Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

What you need to know about having a Service Dog Certificate 

Do you feel that having a service dog can help you with an emotional, mental or physical disability? Service dogs play an important role for people in need. However, you may have heard that service dogs can run upwards of $30,000! This is more than most people can afford. The good news is you can get a service dog without being rich.

In this informational post, we are going to cover some helpful tips on service dog and service dog laws. This includes tips on adopting your dog from a shelter or local rescue, what the dog needs to have to be considered a service dog, and how to get your canine a service dog certificate.

Where Can I Get a Service Dog?

 As we mentioned earlier, service dogs that have been bred, born and raised/trained to be in this field can be unaffordable and unreasonable for most people. But on the upside, they will come fully able to do the specific tasks you require from the service dog.

But what if you can’t afford these exorbitant fees?

You do have other options such as adopting a dog from your local shelter or rescue.

Why adopt a dog from a rescue or shelter?

Saving their life can save your life. Adopting a dog from your local shelter and rescue will provide you the feeling of knowing you are rescuing a life. The dog will know it too and provide you with unconditional love and affection. Adopting a dog from your local rescue or shelter are not only much less costly, but most have already been tested for illnesses, up-to-date on their vaccinations and (if old enough) have been spayed or neutered. Non-pure breed dogs are less prone to disease and genetic issues. Once you have trained your service dog, you will have a close connection that you will want to have for years and years.

What Should I Look for in a Potential Service Dog?

Since the point of having a service dog is to help an individual with daily life, this dog will have to be highly trained to be out in public places. With this in mind, the characteristics to look for in a potential service dog are;

Calm temperament Willingness to be handled and eager to please Acceptance of strangers but alert of surroundings Willingness to be groomed Non-reactive to the business around them Motivated by treats or praise

Can I Train My Own Service Dog?

Yes! Once you have found a potential service dog, you have the options of either training it yourself or enlisting the help of a professional trainer. Training your service dog yourself is not as intimidating as it may seem at first! In addition, if you train your service dog yourself you have a deeper and more meaningful connection.

The first training your puppy or dog will require is the basic obedience. This includes sit, stay, down, and wait. Once your canine has these skills in place, then the training becomes more specific to your own needs.

How Long Does It Take to Train a Service Dog?

Each dog is different. Some dogs require 6 months of training while others can pick up new skills and tasks within a few weeks. The ADA Service Dog guidelines do not include mandatory training time. As long as your dog is well behaved in public and is trained to assist you with your disability, they can be considered your service dog(s). Once your service dog is able to help assist with your disability, you are able to take them into public places. Public places include restaurants, hotels, airlines, parks, beaches, and even your office.

ADA Service Dog Registry Requirements

Unfortunately, there are some people who may attempt pass off their untrained pet as a service dog. For this reason, airlines, restaurants, apartment managers/owners and other business have the right to enquire about what tasks your service dog provides for you and many will ask to see your service dog certificate.

Although, you may not necessarily need a service dog certificate as the ADA does not require this, having one helps you legitimize your need for one. This is also extremely beneficial if your disability is not clearly identifiable by the general public (ie you’re not in a wheelchair etc.). In addition, this will also help staff or government employees from discriminating against you accidentally. Unfortuantely, Service Dog rights are not part of standardize training.

Once your dog is fully trained, your next step will be to register your service dog and obtain a service dog certificate.

If you are not ready to train your dog to become a service dog, you may be interested in certifying your dog to become an Emotional Support Animal. Emotional Support Animals are Federally protected and can live with you in ‘no-pet’ housing and fly with you inside the airplane cabin. Emotional Support Animals do not have to be specially trained, unlike service dogs.  For more information on Emotional Support Animals, here is a helpful article.

A Service Dog Certificate Makes Life a Bit Easier

Once your dog is fully trained to be in service, it’s well worth your time, money and effort to get a service dog certificate. Not every business or person may be as willing to accept your canine as a service dog, so having a physical custom service dog identification card or a digital copy on your phone, will save you time, stress, and frustration.

Having a service dog certificate just makes life a bit easier…

 

Traveling can be an ordeal for anyone but when you are traveling with a service dog, it can be nearly overwhelming. While the truth of the matter is that there are only 2 questions that you should potentially be asked legally, the reality is that you may face some serious obstacles when traveling with your service dog. This is in large part because many people are unaware of the role a service dog plays and unfortunately, the common misconception that all disabilities are visible. That doesn’t mean that you have to stay home all the time, but it does mean you should know your rights and be ready to defend them if the need should ever arise. Registration of your service dog can help with alleviating the pain of having to explain your need for an assistance animal.

Service Dog Registration Rights

Let’s take a look at some steps you can take to make these problems easier to overcome and help alleviate some of the stress.

First, let’s look at those 2 questions. They are as follows:

Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? What task or work has the dog been trained to perform?

You do not have to disclose anything about your medical condition or diagnosis. This is confidential medical information and not required to be disclosed to employees at restaurants, airlines, or any other place you may travel with your companion.

Although it is not required, you may aid in the ease of acceptance of your service dog if you make sure he or she included in a service dog registry. Another great step is to make sure your dog is well identified. This can be done with the aid of vests or certificates and by entering your information on a service dog registration that clearly states your dog is a service dog. All of these make it clear even from a distance and despite appearances that your dog is not a pet, it is a working animal. You can also carry a service dog identification card that shows your dog is a registered service animal and present it when asked.

Presenting your Service Dog Identification Card

Once you present employees with identification for your service dog, they will typically stop harassing you. However , even if you take every possible step to ease the travel experience, you may still come across those who are uninformed and unwilling to accept your service dog. When this happens, you have no other option but to stand up for your rights and defend the use of your animal in that location. Of course, this is never the most ideal and pleasant situation so it is left here as a last resort only. If the issue is with staff, ask to speak with management, if the issue is with management, ask for the top person. Don’t be afraid to stand your ground even if a threat is made to call the police. In fact, the calling or arrival of law enforcement will usually resolve your issue.

Of course everyone hopes they will never encounter a problem, but it is nice to know what to do if an issue arises. Traveling with a service dog can have its disadvantages especially when dealing with people who are not familiar with the work these types of animals do. Knowing your rights, being proactive in making sure your helper is on ServiceDogCertifications.org, and having identification ready are all ways to make travel as simple and hassle free as possible. Try to remember that most opposition you run into is more likely to be about a lack of understanding than a real problem with your service dog. This is a great time to educate the general public on the important role these dogs play in your world and the lives of so many others with disabilities both seen and unseen.

Register your Service Dog here with Service Dog Certifications. 

It’s travel season and Hawaii is the perfect destination for the summer. Kids are out of school, the weather is warm, and the tropical paradise known as Hawaii is a tourist destination fit for everyone. Even dogs! This blog post will give you some guidelines and information on bringing your pet to the most traveled vacation destination in North America. Make sure to read up on our previous post and get tips and more information about flying with your dog.

Hawaii has strict guidelines when it comes to bringing animals into the state and the ones that do not have proper documentation could be quarantined for months with the cost shouldered by the animal’s owner. However, the state extends consideration for people with special needs or disabilities who will need to travel with a pet companion. Remember to follow the guidelines and contact your local airline for any additional requirements for flying with your animal.

Service Dogs Flying to Hawaii

Individuals with service dogs will have to enter Hawaii through Oahu, where all animal inspections are facilitated, so make sure to have transfer arrangements if you need to be in another Hawaiian destination. However, in some cases, inspection may be facilitated at the Honolulu International Airport but only on specific times, per the Hawaii Animal Industry Division. For this to happen, arrangements should be made ahead of your travel plans.

Requirements for Traveling to Hawaii with your Dog

As with all other pets coming to Hawaii, your service dog, regardless if it’s large or small, is also required to submit the following:

A documentation that the dog has been vaccinated and is up-to-date on these vaccinations. Proof that the dog has passed a rabies test, which must be done before traveling to Hawaii. Inquire from your veterinarian about this. Implantation of an electronic microchip, which you can also inquire from the vet. Health certificate from the vet to attest that the dog has been treated for ticks. Disclosure of tasks expected of the service dog for the disabled or person with special needs.

A possible problem with large service dogs might occur with the airline itself, especially if you’re traveling via Hawaiian Airlines. According to their website, “Service animals must be small enough and confined to sit in the lap of a Qualified Individual with a Disability or in the space under the seat without invading another passenger’s seat area.” In this case, you can contact the airline and inform them about your large dog for a more suitable arrangement. The airline can provide the seat next to yours for the pet or book you at a different flight.

Puppies and Kittens Traveling to Hawaii

According to the State of Hawaii website, puppies and kittens are not able to meet all of the requirements for the 5-Day-Or-Less program will be quarantined for 120 days. Due to the minimum amount of time needed to prepare a puppy or kitten to meet the requirements of the 5-Day-Or-Less program, a puppy or kitten will be about 10 months of age by the time the preparations are completed.