How to Register Your Dog as a Service Dog in Colorado
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.
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 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.