Public Access Test

Is Your Service Dog Trained to Pass a Public Access Test?

To qualify for a service dog under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the handler must have a dog that is trained to perform a job or task for their disability. Service dogs are allowed access to public areas normally off limits to pets. Therefore, a service dog must be well-behaved in public and under the handler’s control at all times.

That means a service dog should not lunge, growl excessively or exhibit other undesirable characteristics. A fully trained service dog must be able to focus on their handler’s needs in public environments while ignoring distractions. For these reasons, service dogs should be able to pass a public access test that evaluates certain minimum competencies and skills.

Keep Track of Your Service Dog Training

To prepare your service dog to pass a public access test, you can work with a professional trainer or train your dog yourself. If you choose to be the trainer, a Service Dog Training Log can be an invaluable part of the process. A training log will help you keep track of your dog’s progress. It also serves as a record of the many hours of effort placed into training your service dog.

Start your training by downloading this free sample Service Dog Training Log.

Download Training Log Here

Start your training by downloading this free sample Service Dog Training Log.

Download Training Log Here

Show the World Your Service Dog Can Pass a Public Access Test

The Handler-Certified Public Access Test Certificate lets others know that your service dog is capable of accompanying you in public. This self-certification is an optional but valuable asset to any proud service dog owner. You can certify that your service dog has the skills required to be in public and also demonstrates you have put great care in training your service dog to be your assistant anywhere.

Get your Handler-Certified Public Access Test Certificate to proudly show that your service dog is fully trained and ready to face the public.

Certify Public Access Test Now

Certify Public
Access Test Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers about Service Dog Public Access Tests

  • What are the requirements to qualify for a service dog?

    To qualify for a service dog, the handler must need a service dog to perform a job or task relating to their physical or mental health disability. A service dog must be well-trained and be able to perform its duties in public without becoming distracted or exhibiting undesirable behaviors.

    There is no documentation or accessories required for service dogs. However, service dog owners commonly use paraphernalia like vests, ID cards, tags, and certificates to help signal to others that their dog is a working animal and not an ordinary pet.

  • What is a public access test?

    A public access test measures whether a dog has mastered the training requirements necessary to be taken into a public space. There are different standards from various organizations regarding public access standards, but they all test whether a service dog has been appropriately trained to accompany their handler in various public environments.

  • What public access skills should a service dog have?

    A service dog should be able to pass certain minimum requirements to earn public access rights. Service dog owners should be confident that their dog can access public areas occupied by other people and animals and be well-behaved and focused on their job.

    A public access test can check for many skills. For example, a public access test can evaluate whether a dog can focus on its task and not interact with other people unless instructed to do so, can avoid sniffing food or other items in a store, safely enter and exit buildings in a controlled manner, or remain focused if touched by strangers.

  • How can third parties verify if my dog has passed a public access test?

    To verify a service dog, third parties such as venue staff can ask two questions under the ADA in situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

    Third parties are not allowed to ask for documentation, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability. However, many service dog owners rely on items like vests, ID cards, and certificates as a convenient way to signal their service dog’s status. A public access test certificate can be one way to demonstrate that a service dog has undergone public access training.

  • How can I train a service dog to pass a public access test?

    The ADA allows service dog owners to train their dogs themselves or with the assistance of a professional trainer. When self-training, keeping a training log to record the service dog’s progress can be helpful.

    While many service dog owners successfully self-train their dogs, the assistance of a professional trainer or training organization is strongly recommended for inexperienced dog trainers.