Service Dog Certificate and ADA Service Dog Registry
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…