job to do and putting their intelligence to work.
Why Schnauzers Make Good Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSD’s)
One of the newer areas of service dogs are those that serve people with psychiatric disorders such as PTSD, depression, bipolar, and other disorders. These dogs are trained to do a variety of tasks including: helping remind their owners to take medications, and sensing their owner’s moods.
The schnauzer has a great ability to focus because they have roots as working dogs and tend to get less distracted than many other breeds, and also has a wonderful nose. Even though these dogs tend to have a more serious nature, they also like to be clownish for those they love and can make a person laugh with their silly antics.
PSD’s needs to excel in obedience training and also have an overall friendly and steady temperament.
Schnauzers for Children with Autism
With more and more children being diagnosed with autism, these types of service dogs are becoming more and more in demand. These service dogs are trained to recognize stress and too much stimulation of their owners.
These dogs can sense the emotions of the owner and can perform an action to help the child such as licking their hand or leaning against him or her.
Since children with autism can wander off, these dogs can help to keep children where they are supposed to be and can guide them back. Schnauzers are patient and gentle dogs making them a good candidate for this type of job.
The Schnauzer: An All Around Great Choice
This dog group has many different things going for it including a good temperament, an easy-to-care for and hypoallergenic coat, a good work ethic, loyalty, a protective nature, yet also gentle and kind to those they know and love.
These dogs can do most any type of service work and excel at the task. Schnauzers, particularly the mini, enjoy having a job to do and they also have a comical streak making them wonderful companions as well.
The Giant type can be trained in personal protection and as a guard dog, but also works well as an emotional support animal or psychiatric service dog. These dogs can be used to help those that are blind or hard of hearing. These dogs are even being used to sniff out cancer by doctors.
There really seems to be no limit to which jobs they can do! These dogs can visit nursing homes to help residents feel connected and promote health as well.