Be careful trying to pass your dog off as anything if he isn't. you will screw it up for other legit people. Emotional Support animals and therapy dogs ARE able to be discriminated against. A service dog is covered by the ADA, but therapy and emotional support animals are not. A service dog cant be certified until the dog is older. First get your CGC, then apply for Therapy then ADA service dog. My dog could not be a service dog without tons of training, they need to have NO reaction to another animal, not a good or bad NONE they can NOT react. If you dog reacts to other animals or situations, they will not be able to become a service dog.
How can I get a service animal/dog?
There are a variety of ways you can go about getting a service animal. Some organizations raise, train and place service animals, while others solely train the animal for you or assist you in training the animal yourself. Although Pet Partners does not train or place service dogs, we do maintain an extensive online directory of trainers. This directory of Service Dog Trainer Directory is a great place to start your research. This directory is not a complete list of every service dog trainer or training program, nor is it a guarantee of quality. The entry for each trainer or program includes information of what kind of dogs they train (e.g., guide, hearing, mobility, etc.) and what services they offer (e.g., train for multiple disabilities, train own animal, train handler, test and provide ID, etc.).
We also suggest you read our section on Service Animal Consumer Considerations. You must be an educated consumer when looking for a service dog.
How can I make my dog a service animal so I can take him/her everywhere I go?
The most frequent question posed to our Service Dog Resources representatives is, “How can I make my dog a service dog so that I can take him/her everywhere I go?”
The only way that a dog can be recognized as a true “service animal” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is when the following conditions are met:
The owner or handler has a documented disability as defined under the ADA, “….a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities”.
The dog (or miniature horse) must be trained to perform a task or tasks that alleviate that disability. The mere presence of the animal (for example, “s/he gives me a reason to get up every morning”) does not qualify a dog as a service animal.
The dog (or miniature horse) must not alter the environment for others. This means that s/he must be kept on a leash and under the control of the handler at all times in public, must not show signs of aggression, must be kept quiet and clean.
Unfortunately, there is considerable lack of knowledge among the public regarding the rights of the disabled. Many people believe that without a “Service Dog” vest or tag, a dog cannot be a legitimate service animal—and there are several unethical companies that profit by this ignorance. They sell these forms of identification without requiring proper proof of the level of training a dog has had, nor medical documentation of a person’s disability. If a dog does not meet all the requirements listed above, but a person represents their dog as a service animal, they are in violation of a federal law and subject to a heavy fine and/or imprisonment.
How can I get my service animal/dog certified/registered?
The ADA does not require service animals to be "certified". This type of assessment and identification is not a legal requirement under the ADA and other federal non-discrimination laws, but is preferred by some handlers. Some service dog trainers and programs evaluate the dogs they train and provide the handlers with some type of identification card.
Some trainers will test dogs they have not trained and provide the owner with identification cards. Refer to our directory of Service Animal Trainers and Training Programs and look for those that provide the service "Test and Provide ID."
Note: Delta Society’s directory of service animal trainers and training programs is not a complete list of every service dog trainer or training program, nor is it a guarantee of quality. Some areas provide a special license for service dogs. The animal licensing department in your state or county should be able to tell you the requirements for getting a special service dog tag.
How much does a service animal cost?
Trainer and acquisition fees may range from no cost to thousands of dollars. Each service animal trainer or training program sets their own fees. Some people choose to look for sponsorship for their service animal from local organizations such as businesses, churches, and civic groups. By helping sponsor a service animal, local organizations give back to their community, much like sponsoring a youth sports team. The Assistance Dog United Campaign (ADUC) raises funds in support of the assistance dog community. ADUC accepts voucher applications for new assistance dog partnerships. Vouchers are issued once a year and the decision of to whom to give the vouchers is based on disability and financial needs. Contact ADUC at [email protected]
Can I train my own dog to be a service animal?
One of the big challenges for people training service dogs is getting the dog adequately trained for public access. Not all dogs have the temperament to handle the stress of working in public. Remember that you must meet the ADA definition of having a "disability" and, to be considered a service dog, your dog must be trained to perform tasks directly related to your disability.
The Minimum Standards for Service Dogs documents the recommended characteristics and minimum set of skills required of all service dogs. The Minimum Standards also address the health and safety of the public, handler, and dog.
Refer to our directory of Service Animal Trainers and Training Programs and look under Services Provided for "Train Handler." These trainers and programs will help you train your own dog to be a service dog, if it is appropriate. Trainers and programs that do not list this service will not train your own dog.
Teamwork, A Dog Training Manual for People with Physical Disabilities, Book One: Basic Obedience and Teamwork II, A Dog Training Manual for People with Physical Disabilities (Service Exercises) (both available from Dogwise.com) are books written for people with disabilities to teach them to train their own dog to perform service dog mobility skills. Teamwork, Book One teaches basic commands such as down, down stay, wait, and leave it. Teamwork II goes into skills such as retrieve, under, brace, light pull, and others. You may also contact Dogwise.com at (800) 776-2662.
Assistance Dogs International has developed a Public Access Test that reflects what they feel a service dog team should know to be safe in public.
How do I find out what my state's laws are regarding service animals?
Laws vary from state to state. Some are in compliance with federal laws, and some are not. Many have been recently revised or are in the process of revision. Find out the current provisions of state laws by contacting your state Attorney General's office. Since the language in state laws varies, you might have to explain that you want the laws that apply to service dogs - guide dogs, hearing dogs, etc. Specify if you need laws that apply to particular situations, such as housing, transportation, etc. When state or local laws conflict with federal laws, the law that provides greater protection for the person with the disability is the law that takes precedence.