Archive for the ‘Service Dog Tips’ Category

What the ADA says: Police, like any other third party, can verify a service dog by asking two questions: 1. Is the dog a service dog required for a disability? and 2. What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Do you have to provide the police with anything else? Just like with other third parties, you can voluntarily show a service dog ID card, vest, tag, or certificate. However, you can’t be denied entry if you don’t have or just forgot to bring these items.

How service dog accessories make life easier 🐕‍🦺 : Rather than explaining their situation to every passerby in a no-dog environment or having people inappropriately touch their dog, service dog owners use these items to visually inform others and keep them at a safe distance.

Countless service dog handlers are repeatedly badgered for ID cards and certificates to prove they own a service dog. Therefore, many owners have these items handy instead of getting into recurring debates about service dog verification procedures.

What else to keep in mind: Remember, most people are not as well-informed about service dog rights. You can present your service dog ID card, certificate, or other accessories, but if you don’t have these items on you, the best course of action is to calmly explain that answering the two questions defined by the ADA is sufficient.

There is no technical minimum age for a service dog, but practical considerations limit how young a service animal can be. Due to training requirements and developmental concerns, a puppy is generally not eligible as a service dog. 

Under ADA rules, service dogs in training are not considered full-fledged service animals. A service dog must finish training before being granted public access rights.  

Under the ADA, the dog must already be trained before it can be taken into public places.

Some states and localities may have their own laws that allow for service dogs in training to be given public access rights. However, even if your local laws grants rights to a service dog in training, a young puppy is still likely ineligible to qualify as a service dog.

Puppies generally can’t qualify as service dogs for two main reasons: 

1.A puppy in its early developmental stages is not ready for formal training.

Many trainers and organizations do not recommend beginning formal service dog training until a dog is at least 6 months of age. A very young puppy may not be ready for the rigors of undergoing intensive task training. Many trainers encourage owners to allow their puppies to be puppies, and that means allowing them to play, socialize and explore their curiosities.

2.Service dog training is an involved process that can require several months to years, depending on the skillset needed.

The other reason a puppy usually can’t be a qualified service dog is that the actual training process can take significant time. Under ADA rules, a service dog must be individually trained to perform a job or task relating to the handler’s physical or psychiatric disability.

Service dogs are trained for an enormous variety of tasks. Simple tasks can be mastered within weeks or months, but complex tasks or sets of interrelated tasks can take years to master.

In addition to disability-related task training, a service dog must also be trained for public access skills. That means the ability to be in public on best behavior, under full control, and without becoming distracted by the environment. It can take time for a puppy to learn and mature into these abilities.  

Once a service dog is fully trained, handlers can use accessories like ID cards, vests, certificates, and tags to easily identify their animal as a service animal. specializes in providing these tools to service dog owners for their convenience, safety, and privacy. 

.about-the-author-wrap a { padding: 20px; border-radius: 10px; background-color: #f2f2f2; color:#444; display:block; text-decoration: none !important; margin: 40px 0; font-size: 17px; } About the author: Shannen Standiford is a trainer and applied animal behavior consultant in San Diego, California. She specializes in service animal training, behavioral issues such as separation anxiety, reactivity, aggression, and more. She is a supporting member of the IAABC and opened her own 1:1 training business under the name Pups on the Coast to help others understand their dog on a deeper level and create a bond with their pet that they’ve always dreamed about.

Many seniors have mobility or other issues that could benefit from having a service dog for specific assistance. But not everyone knows there are different service dogs that help people with different challenges. Each type of service dog has a specific purpose.

Here are some of the most common types of service dogs for seniors:

Hearing Dogs Diabetic Alert Dogs Guide Dogs Mobility Assistance Dogs Seizure Response Dogs Hearing Dogs

These service dogs are trained to help their humans who are deaf or hard of hearing. They alert their handlers to sounds like smoke alarms, ringing doorbells, timers and alarm clocks, and ringing phones. Poodles, Golden Retrievers, Pomeranians, and Cocker Spaniels are commonly chosen for their sharp hearing and responsiveness to training. However, any dog with good hearing and an obedient nature can be a hearing dog. When the dog hears a sound that the handler needs to know about, they will get the attention of their handler by pawing or performing any other trained activity.

Diabetic Alert Dogs

Diabetes is a widespread problem in older adults. It is treatable, but some seniors may have difficulty controlling their blood sugar. Others have sudden changes in blood sugar even with treatment and monitoring. Diabetic alert dogs can help in this situation by alerting their handler if their blood sugar gets too high or too low. But how do they do this? High or low blood sugar causes the body to release chemicals that have a strong odor to dogs — even though this odor is undetectable to the human nose! Diabetic alert dogs can be trained to alert their handler or trigger an alarm if their handler needs help.

Different types of service dogs can help seniors deal with age-related and other disabilities. Guide Dogs

Most people are familiar with guide dogs; they assist the visually impaired. They are trained to lead their handlers as they navigate the world, preventing them from walking into objects or other people. Many guide dogs can lead their handler all over the city and back home again, including riding on public transit. (Service dogs are allowed in public places, including on planes and other modes of public transportation. If you have difficulty convincing your ride-share driver, read this article.) People often think of German Shepherds when they think of guide dogs, but any dog that is easy to train and has the proper temperament can do the job.

Mobility Assistance Dogs

Mobility assistance dogs are great for seniors with difficulty moving or getting around. Large, strong breeds are preferred, as these dogs have to do various tasks, from turning lights on and off to pulling a wheelchair. They may also support a handler who needs assistance standing or using other mobility aids like crutches, canes, or walkers. Like guide dogs, mobility assistance dogs tremendously help seniors who want to maintain their independence. Some seniors have difficulty doing things around the house but don’t want to move into assisted living. A mobility assistance dog can help them with moving and daily tasks, allowing the seniors to continue living alone and going out, shopping, and socializing.

Seizure Response Dogs

Seizure response dogs are trained to help handlers who have epilepsy. Although epilepsy can be treated with medication, some patients still have unpredictable seizures. A seizure alert dog helps in several ways. Some will place themselves between a falling handler and the floor to prevent injury. They may also be trained to drag their handler to a safe location if the seizure occurs in an unsafe place — like on the road, in the shower or bathtub, or in other areas that could pose an imminent danger. Additionally, they can be trained to alert others if their handler needs medical attention.

A Service Dog for Any Senior Disability

As life gets slower and presents more obstacles to citizens of higher age, a service dog can make a senior’s daily activities a little easier and safer. While there are many types of service dogs for various disabilities, any potential handler should be aware of the responsibilities of owning a service dog. Even the most practical and well-trained service dog is a dog after all and needs grooming and exercise to be healthy and able to perform their tasks. Getting a young, energetic service dog may feel overwhelming to an older person as the dog will have to be under the control of their handler at all times, especially when out and about. Therefore, any senior considering getting a service dog should make a well-informed decision on the type and breed of service dog they need. And they should be sure that they would have the support of someone else to take care of the dog if the responsibilities get overwhelming. But once the service dog is attuned to their handler’s needs, life will no doubt make a turn for the better, and both will enjoy the company and taking care of each other.