Unscrupulous and powerful pet owners find yet another way to hack the system. By trying to take their dogs everywhere, they pretend that their dogs are certified service dogs. Unfortunately, the rise of fake service/assistance dogs is causing abuse of real service dogs and their disabled companions.
According to the ADA Requirements, service animals are defined as “dogs individually trained to perform tasks or to perform tasks for persons with disabilities. Examples of such tasks or tasks include guiding the blind, alerting.” deaf, pulling a wheelchair. , warning.” and protecting someone suffering from epilepsy, reminding someone with mental illness to take prescribed medication, comforting someone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during anxiety, or performs other duties”.
For your dog to be a true ADA service dog, you and the dog must meet three requirements according to the federal service dog regulations:
1. You must be legally disabled.
2. The dog must be trained to do the work specific to that disability that you cannot do on your own.
3. The dog must have social training and good manners to a degree above and beyond most dogs.
Putting a “working” coat over your untrained pooch and calling him an obedience service dog is wrong. Under the ADA, pets that serve only to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals. While making you feel vulnerable or emotionally supported is an attractive benefit, it is not a trained profession; therefore, your dog cannot be a service dog. However, if your dog is trained to alert you to anxiety attacks from PTSD, then it may meet the ADA service dog requirements.
What’s the problem with sneaking your Service Dog vs Emotional Support Dog? He’s cute, he’s a great animal, and he’s generally polite, right? In most cases, you may be right. However, a dog in service-specific training has substantial preparation under the requirements of a strong therapy dog; not only because of their actual work but also because of the variety of situations they may encounter. If your dog has any reaction to approaching strangers, a child’s screaming, selling perhaps falling to the ground, or any number of those situations unexpected, you put your dog in a situation that makes real service dogs look bad.
Another issue is that businesses are only allowed to ask two questions of someone with a trained service dog:
1. Is a dog a service animal needed because of a disability?
2. What is the dog trained to do?
Staff cannot ask about a person’s disabilities, require medical documentation, an assistance dog card, or dog training credentials. Unfortunately, if you falsely answer “Yes” to all of these questions and your fake service dog misbehaves, businesses begin to question the validity of the service dog team. This creates a domino effect involving the next person who correctly answers “Yes” to all questions because they have a dog with a valid service certificate.
If you have a legally recognized disability and want your dog to meet the requirements of the ADA, all is not lost. There are many steps for dogs to become legal service animals but it is possible. Unless you have extensive dog training experience, it is best to hire a professional trainer. Remember, real dogs are not pets; trained to be on duty 24/7 unless instructed otherwise. They must be trained in all situations including riding in cars and buses, climbing stairs and ladders, and waiting unattended on busy roads.
There is no doubt that service dogs are a great tool for many; by following proper training protocols, you can ensure that your service dog is ready for his or her new role. If you just want your dog to calm you down when you’re feeling a little down, make sure you have a set of pet stairs in your home or car so they can be safely there for yours in your time of need.