Archive for the ‘Service Dog Tips’ Category

It’s tempting to pet a service dog. After all, these dogs are well-behaved, adorable, and very approachable. What harm could it do? It’s just a pat on their soft furry head and maybe a treat. So, is it okay to pet a service dog? The short answer is “NO.”

It’s never a good idea to pet dogs you aren’t familiar with, as a general rule. You never know what kind of temperament or background a dog could have. Always approach a dog and its owner slowly and ask the owner first if their dog can be pet. 

More importantly, service dogs are different from other dogs. If you see a dog with a vest, harness, or cape, it may be a service dog. They are specially trained to provide a task that a person with a disability cannot accomplish on their own. Focused and disciplined, service dogs are always alert and vigilant, ready to do their jobs. Distraction can be costly and, in some cases, even life-threatening to their handlers. 

Distracting a Service Dog

Service dogs spend months, sometimes years, in training to perform their tasks. All that time invested in the dog is for a fundamental purpose. Although it’s not typically apparent what a service dog’s purpose is, here are some examples of tasks they might perform: 

Autism Assistance

Dogs who assist children with autism keep these kids safe, provide tactile stimulation, or encourage them to interact with their surroundings. These dogs also establish boundaries for autistic children, preventing them from straying away or running. 

Seizure Alert/Response

Service dogs for people who suffer from seizures help detect, prevent, or assist when seizures occur. They may provide pressure on specific body parts, obtain medications, or call for help. These dogs may even alert their owners or others if a seizure is about to occur.

Diabetic Alert

Service dogs trained for people with diabetes can perform many life-saving tasks. They can call 911 in emergencies and detect if a person’s blood sugar is low. Diabetic service dogs can also obtain medication if their owner suffers from hypoglycemia.

Medical Alert

Dogs trained to be medical alert service dogs can detect when physiologic changes occur, such as blood pressure, heart rate, or hormonal differences that can affect a person’s safety. These dogs let their handler know if such changes occur and can call 911 or get assistance if necessary. 

Psychiatric Dogs

Psychiatric service dogs can help obtain medication, prevent self-injury, or remove their handler for situations that can trigger a crisis response. These dogs can also detect the start of anxiety or agitation and alert their handler to initiate positive coping skills. 

Knowing how essential and vital their services are, it’s easy to understand why a service dog shouldn’t be distracted.

The tasks above are a few of the functions that a service dog may have to perform. A service dog, when out in public, is on the job. Just like a pilot or a surgeon shouldn’t be distracted, a service dog must remain focused on the job. Their handler’s life may depend on it. 

Don’t Look a Service Dog in the Eyes

Although it may seem minor, making eye contact with a service dog can also distract them. For dogs, eye contact has different meanings than it does for humans. And because they can’t verbalize their thoughts as humans can, eye contact can be a form of communication. Eye contact with a service dog is like starting a conversation with a bus driver, right in the middle of making a turn. 

Do not approach or interact with a service dog. Any distraction may put the handler’s life in jeopardy. Your Scent Can Affect a Service Dog’s Job

We may not be able to detect the scents on our hands, but dogs do. Our scent can affect a service dog’s task by preventing them from smelling the scent they’re trained to detect. A dog’s highly sensitive sense of smell can pick up all kinds of odors, even our hands’ temporary touch on their fur. Petting a dog who relies on their nose to detect blood sugar levels or hormones can be dangerous for the disabled person that needs the dog to be in top working condition. 

It May Not Be a Service Dog

Despite attempts to curb illegitimate service dogs, there continues to be a number of non-legitimate “service” dogs. You may think that a dog wearing a vest is a well-behaved service dog, but it may turn out that the dog is not well trained. You never want to be in a position where you could get bit or hurt. 

Respecting a Service Dog’s and their Handler’s Space

The handlers of service dogs also deserve their own space and privacy and to keep their disability status to themselves. Asking what kind of disability they have is not only invasive but may be against the law. The American Disabilities Act (ADA) protects service dog owners’ privacy and service dogs’ use. 

Cuteness aside, service dogs are not pets. They’re a vital part of a person’s treatment intervention for their disability. Without their assistance, a person with a disability gets placed in a dangerous situation. Service dogs are cute, but they are professionals and should be treated as such. Give service dogs the space to do their jobs because someone’s well being depends on them. 

Service dogs can make the world much more accessible to people who have a disability. The Empire State respects the work of service dogs and allows people with disabilities to engage in public life. 

A service dog is not a pet, it is an accommodation that allows people with disabilities to have a safe and accessible environment. Because of this vital role, service dogs must be present when necessary. By registering a service dog, it ensures that your rights are protected and that a dog will be able to carry out their job without interruption. 

Does your Disability Qualify for a Service Dog in New York?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), states that 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.”

People with a disability in New York must gauge whether or not a service dog would help them overcome their impairments in daily life. 

The first step to getting a service dog is evaluating the need for one. Keep in mind that a service dog must be able to perform the required task daily. Also, the task they are asked to perform must be a task that is possible for a dog to accomplish. Consulting with your healthcare provider is one of the best ways to decide if a service animal is the right decision for you. 

Get the Best Breed for your Disability

It’s important to be realistic when choosing a service dog. For your safety and wellbeing, a service dog must be able to accomplish the required task. Choosing the right breed for the task, rather than your favorite breed, can make all the difference. 

Consider the services you need fulfilled, and decide which size or breed can best perform the task. For example, if you need a service dog to keep you from falling, you will need a large breed that can hold your weight. Pomeranians may be adorable and cute, but a small pomeranian will not be able to prevent you from falling. A larger breed dog would be a safer choice. 

Train Your Dog for Your Disability

For a service dog to do the required service, they must receive training. It’s also vital that a service dog is trained to behave appropriately in social situations. A trained service dog can be obtained in three ways. 

Purchase a service dog that has already been trained for the tasks you require. Although these service dogs are costly, it’s the most convenient option.  You can choose to obtain your own dog and outsource the training. By purchasing your dog, you can find a dog that is the right breed and size and that you have a bond with. You can then have someone else perform the formal training of the dog.  This third option is the most cost-efficient (but time-consuming) of the three. You can purchase your own dog and perform the training on your own. Although this option requires research and lots of effort, it can also give you something the others can’t — the ability to train a dog to your own specific needs. And by spending so much time with the dog, you are more likely to develop a stronger bond, which benefits both you and your service dog. 

Because of all the effort and money put into training, service dog registration can make the future with your service dog stress-free. 

Register Your Service Dog in New York

Through a service dog registration, your service dog can carry out their tasks with less interruptions from uninformed persons. A registered service dog lets the public know that your dog is an animal that provides a service for a disability without having to expose your private information. Having proof of your service dog status through another entity can offer you and your service dog a layer of protection and privacy when you’re out in public. You may find that a registered service dog makes navigating the world much easier. 

Service dog registration also allows you to keep your privacy. Because a registered service dog is much less likely to be denied access, you will have less of a need to explain your physical or mental needs. Although registering a service dog may take a little work in the beginning, it saves you and your dog a ton of stress in the long run. 

Register Your Service Dog in New York

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

1. Type the name of the service dog handler. The handler is typically the owner or the person responsible for the dog’s care. 

2. Type in your service dog’s name. This is the name he would most likely respond to.  

3. Type in your email address. You may be asked to verify your address. 

4. Upload a recent and clear photo of your service dog. That puppy photo might warm your heart, but it’s not an accurate photo of your four-year-old dog! 

5. Select the type of registration. You may choose your service dog accessories such as a paper certificate, collar tags, leash covers, and other tools. 

Service dog registration in New York can add a layer of protection to you and your service dog. Why Should I Register My Dog as a Service Dog in New York? 

The ADA does not make registration of a service dog a requirement. However, it may be the right decision for a person that values privacy and discretion. Besides allowing you a degree of privacy and ease, registering your service dog and carrying a service dog identification card allows you to signal your animal as an assistance animal. You and your service dog represent the service dog community. Registering your dog adds legitimacy to a group that is often misrepresented by fraudulent claims. 

Registering your service dog makes your dog’s job easier. Without the distraction of others, they can go about their business by providing you with service and attention. 

New York Statute

A law prohibits pet owners from misrepresenting their dogs as service or therapy dogs. Just like other states, New York state has seen a rash of illegitimate service and therapy dogs. 

New York Service Dog News

In New York, the Mayor’s Office provides a comprehensive list of legitimate training sites for your convenience. 

A disability doesn’t end at the doors of a school. For the most part, a school may be where a child or young adult learns to navigate the world with their disability. Because service dogs are part of how a person manages their disability, a service dog must be involved in a child or young adult’s development and can indeed accompany their owner to school.

Show everyone that the rights of your service dog should be respected. Get your service dog registered below.

What are Service Dogs? 

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a service dog is a service animal trained to take on a task for a person with a disability. The task that the dog performs has to be related directly to the person’s disability. This task is often something the person can not achieve on their own and necessary for safety or daily life. 

For example, some dogs receive training to detect impending seizures in a person with epilepsy. Others can identify low blood sugar in diabetic patients. Service dogs are vital to the mental and physical well-being of the person they serve and are covered by federal law. 

Service dogs are similar to but different from emotional support animals (ESA) and therapy animals. Service dogs are specifically trained for a person’s disability and perform vital tasks that can not be executed by the person they serve. Service dogs are not pets. They are a medical tool to help their owners overcome the hardships of the disability. 

What are Their Rights? 

Because service dogs are crucial to their owners’ well-being and quality of life, they fall under federal law. They are allowed to go wherever their owner goes, whether it be a business, a public park, or a school. 

A service dog can be taken to school to continue the assistance to their owner. Service Dog in Primary and Secondary School

Two federal laws apply directly to service dogs’ presence for students with disabilities in public schools: 

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)Title II of the ADA is broad and allows for civil protections for all individuals with disabilities. The law does not allow any discrimination by federal, state, and local governments. This law includes all public schools. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation ActSection 504 does not allow discrimination against people with a disability in programs that receive federal funds, including public schools.  

These two federal laws permit a student with a disability to use a service dog in schools. These students cannot receive unfavorable treatment or be charged fees that are not the same as those for students without service dogs. These students are not allowed to be isolated or set apart from others because of their service dog. The fear of a dog or allergies is not sufficient reason to deny a service dog’s presence within a school, but the school may offer the use of other locations when possible. 

In short, service dogs are allowed in universities and K-12 grade public school campuses for students with disabilities. Students with service dogs can’t be penalized in any way for having a service dog. However, the care and grooming of the service dog should be determined beforehand, especially in the case of small children. 

Service Dogs in College

Individuals with a disability may use a service animal on their campus and in their dorms. The Fair Housing Act covers both service animals and emotional support animals in housing areas and dormitories. However, only service animals remain covered under the ADA regarding other areas of the campus. The ADA allows service animals into classrooms and other university facilities. 

However, it’s important to remember that the person with the disability has the responsibility for the care and grooming of the dog. Also, the dog can’t be dangerous or disruptive and must be under the owner’s control at all times. 

Service Dogs and Students

A service dog offers a person with a disability the freedom to participate in the world around them. Taking away a service dog deprives a child, adolescent, or young adult the ability to foster their independence and achieve their goals more fully. A service dog is not a pet, but an extension of a youth’s mastery over their disability. 

Service Dog as Part of the Education

Learning to live with their disability requires a service dog’s assistance, and learning to live with their disability is part of why they are in school. Allowing the full use of their rights enables students to empower and educate themselves in a supportive environment. Through a well-rounded education and life experience, children and young adults with disabilities can grow into productive adults. Federal laws recognize this need, and schools must abide by them, for the benefit of all.