Many people have a vague sense of awareness that Service Dogs "help" their person and that they're allowed to be in public, but there's a lot more to Service Dog handlers and teams than meets the eye.
Service Dogs and Assistance Dogs aren’t the only dogs in the world who do amazing, life-changing work, but they are one of the few types of working dogs clearly defined and protected by United States federal law. Too many people don’t understand the differences between many types of working dogs, though, and it’s time to clear up some of the confusion.
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
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!
In early 2021, the Department of Transportation (DOT) updated Service Dog travel rules for Service Dog travel by air. In a nutshell, the new DOT Service Dog rules ban Emotional Support Animals on planes and require all Service Dog handlers to fill out two forms at least 48 hours prior to traveling. One of the new DOT Service Animal forms concerns training and behavior and the other health and wellness. For dogs joining their partner on flights longer than 8 hours, an elimination habits form will also be required. The new updates also change the definition of "Service Animal," for the purposes of flying, to include only dogs. No other species of animal, including miniature horses, will be recognized. Ideally, the new DOT rules will ensure dogs traveling in the passenger compartment of the plane are well-behaved and trained for public access. While there's a little more work required on the part of Service Dog handlers prior to flying, overall, the new process is more streamlined. All airlines will utilize the standardized DOT forms. Owner-trained teams, teams which trained under an individual trainer or organization are all treated the same Owner-trainers (people who have trained their own dog), those who have worked with a private trainer or organization-trained dogs will utilize the same form. The forms do require the name of a trainer, however if you've trained your dog yourself or if you no longer have contact with the trainer who originally worked with you (which is extremely common) you may use your own name or that of another trainer as long as you and your animal can meet Service Dog Standards. Some airlines, like American Airlines, allow electronic submission of the forms, whereas others require the forms to be emailed or brought to the desk. Copies of the 2021 Service Dog travel forms can be downloaded here. The new updates also address and standardize a few other common Service Dog travel concerns. Per the DOT, the 2021 Service Animal Final Rule: Defines a service animal as a dog that is individually trained by an owner-trainer, individual trainer or training organization to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability; No longer considers an emotional support animal to be a service animal; Requires airlines to treat psychiatric service animals the same as other service animals; Allows airlines to require forms developed by DOT attesting to a service animal’s
When it comes to Emotional Support Animals, misconceptions and myths abound. People often believe Service Dogs and ESAs are the same things, with similar access rights. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Emotional Support Animals aren't Service Dogs, they don't have public access, and they don't require specialized training. Keep reading and dig into the nitty-gritty facts about ESAs. Emotional Support Animals Aren't Service Dogs Emotional Support Animals, including Emotional Support Dogs, are not Service Dogs. Let's say it again for the people in the back -- ESAs differ from Service Dogs. While ESAs add value to their handler's lives, legally, they have the same rights as pets, unlike Service Dogs. Service Dogs receive accommodation under America's disability access laws, whereas ESAs do not. To learn more about the difference between therapy dogs, Service Dogs, ESAs, and other working dogs, check out this article. Emotional Support Animals Are Pets Legally, ESAs are pets. They're allowed in no-pets-housing and on air transportation with the proper documentation, but outside of that, ESAs are simply pets. Someone gets an ESA when their doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist says animal companionship would benefit them and writes a letter documenting that fact. Most ESAs were simply family pets before their handler obtained a letter of necessity from a medical caregiver. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are an important type of working dog Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are an important type of working dog, but they are not Service Dogs. There is no legal or valid certification or training requirements for Emotional Support Animals. We don't allow Emotional Support Animals to be included as part of Service Dog Standards or the The United States Service Dog Registry because they are not Service Dogs and therefore not covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). A simple letter from a physician or counselor stating need (but not mentioning any specifics) is the only documentation that is recognized under law. Emotional Support Animals Don't Require Specialized Training ESAs help individuals by comforting them with their presence but are not required to perform work or tasks related to a disability. ESAs have their own rights, separate from Service Dogs. Emotional Support Animals Don't Have Public Access Contrary to popular belief and pop culture, Emotional Support Animals don't possess public access rights. They do not belong in grocery stores, restaurants, or in places of public accommodation. This includes hospitals, doctors offices, pharmacies, and other medical environments. Of course, handlers of Emotional
If you partnered with a service dog, one of your concerns likely involves what would happen should you encounter an off-leash or out-of-control dog. Most of the time the other dogs you encounter are generally well-behaved. However, there's always a risk that another dog could distract your canine partner from doing their job — or worse. But what happens if a dog bites you or your dog? Here are seven things you need to know about dog bites. 1. All dogs need to be socialized Of course, an extremely important key to reducing incidents is training, specifically exhaustive socialization with your dog. The more situations your dog is exposed to the better and safer they will perform. That being said, accidents do happen. 2. Evaluate the dog bite and the seriousness of the incident Fortunately, most dog are not serious. However, if blood is drawn it's important to get appropriate medical attention quickly in order to avoid infection which lead to complications later. If a dog bites you, take these steps right away: Wash the wound. Use mild soap, and run warm tap water over it for five to 10 minutes. Slow the bleeding with a clean cloth. Apply over-the counter antibiotic cream if you have it. Wrap the wound in a sterile bandage. Keep the wound bandaged and see your doctor. Change the bandage several times a day once your doctor has examined the wound. Watch for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, increased pain and fever. Depending on the situation, you may also want to collect the information from owner of the dog who bit and witness information if applicable. Don’t forget to collect the dog owner’s insurance details too. Photos of any injuries and other documentation may prove helpful in the future. 3. You may be entitled to dog bite compensation Depending on the severity of the incident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages due to the injuries sustained, and the pain and suffering you underwent. Hire a dog bite lawyer in Oklahoma City or a city near you to help with your compensation case. 4. Understand about liability Every dog owner is strictly liable for any bites if they knew or ought to have known of the dog's vicious or dangerous nature as experienced in past occurrences. The burden of proof lies with the victim as it's their responsibility to prove that the dog owner knew or should have known of the dog's
Rules exist for a reason and when it comes to service dogs and service dog law, some have come to view them more as "guidelines." Whether it's someone who wishes they could take their dog everywhere or those who deny access to properly trained service dog teams, both groups harm the service dog and disabled community as a whole. Most people love their dogs, and usually, when someone tells a service dog team they meet in public that they'd like to know how to make their dog a service dog, their likely intent isn't malicious or meant to be hurtful. Nonetheless, it's a poorly thought-out aspiration. It's similar to saying, "no offense," before insulting someone. This issue is far more complex than it seems on the surface, especially when it comes to able-bodied people who actually carry out their wishes by faking service dog status with their pets. Read on to learn more about what you're insinuating by wishing for a Service Dog if you're not disabled, how masquerading pets as Service Dogs is not only extremely disrespectful, but also harmful, and some important points to consider about service dog partnership and the service dog community. Service Dog Handlers Are, By Definition, Disabled First, per U.S. federal law and the ADA, Service dog handlers must be disabled. Service Dogs perform tasks that their disabled owners would otherwise have difficulty completing on their own. If you do not have a disability, then you do not qualify for a service dog. Period. End of story. Full stop. There are no exceptions. By expressing a desire for a service dog, you're also wishing for the accompanying disability. For a disabled person, hearing an able-bodied person openly wish for a disability (even if you don't actually say those words) is deeply hurtful. It suggests you don't take them or their disability seriously and furthermore, it makes light of the thousands of hours of training and socialization their partner has undergone to perform his job. From time to time, when disabled service dog handlers or service dog trainers are out in public, they're approached by someone with a wistful look and a story about how their dog would be "just perfect!" for service dog work. They wish they could take their dog everywhere, too, but there's one problem: they don't understand that the right to be accompanied by a fully-trained service dog comes with a cascading pile of problems
Dog Trainers have a tough job. Not only do they train animals — but they also have what is often a far more difficult task: training humans. And with Service Dogs, a trainer's job is even harder. Service Dog Standards helps trainers make sure that their clients understand not only their rights, but their responsibilities as well. How Service Dog Standards Works for Trainers If you're a trainer and you currently train Service Dogs or would like to begin, create an account on Service Dog Standards. Then, set up your free business or organization page. It's so robust, you can even use it in place of a website — no hosting fees or other costs of any kind. If you have a domain name, you can even forward it directly to your SDS profile page. From there, it's easy to invite clients to join. Example of a Service Dog Trainer profile page on Service Dog Standards Service Dog Standards features: · Free for trainers and handlers forever · Public profile page for service dog handlers with a secure resume · Business listings for dog trainers and breeders · Robust tools to manage service dog puppy candidates, graduates, washouts and more · Manage multiple service animals and their status · Secure training and ownership history · Clear explanation of expectations for service dog trainers and handlers · Service Dog Standards Public Access Test · Service Dog Standards Training and Behavior Standards · Template and guidance for getting a physician letter · Information to help the public better understand the complexities of Service Dogs In addition to these features, Service Dog Standards has a supportive online community of nearly 20,000 service animal trainers, handlers and their families, friends and fans. Check out their website at www.servicedogstandards.org. Based on over a decade of input from experienced service dog trainers and handlers, Service Dog Standards clearly lays out what is expected in terms of training, public behavior and more. Service Dog Standards aims to encourage adherence to the ADA and increase public trust through technology and education.