Archive for the ‘Service Dog Tips’ Category

A service dog can significantly improve a person’s quality of life. Not only do they fulfill specific tasks for individuals with physical or mental disabilities, they also provide companionship and security. A service dog’s presence can be the difference between a safe and a dangerous environment. That’s why registering a service dog may be the best option to ensure these essential animals can do their jobs. The following are guidelines to help you register your service dog. 

Determine Your Need for a Service Dog

First, decide if a service dog is right for you. People who require service dogs typically have a diagnosed physical or mental disability, such as difficulty walking, a debilitating chronic illness, or psychological disorder. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a person with a disability as: 

“[…] a person 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.”

However, the ADA does not go into detail as to which impairments are explicitly covered. If you have a physical or mental impairment and feel that a specially trained dog could help accomplish a particular life activity, a service dog may benefit you. 

Choose the Breed that Fits Your Need

When looking for a service dog, choose a dog that can perform your required task(s) well and safely. For instance, if you’d need a service dog to assist you with remaining upright when walking, then a 15-pound chihuahua may not be the best choice for you. As adorable as a particular dog breed may be, that type of breed may not meet your needs.

Choose a breed that can complete the job rather than one you find most appealing. 

Train Your Dog for Your Disability

There are a variety of ways to train your service dog:

You can purchase a dog that has already received training to meet your type of needs. You select a dog and then find a professional dog trainer to do the training. The most cost-effective—but most involved—choice is to train your service dog yourself.

Once trained, it may be time to register your service dog. 

A service dog can be registered after its training is complete. Register Your Service Dog

Traveling or going out in public with your service dog can lead to fewer problems if they’re registered. Other people are more likely to trust a service dog who is registered and certified. Registering your service dog includes their information into a comprehensive database and provides information on your dog’s status without having you divulge private medical information to strangers. Registering your dog is a quick and easy process that can save you from obstacles when out in public places. 

How to Register Your Dog as a Service Dog  Input the name of the service dog handler. The handler would be the name of the person who the dog performs tasks for and answers to. The handler also provides care for the dog, such as grooming, feeding, and toileting.  Input the name of your service dog. This name would be the name a service dog typically responds to. Provide your email address. Some sites may need you to verify your email address afterward.  Upload a picture of your service dog. Choose a photo that is clear and provides an accurate representation of your dog.  Select the format of the registration. Include the registration as a paper certificate, collar tags, leash covers, and other tools. Why Should I Register My Dog as a Service Dog? 

Although the ADA doesn’t make certification or registration of a service dog mandatory, it’s still good practice. Despite having protection under the ADA, the public may not understand the rights of service dogs and their handlers. Due to the recent rash of fraudulent service and therapy dogs, the public may be wary of allowing legitimate service dogs into their establishments. By registering your service dog, you can provide immediate notice of its status—bypassing any disagreements. 

Registering your service dog maintains your privacy. Because you can provide immediate and tangible information of your service dog’s status, others are less likely to question your dog’s presence. Registration allows you—and your service dog—to go about your daily tasks with less interruption and discussions. Your disability, and your dog’s services, can remain your own business. 

Service Dogs and Public Trust

Fraudulent service and therapy dog claims erode the public’s trust in legitimate service dogs. Registration re-builds the public’s trust and, in the end, allows service dogs to do their jobs in peace. 

Service dogs can be trained to help individuals with physical or psychological disabilities. As the service dog holds the job to specifically assist their handlers, a trained autism service dog can provide individuals with autism invaluable assistance in a number of ways.

From helping their handler conquer social barriers to distracting them in times of distress, an autism service dog can take on many tasks.

How to get an Autism Service Dog

A dog can become an autism service dog if it meets the requirements as set forth by the ADA. These requirements state that the dog must perform one or more tasks that help the individual in a manner that pertains to their disability.  The service dog needs to be trained and focused on the job, oftentimes be alert 24/7 and never leave their handler’s side.  

What Situations Can an Autism Service Dog Help With Companionship

Individuals with autism can struggle in relating to others as they may not understand typical human interaction or how to respond in socially-acceptable ways. This can lead to social isolation and feelings of depression. Having an autism service dog to provide companionship can help ease this suffering, whether just at home or in public as well.  

Social Interaction Support

For people with autism that wish to interact with others but have a hard time doing so, an autism service dog is a perfect way to break the ice. While others might avoid individuals with autism that are actively displaying non-typical behavior, people may gravitate towards individuals that are walking a dog. This helps break those uncomfortable social barriers and provides great socialization for the individual with autism.

Autism service dogs can help individuals with autism to interact with others. Safety for Children with Autism

Children with autism can be unpredictable and may choose an inopportune moment to take off. And since they cannot evaluate dangerous situations they might wander into busy traffic or get drawn to an open body of water. The autism service dog can help supervise the child and may prompt it to stay put, or at least momentarily slow their escape, allowing parents time to intervene.  

It should be noted that even when trained, animals are still animals and can exhibit unpredictable or erratic behavior. An adult should maintain control of the service dog at all times.

Children with autism can benefit from having an autism service dog. Soothing a Meltdown

An individual with autism, especially children, may experience loss of behavioral control. During such a meltdown it is crucial that they can regain control before they might harm themselves or someone else. An autism service dog can be trained to recognize when such a meltdown is happening and help soothe their handler.

Alerting and Grounding

The needs of every individual with autism are unique, and autism service dogs can be trained to perform a variety of tasks that may prove helpful. Such specific tasks may be:

Nudging a person to disrupt and stop repetitive/self-injuries behavior Help identify sounds and alarms Alerting the individual or their parents of dangers Autism Service Dogs Can Help Overcome Hardship

Individuals with autism deserve to live full, fulfilling, and rewarding lives despite the challenges brought about by their disability. Autism can be difficult to handle, and parents of autistic children might want to decide if a helping paw could benefit their whole family. Investing in an autism service dog is a great way to help an individual with autism to live a life less complicated.

When looking for a service dog, some people will gravitate towards a specific breed or seek out an organization that specializes in training service dogs. So what about dogs that were found as a stray, were abandoned, or surrendered? Are these so-called rescue dogs able to become service dogs? The simple answer is: yes! 

As defined in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) service dogs don’t need to be a particular breed, obtained from a specific breeder, or found at a training site. Rescue dogs can be just as talented to become service dogs, given that they have the temperament needed to serve their handlers. If they have the ability to be trained and learn the specific tasks needed by their handler, they can earn the title of a service dog.

Show everyone that the rights of your Service Dog should be respected. Get your Service Dog registered below.

What temperament does a rescue dog need to become a service dog?

All service dogs need to have a certain temperament in order to serve their owners. This typically includes:

Have a calm demeanor Be eager to please Possess a strong ability to learn

Service dogs must have no history of aggression, be patient during training, and exhibit no signs of distress. They need to remain under control while out in public, ignore distractions, and continue to follow all directions until their handler tells them otherwise. If a rescue dog displays these specific traits, it may excel in training to become a service dog.

Once training begins and the rescue dog appears stressed or anxious, isn’t able to perform certain tasks, or doesn’t appear to be enjoying its work, it may not be a good fit for service work.

Any dog trained to be a service dog should thoroughly enjoy the job and performing the tasks needed.

Rescue dogs that have a history of abuse or neglect may struggle with training but still may have the ability to learn with extra time and patience.  

What commands do they need to learn?

The tasks that a service dog should learn depends on the handler’s needs. Each disability has different demands, so the service dog’s training has to cater to these requirements. For example, a person with a physical disability may need assistance opening the refrigerator, while a person with a mental illness may need their dog to fetch their medication. Example tasks that handlers may teach their dogs are:

Opening doors Grabbing items for their handler  Guiding their handler through their house and out in public  Detecting an oncoming medical episode Fetching the mail Sensing a panic attack Providing pressure treatment for anxiety  Carrying items up and down the stairs

This is just the beginning of what a service dog can do to assist their handler. Each handler has different needs, which means that no two service dogs will need to meet the same requirements. A handler should be aware of what their dog can do to assist them and implement their training accordingly. 

Train your rescue dog to become the service dog you need. Where to train a service dog?

In order to properly train a service dog, a handler can hire a trainer or train the dog on their own. If a handler decides to use a trainer, they can find a local trainer that specializes in service dog training. Sometimes, these trainers will take the dog for a period of time to teach them everything they need to know, and then return them to their handler upon the completion of their training. Other times, these trainers will work directly with the handler and their dog.

If a handler opts to train the dog on their own, there are many resources that can be used. A simple Google search will find basic training techniques, commonly taught tasks, and effective training methods. Some handlers use YouTube videos to assist with training, while others use books and online articles. For those who use the latter, examples of training books are:

“Training Your Own Full Potential Service Dog” by Lelah Sullivan  “Training Your Own Service Dog and Psychiatric Service Dog Bundle” by Max Matthews “The Ultimate Service Dog Training Manual” by Keagen J. Grace “A Dog Training Manual For People with Disabilities” by Stewart Nordensson

All of the aforementioned books provide valuable tips and advice for training a rescue dog to become a service dog. Whether you choose to train your dog on your own or use a trainer, remember that this type of training will take time, effort, and a lot of patience. However, the effort will pay off once you see your dog providing the tasks you need to help make your daily life just a little bit easier.