Rats as service animals?
I'm doing a project for a college class and I want to train a rat to be a service animal.
I want to train her to help people with mental disabilities like depression and anxiety.
I'm just looking for some feed back on what other people think about this idea.
- Anonymous6 years agoFavorite Answer
I would more so perhaps put rats into being an "Emotional Support Animal"(ESA) rather than an actual Service animal that is specifically trained to perform tasks for people with restricting disabilities. Perhaps even a Therapy animal is a possibility?.
As all three are different, here is some snippet of info on all three.
" An emotional support animal (ESA) is a US legal term for a pet which provides therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship and affection. Emotional support animals are not specially trained to ameliorate disability as psychiatric service dogs are. They require only as much training as an ordinary pet requires in order to live peacefully among humans without being a nuisance or a danger to others." - Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_support_ani...
" Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment. The goal of AAT is to improve a patient’s social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. Advocates state that animals can be useful for educational and motivational effectiveness for participants. A therapist who brings along a pet may be viewed as being less threatening, increasing the rapport between patient and therapist. Animals used in therapy include domesticated pets, farm animals and marine mammals (such as dolphins)." - Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal-assisted_thera...
" Service animals are animals that have been trained to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities. Service animals may also be referred to as assistance animals, assist animals, support animals, or helper animals depending on the country and the animal's function. As of March 15, 2011 only dogs, and in special circumstances mini horses, are permitted to be service animals" - Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Service_animal
- 4 years ago
There s a handful of rat breeders who pick and train pet rats to alert their owners (handlers???) of impending seizures. They have highly developed senses of smell and something about having a warm, fuzzy body cuddled next to your neck is reassuring and calming and I know plenty of folks who use their presence to prevent the onset of damaging panic attacks. However, you need to talk to a breeder, because just as not every dog has the right personality to be a service/therapy animal, not every rat is right for the job. Poorly bred and raised rats are hyper, flighty, and can be prone to biting. However, once you find the right baby, they ll train up in a matter of weeks (instead of months or years for dogs/mini horses). Rats COULD be service animals, since they can be trained to fetch light items or alert a handler to, say, a ringing telephone or knocking door. The possibilities for rats as therapy animals has only been limited by society s long-standing loathing for rodents... and/or the hairless tail... There s only one major draw-back to rats as therapy pets... they live sadly short lives (which is about 2 - 5 years average, for those reading this who don t know).
I know it s been two years since the last comment, but I hope you found a way to do the training, because I want to know about it, too. Rats are completely underestimated as pets and companions, in my opinion.
- Star_of_DarknessLv 76 years ago
Only dogs can be a service animal. Its the law. Rats can be ESA but that means they are just pets and can't be taken not public places, restaurants or and can't be in rentals that have a no pet policy.
Depression and anxiety are NOT disabilities at all. They are disorders and as such no one with such disabilities can have a service dog. Calling any animal other then a dog a serive animal is illegal.
- DeniseLv 56 years ago
I think it's a great idea as rats are very smart and they can learn to do tricks. I got rats 6 years ago because some one told me that I should get a pet rat so I did I got a female dumbo she was adorable she new her name she gave kisses and never tried to run away from me then I got 3 more pet rats I have to say that my depression, and anxiety got better. If you do this get the rats young its easier to train them and its best to get two rats of the same age and same gender so they won't be lonely. Good luck with your project.
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- 6 years ago
Some Rats can be so cute, and you have some nice and unique idea! i must be great if you manage to train one but rats are very challenging to train since they are not as intelligent as dogs but if you manage to train one that would be nice! i love your idea by the way.Source(s): based on experience, i have been with my hamster for years already