Archive for the ‘Service Dog Tips’ Category

Every child dreams of taking their pet to school. Having their furry friend by their side could probably make any school day so much more enjoyable. For people with service dogs, however, bringing their canines to school makes their school day possible. To know exactly to what extent and under what laws you can take a service dog to school, read on below.

Service Dogs under the ADA

Service dogs receive extensive training to perform tasks. The tasks they learn help people manage their disability or disorder and help with their overall safety and well-being. Because service dogs do vital jobs, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) allows the use of service dogs in areas where the public is typically allowed. These public areas include all agencies that serve the public—businesses, government facilities, non-profits, and schools. 

Show everyone that the rights of your service dog should be respected. Get your service dog registered below. Schools, Disabilities and Service Dogs 

In most cases, children can’t take their pet dogs to school. A service dog, on the other hand, isn’t a pet. The service dog is an extension of a child’s treatment or management of their qualifying disability

Disabilities can occur at any age. Therefore, a school-aged child may need the help of a service dog. As school takes up such a large portion of a child’s waking hours, a service dog may need to accompany them to school to make their school day even possible. The federal government protects individuals with disabilities and their right to have a service dog. People with disabilities can take their service dogs to school due to protection under three laws:

1. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act

Section 504 bans the discrimination of people with a disability in areas that accept federal funds. Public schools typically receive monies from the federal government to operate. 

2. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA ensures protections for people with disabilities. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination by state and local governments and their services, including public schools.

3. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Applicable only to public primary and secondary schools (not public colleges and universities), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for every applicable student with a disability. 

Under the IDEA, children with disabilities must have free and fitting public education, meeting the parameters of their disabilities. This requirement is considered a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Service Dogs in Elementary and High Schools

A Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) provides supportive services that enable children with disabilities to benefit from the education offered. For example, if a service dog fits the FAPE as a supportive service, then a service dog can attend school along with a child. To determine whether a service dog is necessary to meet FAPE requirements, a child’s education team considers the following: 

Does the presence of the service dog affect a student’s ability to function independently? Can the tasks performed by the service dog be achieved through other practical means? Would a separation from the service dog affect a student’s skills to be independent during the school day? Does the service dog negatively or positively impact how a child develops and maintains social relationships? For some children with disabilities going to school is only possible if they can take their service dog to school. Can Schools Refuse a Service Dog?

Despite the legal protections for service dogs, a few situations exist where a service dog can be refused.

The school may decline a service dog if a child isn’t able to control the dog. A service dog must always be under the handler’s control. The child must know how to give orders to the dog and maintain control of the dog at all times.  The school is under no obligation to care for the service dog. The child must look after the dog and attend to its needs. If the child cannot look after the service dog, the school cannot be burdened and may refuse entry. A service dog that is disruptive, aggressive, or is not housebroken can be asked to leave the premises.

If other children or staff in the school fear dogs or an allergy, the school may provide the service dog and child an area away from the others. However, a fear of dogs or a dog allergy isn’t sufficient cause to deny a service dog’s presence. 

Service Dogs in College 

The ADA applies to both public and private universities. For college dorms and other housing, HUD’s Fair Housing Act (FHA) allows dogs to remain in housing with their handlers—even when regulations say “no pets” are allowed. Colleges and universities must make reasonable accommodations for students and staff who have service dogs. Areas where students can take their service dogs include cafeterias, classrooms, and lecture settings— all areas where other students are typically allowed. 

Conclusion

In short, schools must accommodate service dogs that have been fully trained to perform a work or task relating to a disability. Registrations, certifications, ID cards, and other accessories are completely optional once a service dog has been fully trained. These items, however, can be helpful in schools, so other students are aware the dog is a working animal.

Having service dog paraphernalia like ID cards and vests also allows instructors and school administrators to easily recognize that the student requires their dog because of a disability. Younger children, in particular, can be highly sensitive about constant inquiries about their disability or need for a service dog.

If you are considering bringing a service dog to your school, you may want to speak with your school’s administration to see what other rules and guidelines they have in place.

Service dogs are the superheroes of the canine world. They make the lives of people with disabilities safer and more comfortable. To achieve this, a service dog undergoes specific training, turning a pet into a medical tool helping people with disabilities complete tasks the owner could not manage themselves. The Golden State understands the vital work that service dogs perform. Therefore, California adheres to the federal laws safeguarding the use of service dogs along with more specific state laws guiding their protection. 

Does your Disability Qualify for a Service Dog in California?

As defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a person with a disability is someone:

“[…] who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment.”

If you are disabled and looking for a service dog, you need to first assess your needs. Not all disabilities benefit from the help of a service dog. However, many do. For example, if you have mobility issues, you can train a dog to help you obtain your cane or walker. If you struggle with diabetes, you may teach a service dog to alert you when your blood sugar is low. Consult with your healthcare provider to see how a service dog could benefit your situation. 

Choose the Dog that Fits Your Needs

Choosing the right service dog breed is essential to a service dog’s success. No amount of training will allow a tiny chihuahua to prevent a large person from falling—and it would place the dog in danger. A Saint Bernard has both the size and the temperament to make an excellent service dog who could do the job safely. Also, consider your living and work environment. If you live in a crowded apartment, a smaller sized service dog might be more efficient. 

Make sure your choice is based on practicality rather than preference. You may like the way a fluffy Samoyed looks. But if you or your family members have allergies, you may want to opt for a hypoallergenic dog, like an intelligent poodle.

A service dog is a long-term investment, and finding the right breed helps make that investment worthwhile. 

Service Dog Certifications

Train Your Dog for Your Disability

Training the service dog is the most labor-intensive and time-consuming part of finding and registering a service dog. However, a well-trained service dog is the key to getting the tasks you need to complete appropriately. 

The most cost-efficient way to train a service dog is to train the service dog yourself. It takes more work than other methods, but training your service dog allows you to cater the training to your specific needs. Training the dog yourself enables you and the dog to establish a connection and get to know each other, which benefits you both in the long run. 

It’s safe to say that most people with a disability don’t have the time or ability to train their own service dog. In this case, you can either outsource the training or purchase a trained service dog. These options may be costly, but for people who don’t have the time or means to train their own dog, they are viable choices. 

With all the resources placed into training a service dog, it may be a good idea to register your service dog

Once you have found and trained your service dog, you may register your service dog in California. Register Your Service Dog in California

Registering your service dog is a completely optional choice. Having documents like an ID card and being part of a comprehensive database however can offer peace of mind when you’re out with your service dog. Everyday activities become less troublesome, as questions and arguments can easily be solved by showing paperwork that labels your dog as an official service dog. Keep in mind though that registering a service dog is completely up to you and no one can demand that you register a valid service dog.

How to Register Your Dog as a Service Dog in California 

Registrations are typically done online and require just a few steps to complete:

Input the name of the handler. This usually is the person who the dog performs their service for and who they answer to.  Add the name of the service dog, which would be the name the dog responds to the most often.  Input and verify your email address.  Upload a clear photo of your service dog. Make sure that the image is an accurate representation. Select the type of service dog certification and other items, if needed. This may be service dog accessories such as a paper certificate, collar tags, leash covers, and other tools.    Why Should I Register My Dog as a Service Dog in California? 

Though neither the ADA nor California make registering a service dog mandatory, it can be a good idea to do so. A registered service dog can offer you a degree of privacy, shielding you from intrusive and unnecessary questions. 

Also, fraudulent service dogs are on the rise. The increase in fake service dogs makes it more difficult for legitimate service dogs to do their jobs undisturbed. Providing immediate proof of a service dog’s status can build public trust in service dogs and the vital jobs they perform. 

Service Dogs Protection in California Penal Code 365.7

California recognized the importance of maintaining the integrity of legitimate service dogs as early as 1995. Penal Code 365.7 makes the misrepresentation of a service dog a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment. 

California Service Dog News

With the help of a grant from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, the California Dog Academy aims to train and offer service dogs to veterans at no cost. As of September 2019, the academy already provided 15 veterans with service dogs of their own. To qualify, veterans must meet requirements and participate in a six-week course. 

Maybe you’ve noticed the proliferation of “weighted blankets” and wondered what they were and if they work. Weighted blankets are scientifically proven to be effective at reducing the symptoms of mental and emotional disorders. Some blankets weigh up to 20 pounds. The pressure placed on the body is known as deep pressure therapy (DPT). It provides comfort, security, and focus in adults and children struggling with disorders like anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and autism. 

Service dogs can also provide deep pressure therapy to offer the same calming benefits. International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) recognizes how service dogs can give their owners deep pressure for a calming effect. When a person experiences symptoms of their disorder, a medium or large service dog can lay on their abdomen or chest, generating the same effect of a weighted blanket. 

7 Best Dog Breeds for Deep Pressure Therapy

Of course, not any dog breed will provide that same sense of comfort. A toy breed may not have the sufficient weight necessary to impact a person’s mental or emotional health.

Apart from a dog’s good temperament, it’s important to find the right-sized service dog for deep pressure therapy to get the most effective results.

Service Dog Certifications

The following are seven dog breeds that are ideal for deep pressure therapy:

1. Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever lands on many “best” service dog lists for a good reason. This breed is intelligent, gentle, patient, and good-natured. Children and adults with autism enjoy their happy-go-lucky personalities. They also have the right temperament and emotional intuitiveness to work with mentally or emotionally distressed individuals. Golden Retrievers are the right size and gentleness to function well during deep pressure therapy.

The Golden Retriever is a top service dog and gentle enough to give deep pressure therapy. 2. Labrador Retriever

Autism Service Dogs of America recommends Labrador Retrievers for children and adults with autism. These dogs are the right size for deep pressure therapy and have an inherent calmness to their disposition. The Labrador Retriever is also the number one most popular dog breed in the US because they are exceptional family dogs and easy to train. 

3. Collie 

The mild-mannered Collie is well-known for its loyalty and intelligence. Sharp and quick, Collies are eager to please and easy to train. Although they’re energetic and playful, they’re also attentive and obedient, making them great for children with autism or ADHD. Their fluffy appearance makes them look lightweight, but a male can grow as large as 75 pounds—the right size for deep pressure therapy on an older child or small adult. 

Collies are well-mannered and fluffy, making for warm and soft deep pressure therapies. 4. Labradoodle

Part Poodle and part Labrador (hence the name), the Labradoodle is allergy-friendly and doesn’t shed as much hair as other dogs. They are, however, still part Labrador, so people with sensitive allergies may react to Labradoodles. The Labradoodle comes from two very intelligent breeds and is highly trainable. Because they also come in many sizes, finding the right-sized Labradoodle for deep pressure therapy is easy. 

5. Samoyed

Hugging a cushiony, furry Samoyed is like cuddling with a large teddy bear, which is why this dog is ideal for deep pressure therapy. Samoyed’s can grow up to 65 pounds, but most of that weight consists of shaggy white fur! Samoyeds are also obedient and pick up on emotions well, making them great as psychiatric service dogs for deep pressure purposes. One thing to note is that these dogs are very energetic and need frequent grooming, but it’s well worth it to have a life-sized teddy bear to hold.

The white soft fur of the Samoyed creates a teddy bear-like deep pressure therapy. 6. Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees are very large dogs, upwards of 100 pounds. However, they’re on this list for two significant reasons: First, they’re gentle giants. They’re excellent at keeping calm and following orders. Non-aggressive and not prone to act out, the Great Pyrenees can provide a calm sanctuary for deep pressure therapy. Secondly, this breed is intelligent and quick to pick up tasks, so training shouldn’t be a problem. Just be aware that this is a large breed and their deep pressure therapy is suitable for adolescents and adults only.  

7. Bernese Mountain Dogs

As the Great Pyrenees, underneath the giant Bernese Mountain Dog is a gentle soul. Weighing up to 115 pounds, these dogs are ideal deep pressure therapy dogs for adults. They’re friendly with most people, adjust well to new environments, and don’t rattle very easily. These dogs are eager to please and enjoy helping people, making them ideal for people with autism, PTSD, or ADHD. 

The Bernese Mountain Dog is large and heavy but gentle at heart and eager to do DPT. Safety First

Before you get a service dog for deep pressure therapy, consult with your licensed healthcare provider. They can guide you in finding the right-sized service dog for deep pressure therapy. Also, there may be health contraindications that can be dangerous when using deep pressure therapy. A service dog needs to be trained to quickly remove themselves from a person if an emergency develops. Keep in mind that most dogs don’t typically enjoy being hugged or lying on a person for long periods, which is why a service dog used for DPT requires training and a calm temperament. Finding and training the right service dog for you is about the needs and safety of you and the service dog you choose. 

Let everyone know your service dog is an indispensable part of your life with your Service Dog ID. Get your service dog registered below.