Archive for the ‘Service Dog Tips’ Category

Service dogs are not just for the visually or hearing impaired individual. Service dogs have lent a helping paw to individuals with a broader range of physical and psychological conditions.

But what if you are a student and need a service dog? Will colleges allow dogs on campus and into the classroom?

Read on for some important information to answer the question, “can I take my service dog to college?”

Service Dogs Are NOT Emotional Support Animals

There is a difference between a Service Dog and an Emotional Support Animal (ESA), which will make a difference when you seek to bring your dog to college.

The service dog is a canine specially trained to perform a task for its handler with a physical or mental health disability. This may include leading the person with a visual or hearing impairment, mobility support, or alerting to a drop in blood sugar or an oncoming seizure and helping to overcome certain psychiatric disabilities.

The emotional support animal, on the other hand, is not trained for a task but instead provides emotional comfort and help to improve the symptoms of certain psychological disorders.

Even though the Fair Housing Act covers both — service animals and emotional support animals — in housing areas and dormitories, the laws governing where a task-trained service dog is permitted go far beyond.

The Disability Laws and the Service Dog in College

The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federally protected law that supersedes all local and state laws regarding the use of service dogs in schools and colleges. 

According to the ADA, a student is permitted to bring a service dog to college when the dog helps to expand their independence. Although the school must provide appropriate access for both the student and the service dog to classrooms and housing, they do not have to provide care, food, or relief areas for the canine. The Disabilities Education Improvement Act requires school districts to allow a service dog to accompany a student with a disability to school.

Colleges must make reasonable accommodations for service dogs, meaning they must allow the service dog into areas like classrooms, lecture halls, and cafeteria, as long as it doesn’t create an undue hardship on the facility.

According to the ADA, a fear of dogs or allergies are not reasons to ban the service dog from the college. If one of these situations presents itself, then accommodation for both the student with the service dog and the allergic or fearful person must be given (for example, by moving the dog and the affected person to opposite sides of the classroom).

College students with a fully trained service dog are allowed to go to college together. Service Dog Certification

Although it is not a legal requirement, getting your service dog registered and having service dog accessories may make things easier when it comes to accessing a college dorm or the classroom. Again, these items do not confer service dog status and are never substitutes for properly qualifying for a service dog.

To have a service dog, you must have a qualifying disability and your dog must be fully trained to perform a job or task relating to that disability. If and only when you are fully qualified, then you can consider things like registration, ID cards and vests.

To have a fully registered service dog for college, follow these steps:

Find the right service dog

Be sure your service dog is of the right age and breed for the tasks you will need it to perform. Also, ensure your potential service dog has the right characteristics and temperament to fulfill its duty under any circumstance it may encounter while on a college campus.

Know what tasks your service dog needs to perform for you

Locate a reputable service dog breeder or trainer, or prepare for the training yourself. You may want to talk to a therapist to fully understand how your service dog can help you.

Train the service dog for the tasks

Put in the time to properly train the dog for service. Training a service dog can take up to several months and years, depending on the difficulty of the tasks or the trainability of the dog.

Pass a Public Access Test

The dog will have to pass the Public Access Test. While the test is self-certified, there are several points to conclude in order for the dog to behave properly on a daily basis.

Register your service dog

Register the fully trained service dog, and equip it with the proper harness and service dog vest or identification. This step is optional, but a majority of service dog owners find it reassuring to have identification when they face the public.

Get your service dog registered below. The Service Dog and Colleges

If you need a service dog and want to attend college, know that you are allowed to do so under the protection of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law supersedes “no-pets” policies in dormitories, classrooms, and the college campus. Although not legally necessary, having service dog paraphernalia may make the process of taking your service dog to college more accessible and less stressful. 

Despite this protection, make sure to let the college know that you will be attending with a service dog so that they can make the necessary reasonable accommodation for your educational needs and you can turn in any paperwork they might request on time.

Large dogs don’t have the monopoly on being service dogs, though it may seem like they do. The gorgeous Golden Retrievers and regal German Shepherds seen on the streets as service dogs immediately stand out and get our attention. At the same time, small breed dogs are out there working hard as service dogs, too, and they deserve the same credit. 

What is a Service Dog? 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service dog is trained to complete a task directly relating to their owner’s disability. A service dog is not a pet and, under federal law, is allowed into public areas where pets are not typically allowed. Some examples of service dogs assisting visually impaired people, helping mobility-impaired people with walking, and dogs who obtain life-saving medications for their owners in times of need. 

Small Service Dog to Match the Task

The American Kennel Club (AKC) acknowledges that service dogs can be of any size. The public’s familiarity with larger breed service dogs can lead them to believe that small service dogs don’t exist. However, service dogs typically match the tasks they need to perform.

A service dog must be the right size to effectively and safely perform the necessary task to help with their owner’s disability.

For instance, it would not be safe for a small Pomeranian to be a mobility service dog trying to prevent an adult person with mobility concerns from falling. However, there are a variety of tasks that small service dogs are ideal for. 

1. Retrieval Dogs

Small breed dogs are ideal for retrieval tasks. Particularly in crowded areas like stores or restaurants, small breed dogs can maneuver through objects and crowds much more efficiently than larger breed dogs. Picking up dropped items, obtaining medication, and retrieving writing and work tools are tasks that small breed dogs excel at. 

2. Seizure Alert Dogs

For people who travel or work, a smaller breed seizure alert dog can be less intrusive to others than a larger breed dog. Smaller breed dogs can be carried, kept on a person’s lap, or placed into a carrier when traveling. They also take up less space in a work area, especially for people who work in cubicles or crowded offices. Because seizure alert dogs must be with their owners at all times, a small-sized dog makes daily commuting less cumbersome. 

3. Hearing Dogs

It doesn’t take a large dog to hear sounds well. Most dogs have excellent hearing, and small dogs can hear as well as large dogs. People with auditory disabilities may choose small hearing dogs because they’re easier to transport. Having a small dog on their lap or in their arms allows the dog to alert them faster to doorbells, alarms, crying children, and other people. 

4. Psychiatric Service Dogs or Hallucination Discernment

Small dog breeds can also perform well as psychiatric service dogs. Some dogs help their owners confirm whether a vision or sound is real or not, which allows them to discern hallucinations. Other psychiatric service dogs alert their owners to psychiatric triggers, leading them to safety. In these cases, the size of the dog depends on the owner’s preference, and small dogs are just as capable. 

If you’re interested in knowing if you have a qualifying condition for a psychiatric service dog, therapists and doctors can assess your mental health and issue you a signed PSD letter. 5. Diabetic Alert Dogs

Many smaller dog breeds serve as a medical alert or diabetic alert dogs. These dogs warn their owners of low blood sugar and can bring medication and blood sugar kits. Smaller dogs are quick and agile, allowing them to maneuver around objects during emergencies. 

Small Service Dog Considerations

The progression of a person’s disability might be a point to consider when choosing a small service dog. Service dogs can be a costly, though necessary, investment, and a service dog may remain with its owner for a decade or more. Understanding the progression of the disability and anticipating future needs can impact the choice between a small service dog or a larger one. For instance, a person with diabetes who might have signs of diabetic neuropathy in their legs may opt for a larger service dog trained to help prevent falls in the future. 

But what small service dogs have over larger service dogs is their convenience. Due to their size, small service dogs fit more readily into areas like crowded subways and aircraft. Small dogs also take up less space, making them ideal for urban apartments and cramped office environments.

Can small breed dogs be service dogs? Absolutely. They’re just as intelligent and practical as large service dogs, at only a fraction of the size!

Any educator will tell you that their grade book and lesson plan serves multiple purposes. It keeps them organized and identifies how well their students are doing. When students fall behind, an educator can easily spot their weak areas and strengthen them. In the end, grade books and lesson plans also serve as documentation to prove that a student did the work and what the student should be proficient at. Like grade books and lesson plans, a service dog training log tracks and verifies a dog’s training history. This article will outline how to keep a service dog training log that is useful and a great report for your service dog’s progress.

What is a Service Dog Training Log? 

When training a service dog, a training log can be a trainer or handler’s most important asset. Although no laws are requiring a trainer or handler to keep a service dog training log, the practice of maintaining one can simplify training and has many practical benefits. The four major benefits of a training log are outlined below:

1. Keeps the Trainer Organized

No matter how intelligent a dog is, training can always devolve into a frustrating endeavor. Keeping a training log allows a trainer to structure lessons and stick to what’s necessary. By documenting a dog’s progress, trainers can keep to schedule and remain focused. Training a service dog takes months, sometimes years. By staying organized, trainers may shorten the duration of the training. 

2. Ensures a Level of Quality

When reviewing a service dog training log, a person can spot which obedience commands a dog excels at. Rather than guessing at a dog’s proficiency, a service dog training log ensures that a service dog meets obedience commands at a specific level of skill. Because a handler’s well-being often depends on a service dog’s skill and competence, ensuring that a level of quality is met is vital. A service dog training log confirms that a dog is trained at the desired level and can perform the tasks needed by the handler. 

3. Identifies Strengths and Weaknesses

Even an exceptionally intelligent dog can have challenges in learning a particular skill. By keeping a training log, trainers and handlers can better identify where training needs lie and address them right away. Similarly, a training log highlights a service dog’s strengths, therefore making the task of matching service dogs to the needs of their handlers much simpler. 

4. Serves as Proof of Training

Though there are no federal laws that require proof of a service dog’s training, a handler may need evidence to apply for specific certifications or registrations. For example, the International Association for Service Dog Partners (IAADP) states that a weekly training log may be required from a provider who supports IAADP for service dog certification. This training log must document the required 120 hours of Public Access training. If a handler or trainer intends to certify or register a service dog in the future, a training log is essential. Also, should the need arise, a training log provides legal protection for the service dog, trainer, and handler. Although a training log can be time-consuming and cumbersome, they can be incredibly helpful.  

Do you want to show that your Service Dog has mastered the Public Access Test?Get your Handler-Certified Public Access Test certificate. Sample Service Dog Training Log Content

There’s no standard format for a service dog training log. The structure of the training log depends on the preference of the trainer or handler. However, some standards of information apply: 

Name of trainer Date Time Location Competency Obedience command or prompt Task or Public Access Skill linked with the competency Trainer or Handler Notes

You can start your training log by downloading this free sample Service Dog Training Log, provided by Service Dog Certifications.

A service dog training log can be as simple as a notebook kept by the trainer or handler, documenting a dog’s progress during training. For trainers who want more information and ready-to-use templates, books and manuals on service dog training also have training logs that can be consulted. More cost-effective and straightforward options are free service dog training log downloads on the internet. 

A service dog training log not only documents the strengths and weaknesses of the canine but can also function as proof of training in a legal dispute. Keeping Your Service Dog Training Log Safe

As the years go by, a trainer or handler might misplace or forget about their training log. Therefore, a service dog training log must be kept safe, in good condition, and in a location that’s easy to remember. The log is proof of the countless hours and effort placed training a service dog. This means that keeping the training log where a trainer or handler has access to it is critical. Keeping photocopies of the training log can also help ensure that the information is readily available and complete.