Federal law stipulates that a Service Animal is "any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability" and that a Service Dog teams are allowed to enter areas where the public is normally allowed to go. However, a Service Dog team's civil rights may be occasionally challenged by well-meaning people trying to keep pets out of the establishment. While stressful, these challenges are typically easy to handle. Sometimes, though, a little more work is required.
Service Dogs help people with a wide range of disabilities to live fuller, more independent lives. Some disabilities are visible, such as a mobility impairment, whereas others, like many neurological or psychiatric disabilities, are "invisible," and cannot simply be seen. Read on to learn about the types of disabilities Service Dogs assist with!
“Oh, how cute, look at that face! Sooo adooorable.” For the disabled who use small service dogs, these endearments are unfortunately not met with the appreciative responses one might expect from a small dog owner. To a Service Dog owner their small and often ‘height-challenged’ wee ones are far from being “just another pretty face.”
It’s that time of year again, back to school! As you are hurrying around getting all of your school supplies in order and planning for the year ahead, make sure that you spend some time making sure your Service Dog is all set-up for the new school year as well.
When it comes to Service Dogs or Service Dogs in Training with public access, there are definite things Service Dogs in public should and should not do. Learn more about how well-trained Service Dogs should appear and what U.S. Service Dog law says about dogs who don't quite possess the skills necessary to safely work in public
The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) allows two types of animals to serve as Service Animals: dogs and miniature horses. Read on to learn more about mini horses as Service Animals! Miniature horses are small, sturdy horses ranging in size from 26" to 38" tall. They can weigh 55 to 200 pounds, and they come in a variety of colors and patterns. These hardworking little animals are easy to keep and maintain. Minis possess a sweet-natured and docile, and many showcase high levels of intelligence. What Type of Service Do Miniature Horses Provide? Miniature horses are best known for their work as guide animals, but they also make excellent mobility assistance animals. They've been experimentally used for guide work since 1999 with outstanding results. Mini horses are less common mobility Service Animals than dogs, but for a variety of reasons, they're an excellent candidate. Guide Horses, the premier training organization of miniature horses as Service Animals, notes "In early experiments, Guide Horses have shown great promise as a mobility option, and people who have tried Guide Horses report that the Guide Horses perform exceptionally well at keeping their person safe." Other Working Jobs Miniature Horses Do Miniature Horses also commonly work as therapy animals, as they're very gentle, interactive, and intuitive. The best known mini horse animal assisted therpay program in the U.S. is Gentle Carousel Therapy Horses. Teams of tiny Gentle Carousel horses visit over 25,000 adults and children each year inside hospitals, hospice programs, and with families, veterans and first responders who have experienced traumatic events. Finally, there's been some exploration into utilizing mini horses in search and rescue. Air Scenting Horses has successfully trained at least one mini to the standards required by the National Association For Search and Rescue for human remains detection. Experts have trained many full sized horses for detection jobs, and miniature horses possess many of the same traits. Requirements for Mini Horses as Service Animals Like any Service Animal, miniature horses must possess a sound temperament and good structure before being considered for service work. They must be individually trained to meet their person's needs, and their person must be considered disabled as defined by U.S. federal law. Miniature Horses who work in public require extensive desensitization so they're able to work calmly through distractions. Horses can be naturally spooky, so socialization ranks high on the list of requirements. In addition to the public access training, the mini horse requires house training and task training. What
We've all seen a Service or Assistance Dog walking around a store or restaurant wearing a vest or jacket. Most people assume all Service Dogs wear vests, but that's not true. Federal law doesn't even require Service Dogs to wear a vest and yet, almost all of them do. Keep reading to find out why! Service Dog Vests For Identification First and foremost, most Service Dogs wear a vest for identification purposes. A Service Dog's vest is chock full of information. Each team has different needs, so vests are often unique, but common information includes: Where the dog comes from, if they're program trained ("Four Paws For Ability") Any sponsors, if the team fundraised for the Service Dog Dog's name, if the handler feels like sharing Type of Service Dog ("Medical Assistance Dog") Service Dog Vests For Function Many teams use their Service Dog's vest to carry important documentation or vaccinations records, medication, or husbandry items like cleanup bags or treats. Allergen Alert Dog teams often have an epi-pen or other lifesaving medication in a pouch. Mobility teams often have vests that allow forward pulling momentum assistance or counterbalance. Service Dog Vests For Communication Most Service Dog vests communicate valuable, important, or helpful information. Many handlers, especially those who are nonverbal or who have social anxiety, rely on their patches to communicate for them. Most teams find that patches with legal information on them reduce access challenges. Type of interactions with the dog allowed ("No Talk, No Touch, No Eye Contact") Legal rights ("Access Required by Federal Law") Rules or guidelines for emergency interactions ("In Event of Emergency, Do Not Separate Dog From Handler") Anything else the handler or program deems necessary Instructions for assisting handler ("Epipen in Pouch") Service Dog Vests For Self-Expression Service Dog vests can be custom-made or off the shelf. They're available in thousands of colors, color combinations, patterns, designs, and fits. There's a limitless number of patches, including fandom or themed Service Dog patches. Lots of teams, especially owner-trainer Service Dog teams, value unique, funny, or quippy patches. Some collect patches that say things like, "I'm a Service Dog, not a magical unicorn!" or "I'm a Patronus." A Service Dog's vest offers a great avenue for self-expression. Some teams have several vests for a variety of purposes.
Everyone wants their puppy to housetrain quickly. For Service Dogs in Training, progression relies on housetraining. Until an SDiT has reliable potty habits, public access training often proves difficult or impossible. If you're trying to make quick progress with potty training, make sure you're not making these common mistakes. You're Not Using a Schedule When a puppy gets up at the same time every day, eats on a schedule, and goes out on a schedule, housetraining becomes much easier. Not only can you predict when the puppy needs to go outside, but the puppy learns that an opportunity to go out happens regularly and they start to wait for it. Set up a schedule for your Service Dog in Training as soon as possible. Your puppy should come out of the crate and go to bed at roughly the same time every day. Meals and training sessions should occur at regular times. Puppies need daily exercise, grooming, and interaction, so pencil those in, too. You're Not Keeping Them Focused Puppies enjoy playing. If you simply put a puppy outdoors and then bring them in, oftentimes, you'll find a surprise on the floor shortly after! To prevent the "I took them out but they came inside and pottied" problem, take your puppy outside on a leash. Keep them on the leash and focused on business until they potty. Afterward, remove the leash and play. Business before play. Remember that puppies need to go outside first thing of the morning and just before bed, as well as after meals and during any changes in activity. You're Not Controlling Intake Fee feeding a puppy and leaving water down all the time is one of the top causes of house training issues. Feed your puppy on a schedule. What goes in must come out, so with time, you'll be able to predict when your puppy needs to go out. Pick up all water 2-3 hours before bed so your puppy has plenty of time to go potty before going to sleep for the night. Very young puppies might need an extra trip outdoors during the night, but older puppies are more than capable of sleeping through the night.
Brace and Mobility Support Dogs are a type of Service Dog trained to provide their disabled handler with assistance moving from place to place. This invaluable service is matched only by these dogs’ ability to also help with other chores and tasks, like opening doors or retrieving dropped items. Due to the unique nature of their work, though, Brace and Mobility Support Dogs have special needs. Read on to learn more!
Before partnering with a Service Dog, there are several important points to consider. While thousands of individuals with a disability benefit greatly from partnering with a Service Dog, it’s not the solution for everyone. If you or a loved one is considering full-time Service Dog partnership, please ask yourself the following 5 questions before making a final decision.