Did you know….?
There is no Federally recognized certification, identification, or registration for Service Dogs. The online registries, certificates, and fancy laminated cards you may have seen are just unscrupulous companies profiting from people’s misconceptions.
- Some states however, offer free registration to trained Service Dog teams, in order to assist in any access disputes or other discrimination incidents.
- Dogs that are from training programs often get certificates that they have completed that program. It does not automatically infer Service Dog status to a dog legally.
- While it is perfectly legal to train one’s own pet to become a Service Dog, it is often not ideal. Very few dogs have the correct temperament for the work, and very few owners have the skills, time, and ability to fully train and condition a Service Dog themselves. Most owners who choose to train their own dog, only do so with the help of one or many professionals who help with assessments (health checks, temperament evaluations, training progress), fine tuning, initiating new skills, fully conditioning public access and task work, as well as a great deal of behavioral shaping along the way.
- If a dog is accompanying a person who is not disabled, then by legal definition the dog CANNOT be labeled, nor is it a Service Dog.
- There are only two questions that a business may ask a person with a dog if their dog’s purpose is not apparent; 1) Is this a Service Dog? and 2) What tasks or work is it trained to perform?
- A disabled person is under no obligation to answer questions about themselves or their disability from the general public. Not only is it rude to inquire about such personal information from a stranger, but if persistent, can be considered harassment. Most states protect Service Dog handlers from such harassment by grouping them in the same set of laws that protect the working dogs in law enforcement.
To learn more about Service Dogs, please feel free to contact me.