Posts Tagged ‘service dog certification’

Service Dog Certification Guide

In order to qualify your dog as a service dog, you will have to train your dog to provide a service or task for your disability. Certified service dogs are allowed access everywhere their handler is allowed access. Unfortunately, a landlord or an employee at a store may choose to ask if your Service Dog is certified. If they do, it is important that you understand Service Dog rights so you are not denied housing rights or public access. Although the ADA states that they are not allowed to ask for registration proof, what are your options if they do?

Step #1  – Do You Qualify For a Service Dog?

Service dogs can help people with many different types of disabilities.

Service Dogs are clearly defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act. A Service Animal is a dog or a miniature horse that is specifically trained to perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The disabilities may include physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.

If your disabilities meet the ADA’s definition, you can qualify for a legitimate Service Dog. You are not required to show your landlord a doctor’s note. You are required to inform your landlord how your Service Dog aids with your disability.

Step #2 – Training your Service Dog to Aid in your Physical Disability

You can train your own dog to be a service dog.

Under the ADA there are several impairments that would qualify you for a Service Dog certification. Below are a few examples but they are not a catch-all. Each person’s disability is different so the assistance they need from their Service Dog will be unique as well.

The tasks performed by Service Dog may include: 1). Guide Dog – provides guiding service for the visually impaired 2). Hearing Dog – trained to alert the person to sounds or alarms 3). Seizure Response Dog – alerts to oncoming seizure or stands over the person during an episode 4). Sensory Signal Dog – alerts the autistic person to repetitive movements (such as hand flapping) providing a distraction

Although not specifically listed under the ADA, a Service Dog would be useful to those with limited mobility. The tasks could include retrieving dropped items or those that are located further away. The assistance animal may also provide stability to those with balance issues.

Service Dogs are now also being trained to alert people with diabetes to a drop in their insulin levels. This preventative measure is especially useful for children that may not be as in tune with their condition.

Step #3 – Training your Service Dog to Aid in your Emotional Disability

Starting training at a young age will help weed out bad habits.

People who suffer from certain types of mental disabilities can also qualify for a Service Dog under the ADA’s definition. These canines are listed as Psychiatric Service Dogs, which have been specially trained to detect and lessen the effects of psychiatric episodes.

The tasks performed by Psychiatric Service Dog may include:

●      1). Reminding the handler to take medicine and bringing the medicine box to their handler

●      2). Providing safety checks/room searches, turning on lights and creating a barrier for PTSD patients

●      3). Interrupting anxiety attacks by persons with anxiety caused in busy social setting such as a shopping mall

●      4). Keeping disoriented individuals from danger through tactic stimulation such as licking of the face or laying across their body

While there are other types of assistance animals such as those used in therapy work and those that provide comfort (Emotional Support Animals) they are not technically considered Service Animals under the ADA definition.

An Emotional Support Animal can certainly help those that suffer from depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues; however, they are not given the full access rights the Service Dog is allowed.

Step #4 – Good Citizen Training For Service Dogs

A good dog citizen knows to stay calm in public and will listen to their handlers.

As mentioned above, the Service Dog can be trained to perform a host of tasks. The canine can be taught by the individual with the disability or by a professional. In addition to specific task-oriented training, a service dog should also be well behaved at all times. You can either train your service yourself or seek support from a local trainer.

Certification of the Service Dog

It is not necessary by law to register your Service Dog. However, many people choose to register their Service Dog and get their certification papers.

A certified Service Dog will be entered into a global database. They should be provided with a Service Dog vest to wear and custom Service Dog ID license. Depending on what area of the world you live in, you may also be required to purchase a dog license, just as any other pet owner would have to do.

Having the proper identification of your person and your Service Dog will cut down on the hassle you may run into with businesses, housing, and public transportation.

Love of a Service Dog Works

Don’t live another day struggling with a disability when there’s a Service Dog waiting to help you. These specially trained canines are giving back freedom and independence to disabled individuals all over the globe. Ask your medical health professional if a Service Dog could work for you, too.

Fight Service Dog Fraud – Defend Your Rights as a Service Dog Handler

Dogs are a man’s or woman’s best friend. We have trained them for generations to help us hunt, farm, and raise livestock. Now that most of us do not have farms or hunt for food, our dogs are here to support us in different ways.

You can have a legitimate certified Service Dog even if you are not blind or wheelchair-bound. If you suffer from a disability, you are legally qualified to have a service dog. Below are the steps to legitimately certify your service dog.

Step #1 – Train Your Dog, No Shaming Allowed

Admitting to yourself that you could benefit from having a service dog can be the hardest step. Facing your own disability and admitting you need support can make you feel weak. This is not true. Standing up for yourself and seeking self-care is an essential part of growing and healing.

Training your dog to perform tasks for your disability is the first step. To learn more about how to make your dog a service dog, read this post.

Once you have trained your service dog, remember to travel with your certified Service Dog with confidence and be proud of your accomplishment. Training your dog to provide a service for you will create a stronger bond between you and your furry companion.

Step #2 – Legal Education, Understanding Service Dog Laws

Service Dog rights are clearly defined by the ADA. However, there are still a few facts that people commonly get wrong.

You have rights when it comes to owning a legitimate service dog.

Fact or Fiction? #1 – Service Dogs require a doctor’s note.

FICTION… – Service Dogs do NOT require a doctor’s note.

Fact or fiction? #2 – Service Dogs cannot be Pitbulls or large dogs such as Dobermans or Great Danes. Only Golden Retrievers can be service dogs.

FICTION… – There are no breed, weight, or age requirements for Service Dogs. As long as the dog is well trained and can perform a task that aids in their handler’s disability, they can be considered a service dog.

Fact or Fiction? #3 – Landlords cannot charge a pet deposit for a service dog or deny them housing access.

FACT! – Service dogs have public access rights to all public places including housing. A Service Dog is NOT a pet and is categorized as a medical tool.

Step #3 – Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the most nervous parts of having a Service Dog is traveling with them in public. Training your Service Dog at home can be much easier since you are in a comfortable environment and your Service Dog has fewer distractions. Below are tips on how to practice training with your service dog.

Tip #1 – Train your service dog at home

Making sure you and your service dog are speaking the same language is key. Remember, your dog does not actually understand English. They associate the sound you are making with the task that they understand you would like them to perform. Making sure you and your service dog are communicating clearly is the first step to having a strong relationship.

Tip#2 – Train your service dog at a park

After you and your service dog are speaking the same language, it is important to start practicing and training in public places that allow for dogs, such as a park. Parks are excellent places to train your service dog since this space allows for dogs, there are plenty of distractions for your dog to overcome, and it is a beautiful way to spend an afternoon!

Tip #3 – Train your service dog at public places that are service dog-friendly

Although every place in the US is required to grant access to service dogs, some places will refuse to follow the law. Once you are confident in traveling with your service dog, we recommend standing up for your rights. We will discuss this in more depth later in this post. However, when you are first training your service dog, we recommend only exposing yourself to kind and safe environments.

A good way to practice traveling with your service dog is to call a restaurant with an open patio. Inform them you are traveling with your service dog and request that they reserve a table in the corner for you. You can have your service dog practice sitting under the table and waiting patiently for you. They will experience various distractions such as food and people wanting to pet them. Make sure you keep control of your service dog so both of you can gain confidence.

Step #4 – Legitimate Service Dog Certification

The ADA only allows employees and others to ask you two questions regarding your service dog.

Question #1 – Is that a service dog? Places can only ask you this question if it is not clear that your dog is a service dog. If your Service Dog is wearing a service dog vest, they should not need to ask you this question.

Question #2 – What task does your service dog provide for you. You can inform them the specific task your Service Dog provides for you and show them your Legitimate Service Dog Certification. They are not allowed to ask you to show them the task or ask specifically about your disability.

Step #5 – Advocacy for Service Dog Rights

Every service dog handler should become a Service Dog Rights Advocate. Too often we have Service Dog handlers accusing others of not being “legitimate” service dog handlers. This is discrimination and self-hate. Please understand that people are fighting disabilities that you may not be aware of. They have challenges in their lives that make having a Service Dog a bright light for them. Shining doubt on other Service Dog handlers is not right and we advocate against such emotional cruelty. Please be kind to others.

Steps to properly certify your Service Dog

Service dogs are not just for those folks that suffer from blindness. These specifically trained canines are now finding their way into the “workforce” to help those with other physical or mental disabilities. Understanding how to officially certify your service dog is an important first step.

Adopt a dog with a calm temperament and energy level Train your dog to perform a task to aid with your disability Certify your service dog with Service Dog Certifications Live your life to the fullest

To learn more about service dogs, continue reading. We will also cover a few basic questions regarding Service Dogs and clarify some common misconceptions.

Question #1  – What is a Service Dog?

Unlike an emotional support animal (ESA), the Service Dog is a highly trained canine that provides assistance to those people who suffer from any number of conditions. These conditions can include (but are not limited to) visual and hearing impairments, seizure disorder, diabetes, mobility impairment, and mental illnesses such as PTSD.

Question #2 – What Tasks Do Service Dogs Provide?

A Service Dog can be trained in several different disciplines. Here are 5 of the most commonly taught tasks that the Service Dog is capable of performing.

Service Dog Tasks for PTSD – Reminding the handler to take medications, interrupting repetitive behaviors, room search, guiding the handler from a stressful situation. Service Dog Tasks for Vision Impairment – Guiding the handler, retrieving objects, obstacle avoidance, finding an exit from a room. Service Dog Tasks for Hearing Impairment –Alerting to alarms, doorbells and distant sounds, alerting to people approaching from behind and visitors at the door, alerting to the ring of the telephone. Service Dog Tasks for Hypoglycemia/Diabetes – alerting the person to a drop in blood sugar, seeking out another human in case of handler’s collapse, retrieving medications. Service Dog Tasks for Depression – retrieve medications, bring an emergency phone during a crisis, provide balance support (needed with some treatment medications) provide unconditional comfort/support. Question #3 – How to Train A Service Dog

Some people try to pass off their family pet as a Service Dog. This can pose a problem for those who really need the animal. For this reason, there are steps to take to have a legitimate Service Dog. The most important step is proper training. Do not be fooled into thinking you have to train your dog with expensive trainers. You are legally allowed to train your service dog yourself.

The following are the steps involved to train a service dog successfully:

Step #1 – Adopt a Dog with a calm temperament and energy level

If you have the means, you can adopt a Service Dog that has been specifically trained for your condition. These can be pricey, but you are guaranteed that the canine will be exactly what you need.

If you do not have an extra $20,000, it does not mean you cannot have a service dog. If you decide to adopt a dog and train it yourself, then be sure to look for a dog over 4 months old and has a good temperament. This includes being eager to learn/please, having a calm nature, and exhibiting non-aggressive behaviors. This will make training your dog a much easier process.

Step # 2 – Training your dog to perform a task to aid with your disability

Training your dog to perform the tasks you need him to do will take practice and patience. Be sure to always use positive reinforcement when training your canine and seek out professional help periodically if needed. There are also many great service dog training tips online.

A part of your dog’s training will be to practice his skills out in public. Start with those areas that allow dogs so you can focus on training your dog in public. Places like public parks or outdoor shopping centers are great places to allow your dog to be comfortable around people and new locations.

Step # 3 – Register your certified service dog

Once your assistance dog is fully trained, it’s time to register him. Although registering your service dog is not required by law, many service dog handlers find this convenient when traveling with their service dog. This is especially true if your disability is not visible.  You may order a proper vest, Service Dog ID, and certificate. Some handlers will also order an ID holder, so their service dog certification is visible at all times when traveling with their service dog.

Step # 4 – Live Your Life

Now that your Service Dog is there to help you with your disability, you can get back to living your life. There’s no shame in having an assistance animal, so go boldly into the world knowing your Service Dog has you covered.

Question #4 – Where Can my Certified Service Dog Go?

Service Dogs are allowed anywhere their handler is allowed; this includes restaurants, movie theaters, retail stores, and markets. However, there are some areas where your Service Dog may be denied access. These include:

Treatment area of an ambulance Hospital ICU or other areas where special clothing is required Worship services in a church Military bases Private clubs Question #5 – What Do I Do If My Certified Service Dog is Denied Access?

Unfortunately, it does happen. You may be denied access to some areas by uninformed people. However, there are ways to handle the situation.

First, remain calm and explain that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you have a right to your service dog and bring it into public areas.

Second, if you have a certificate from your service dog registration organization, show the person to prove your dog is legitimate.

Third, ask to see a manager/owner of the establishment. For a larger business, you may want to do a quick search on your phone for a customer service department. Explain the situation to whomever you decide to discuss this matter with in a calm manner.

Fourth, if you are still denied access, you can file an official ADA complaint with the US Department of Justice.

Before you leave the establishment, it’s always a good idea to ask for any witnesses who may want to give a statement in regards to your denial.

Service Dogs Are There For You!

Understanding how to certify your service dog is the first step. Your Service Dog is on duty 24-7 making sure you can live a normal life. If you believe you or a loved one could benefit from the help of a Service Dog, learn more about service dog laws.