Archive for the ‘Service Dog Tips’ Category

In a world that can be challenging for individuals with a disability, a service dog can make everyday life much easier. The Sunshine State looks kindly towards service dogs and understands that these dogs are not just useful, but necessary.

For individuals with a disability, having a service dog around when in need can be the difference between a good life and difficult life. Therefore, it’s essential that service dogs can be with their handlers at all times. Qualifying and properly training a service dog is one of the best ways to ensure that a service animal can remain with their handlers at all times and do their jobs.

Is a Service Dog Right for You?

Service dogs are not pets and are considered necessary medical devices for a person with a disability. According to 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 have a disability, you may benefit from a service dog.

Evaluate what your needs are and if a dog can be trained to perform that service. For instance, if you have mobility issues, you may be able to train a dog to obtain your medications, your cane, and your clothing. Decide which needs could be addressed by a service dog, and seek consultation from your healthcare professional.

Choosing the Right Breed for You

When you’re deciding on a service dog, choosing the right breed is vital to getting the job done right. Consider the tasks you need fulfilled, and assess what size or breeds can complete those tasks. You may prefer small dogs, but asking a 14-pound chihuahua to help with preventing you from falling may not be feasible. However, a Newfoundland could certainly do the job.

Choose a dog breed that can perform the tasks you need with ease. Train Your Dog for Your Needs

A service dog must be well-trained to perform their necessary tasks. There are three options to get your service dog’s training done:

Purchase from a service dog trainer – You can choose to purchase a dog from a reputable service dog training organization that has already been trained for the tasks you need. Hire a professional trainer – If you prefer, you can select a dog and outsource the dog’s training. Train yourself – If you want, you may train the dog yourself. It may take more work on your part, but by doing the training yourself, you can develop rapport along the way. Thus, you would be bonding while training.

With all the time, money, and effort placed into a service dog, it may be advisable to have it registered.

Register Your Service Dog in Florida

When a service dog is registered, you can show your registration card and protect your privacy. The service dog registration card shows that your dog is a service dog without having to discuss your private medical information. Although it is not required, you may find that travel and lodging can be much easier to obtain when you have a registered service dog. Registering a service dog may be a bit of an effort at first, but it can save a lot of hassle in the long run. Find out how to register your service dog in Florida below.

How to Register Your Dog as a Service Dog in Florida Enter the service dog owner’s name. There can be one name per registration. Enter the name of the service dog. The service dog’s name and picture will be entered into the service dog registration database. Enter your email address. This is so that you can receive your digital identification card and registration information. Upload a recent photo of your service dog. This is to show what your service dog looks like. Select the format of the registration. You can order a service dog identification card, service dog collar tag, paper certificate, digital registration, etc. Why Should I Register My Dog as a Service Dog?

Though the ADA doesn’t require service dogs to be registered, it’s still an excellent idea. Registering your service dog allows you a degree of privacy because you are less likely to be questioned about your condition or approached. 

Due to the increase in fraudulent service animals, the public may not be ready to accept your dog as a service animal. Registering your animal provides immediate proof of status—allowing you to avoid any disagreements. Fraudulent service and therapy dog claims make the public wary of legitimate service dogs. Registration re-builds public trust and allows service dogs to do their job.

Florida Statute 413.08

The Florida Statute 413.08 specifically outlines the state laws concerning service animals and states explicitly that a service animal is “not a pet.” The statue also allows for handlers with a service dog in training to have the same rights as people who already have a fully trained service dog.

Florida Service Dog News

Rescue 22, in partnership with the University of California, trains, and places service dogs with veterans free of charge. The Rescue 22 project attempts to match their service dog training very closely with the needs, household situation, and lifestyle of the individual veteran. Rescue 22 obtains their dogs from shelters, rescues, and surrenders—they do not utilize ex-military K-9s. Although it may seem to be a great match, these dogs are often more mature and may not be a good fit!

If you have a disability, you may qualify for a service dog. Colorado law aligns with federal guidelines. These guidelines allow a person with a disability to reside, travel, and perform their activities of daily living with a service dog. Colorado also takes the extra step to protect service dogs who are still in training (Colorado Revised Statute 24-34-803), enabling them to train with their handlers in public areas. Continue reading for more information on Colorado service dog requirements. 

Definition of a Service Dog

A service dog is trained to carry out specific tasks to assist a person with a disability. The disability can be physical, mental health-related, or medical. Colorado follows the American with Disabilities Act by restricting service animals to canines and miniature horses. A canine does not have to meet any specific requirements regarding height or weight. Colorado does, however, ban pit bulls but not from performing as service dogs

The task a service dog performs must be related to their owner’s disability. The task(s) must be an act that their owner would not be able to perform easily or safely without assistance. 

How is the Service Dog Trained? 

To be a legitimate service dog, a dog must be trained to perform a task specific to their owner’s disability, as stated above. As an example, some service dogs are trained to bring objects such as medication bottles or walking canes. Others prevent their owners from falling by allowing themselves to be used as physical support. Training can be performed through a professional trainer or by the owner (or owner’s family). 

Identification Requirements for a Service Dog in Colorado

Although Colorado does not require any identification requirements for service dogs, it’s always good to register your service dog. Doing so prevents any problems or misunderstandings from occurring, allowing your dog to perform their duty with fewer interruptions. 

In Colorado, businesses are only legally allowed to ask two questions when it is not apparent that the dog is a service animal: 

Is this a service animal? What task has the animal been trained to perform?

Due to privacy concerns, business and private entities may not ask personal questions such as:

Ask the owner to declare their illness or disability.  Demand documentation regarding registration or training.  Ask the owner to have the animals perform their assigned task as a demonstration. 

Colorado does not require a service dog to have a vest or identification tag stating that they are service dogs. 

A registered service dog in Colorado can perform their duty with fewer interruptions.  Service Dog Registration in Colorado

Although service dog registration is not required by law in Colorado, it does provide peace of mind. Having an extra layer of protection and privacy for a dog and its owner can make all the difference. Service dogs perform better in calm environments with few interruptions, and registration allows just that. Having documentation at the ready garners legitimacy and respect from business owners and the public, enabling service dogs to remain undisturbed. 

People who are interested in training, certification, and registration in Colorado can inquire with Service Dog Certifications, their local service dog trainers, or county animal enforcement department in the Colorado area. 

Psychiatric Service Dog Requirements

Psychiatric service dogs are not the same as emotional support animals. Psychiatric service dogs are trained to perform a task that is tailored to meet a psychiatric patient’s needs. For instance, a psychiatric service dog may be trained to performing the following tasks:

Remind their owner to take their psychotropic medications. Apply deep pressure therapy. Interrupt any self-harm behavior. Alert others when a person with a psychiatric disability becomes agitated. Service Dog or Emotional Support Dog in Colorado

Colorado requires that a service dog or emotional support animal always be tethered or harnessed and must remain under their owner’s control at all times unless such a device interferes with their ability to perform. Any disruptive or dangerous behavior can have the animals removed from the area. Service dogs are working animals and can not play, be fed, or perform tasks for anyone else other than their owner. 

If your dog isn’t specifically trained to perform a task, you may still qualify for an emotional support dog (ESA). Emotional support animals are recognized as assistance animals, but do not have the same access rights as service dogs. ESAs provide support and comfort to owners that suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc., and can live and travel with their owners without having to pay additional pet fees.

You and Your Service Dog in Colorado

After your dog finishes their training, you are approved by Federal law to bring your service dog with you in public. Because a service animal adds to the safety, well-being, and quality-of-life of its owners, service dogs are allowed into general public areas. This includes buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation. 

If a service dog sounds like a good fit for your disability, you can speak to your healthcare professional for their consultation. Your healthcare professional may be able to point you in the right direction and help you obtain a service dog. It’s vital to ensure your service dog is well-behaved and able to tolerate the public. Aggressive outbursts, disruptive behavior, or violation of sanitary standards can prevent your service dog from doing their job. 

Service dogs are a joy to have and can lighten the load for many people with disabilities. Knowing what you can and can not do with your service dog within Colorado is essential for both you and your dog.

Colorado boasts one of the top national park systems in the United States. In Denver alone, 79% of its residents live within a half-mile of a park. The widespread availability of parks makes Colorado a great place to have a service dog. 

With all the options available for outdoor activities, getting your service dog registered in Colorado is a good idea. As service dogs are an essential part of their owner’s health and quality of life, registering your service dogs allows your dog to do its job with fewer distractions.

Determine if You Need a Service Dog

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a disabled person is defined as a person with physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

Before starting the journey towards getting a service dog, assess what your needs are. Can a dog be trained to perform a task related to your disability? For example, if you have problems with falling, you may be able to train a dog to assist you as walking support. Set realistic expectations for a service dog. Determine what needs can be met by a service dog, and inquire with your healthcare provider. 

Choose the Right Breed for Your Needs

Although you may have a favorite dog breed, that particular kind may be unable to assist with your needs. When purchasing or rescuing the right breed as a service dog, it’s essential that the dog can fulfill the task. For instance, using a small pomeranian to assist in preventing you from falling isn’t realistic or safe. A large Saint Bernard, however, can easily prevent you from falling and do the job well

Train Your Dog for Your Disability

Training a service dog is a vital part of the process. A service dog should be well-trained to ensure that the required tasks can be performed. A well-trained service dog can keep you out of harm’s way. There are three common options to get a trained service dog:

Purchase a trained service dog: You may buy a service dog that has been trained for the task you require. A pre-trained service dog is the simplest but also costliest option. Outsource the training to a professional trainer: You may already have a dog or adopt a new one. The trainer will help you get your service dog ready for the tasks needed. Purchase and train the dog yourself: This is the least expensive option, but also the most time-consuming option. Although training a dog yourself may require a lot of research, time, and effort, there are significant benefits to this option. Performing the training yourself develops a bond with your service dog, and you can personalize the instruction to fit your individual needs. 

A significant amount of time and money goes into training a service dog. By registering your service dog, you are ensuring full use of your dog without having to field too many personal or medical questions from the public. 

Registering Your Service Dog in Colorado

Registering a service dog takes a little work on the front end, but saves you a lot of time on the back end. With a registered service dog, the public is more likely to accept your dog’s presence. This makes it less likely that you will encounter any resistance from people ignorant of service dog laws.

How to Register Your Dog as a Service Dog  Provide the service dog handler’s name in the appropriate fields. Type in the service dog’s name in the appropriate fields. Type in your email address. Be aware that a few sites may require the additional step of verifying the email address. This extra step is to ensure your information is correct and there is a way to validate your request.  Provide a current photo of your service dog by uploading it onto the website. Choose a clear and recent picture of your dog.  Select the format of the registration. You may choose to select a paper certificate, identification card, service dog leash cover, etc. Register your dog as a service dog in Colorado in just a few steps. Why Should I Register My Dog as a Service Dog? 

Although the ADA does not require registration, it’s still a good idea to do so. By registering your service dog, you’re taking the next step to validate their importance. Registration allows you more privacy, as people are less likely to inquire into your background and medical history. 

And because there are unscrupulous people who have fraudulent service animals, the public may have issues trusting the legitimacy of a service animal. Registering your animal provides immediate proof and a simple way to communicate your need for the animal. It also helps to dissuade fraudulent owners from posing their dogs as service animals. By registering your service animal, you are helping to rebuild the public’s respect and trust. 

Colorado Statute

Colorado takes misrepresentation of service animals seriously. Owners who call their pet falsely a service animal may receive a fine anywhere from $50 to $500. 

Colorado Service Dog News

Be mindful when looking for a trained service dog or when outsourcing training. Some training sites may not train the dog sufficiently, which can lead to behavioral problems and dangerous situations. In 2017, a service dog training company was found to have skipped vital portions of the training program, leading to behavioral issues in their service dogs.