Rules exist for a reason and when it comes to Service Dogs and Service Dog law, too many people have come to view them more as “guidelines.” Whether it’s someone who wishes they could take their dog everywhere or someone who has chosen to break the law by presenting their pet as a fake Service Dog, both actions cause damage and harm to the Service Dog and disabled community.
Assistance Dogs International (ADI) publishes standards for Service Dog training, behavior, ethics, organizations, programs, trainers, handlers, and clients. They also define standards of behavior and training for Guide Dogs, Hearing Dogs, and Service Dogs for veterans. Read on to learn more about ADI's Service Dog standards. As of November 2018, 140 programs worldwide held ADI accreditation. Additionally, dozens of unaccredited Service Dog training organizations, programs, and individual trainers claim adherence to Assistance Dog International's standards. Please note that any Service Dog organization claiming adherence to ADI standards without actual ADI accreditation has not been evaluated by Assistance Dogs International for adherence to standards. Per the Assistance Dogs International website, "ADI Standards have become the benchmarks to measure excellence in the Assistance Dog industry. Assistance Dog users trust their lives and safety to their dogs so everything related to the training of both the dogs and people must meet extraordinary criteria." When an organization or trainer says a dog meets "industry standard" expectations, most often, they're referring to the ADI standards. Sometimes, though, they may be referring to the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP). The IAADP also produces regularly utilized standards for Service Dog training and behavior. In a nutshell, the ADI standards outline expectations for a training program that is professional, ethical humane, comprehensive, and reliable. Assistance Dogs International expects programs to select, screen, train, and place dogs suitable for Service Dog work. These dogs should be of sound mind and sound body, with specific, well-trained skills and behaviors. Once trained, the Service Dogs should be carefully matched with their future partner. Both Service Dog and handler should undergo extensive team training prior to solo work. They should receive support from the placement organization throughout the team's working life. ADI Minimum Standards and Ethics All standards cited below come directly from Assistance Dogs International's document "ADI Minimum Standards and Ethics." That document can be referenced on the ADI website. We have changed the order of the sections contained in ADI's document for easier grouping. We've placed ethics and standards for programs, clients, and partners at the top, with standards for each type of Service Dog at the bottom. ADI Ethics For Dogs ADI believes that any dog the member organizations trains to become an Assistance Dog has a right to a quality life. Therefore, the ethical use of an Assistance Dog must incorporate the following criteria: 1. An Assistance Dog must be temperamentally screened for emotional soundness and working ability. 2.