In the United States, every Service Dog handler enjoys the right to travel with their Service Dog. However, finding straightforward information about airline policies and requirements, international laws, TSA regulations, security checkpoints, and other commonly encountered situations isn't easy! To help you prepare you for your trip, we've compiled Service Dog travel tips, tricks, hacks, guidelines, and resources. Terminology note: U.S. Federal law includes miniature horses in the list of allowable Assistance Animal species. Miniature horses trained as Assistance Animals usually provide either guide services or brace and mobility support. Since the majority of Assistance Animal handlers partner with a dog, we usually utilize the term "Service Dog" instead of the more universal "Service Animal." However, any time you see "Service Dog," you could replace it with "Miniature Guide Horse" or "Brace and Mobility Support Horse" seamlessly. Miniature horse users possess identical public access rights to Service Dog teams. Airlines Updated Service Dog and ESA Policies Several Years Ago Throughout the course of 2018, nearly every major domestic airline updated their Service Dog travel policies. Most airlines designed their new protocols to crack down on people using legal loopholes to transport untrained or unsuitable dogs free of charge in the cabin. As such, many of the new rules differ greatly from the "old" airline Service Dog requirements. This is particularly true concerning Emotional Support Animals (ESAs). Many airlines now require an extensive, multi-step approval process for Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals. Some airlines outline different rules or behavioral expectations for different types of Service Dogs. As an example, American Airlines requires Psychiatric Service Dogs to meet the Emotional Support Animal (ESA) requirements instead of the standard Service Dog requirements. Learn More About how Service Animals, Therapy Dogs, and Emotional Support Animals Differ Other types of professional working dogs, like Search and Rescue Dogs and Police K9s, often fly under an airline's established Service Dog policy. However, that's far from universal -- airline working dog policies range from nonexistent to clearly defined with everything in between! All handlers should confirm their airline's Working K9 or Service Dog travel policy several days prior to flying. Airlines accept Service Dogs in Training (SDiTs) at their own discretion. Service Dnimals in Training are not covered by the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) and therefore have no legal rights to fly under any Service Animal policy. Some airlines provide better SDiT policies than others. Service Dog Definitions and Requirements Vary Widely In addition to tightening the rules for
It's that time of year again: Christmas is over! You may be looking for new ways to spoil your dog in the new year and there are many things to do to make them feel special, now that you have some more time to spend focusing on them. It's important not to forget your furry friend during the mew year! In this blog post, we'll be discussing five great ideas on how you can ensure your pup doesn't feel left out. Ways of Keeping Your Dog Happy in the New Year 1. Ensure Your Dog is Well-Groomed One of the best ways to ensure your dog doesn't get left out is by grooming them. There's nothing worse than a pet that looks unkempt during one of the most festive times of the year, so you must keep up with their grooming routine. This includes: Brushing their teeth Trimming their nails Keeping them clean overall An excellent way to ensure your dog always looks its best is using quality pet shampoo. Not only will this keep your pup clean, but it will also leave them smelling wonderful. 2. Prepare Some Treats The best types of treats you can get for your pup are ones that promote healthy eating habits. These include natural dog chews, which support a healthy lifestyle and taste delicious. Your dog will love getting treats like these during the new year, and you'll love knowing that they're good for them! 3. Get Them a New Toy Why not get your dog one of the new toys that were released for Christmas last year that now have a discounted price in the January sales? There are many types of toys available for you. It can be hard to know which one is right for your pup. One of the best toys you can get your dog during this time is a plush toy. These types of toys are great because they're soft and cuddly, making them perfect for snuggling with on those cold nights. 4. Get Them a New Bed Your dog deserves the best, and that includes their fancy new bed. You can find some great products on eBay or Amazon that your pup will love. Another type of bed you might want to consider getting your dog is a memory foam bed. They are comfortable and reduce pressure points and relieve pain in your pup's joints. 5. Take Them for a Walk One of the best things you can do to keep
From everyday work to planned vacations to unexpected medical emergencies, there are lots of reasons you may need to leave your furry friend behind. Whether you have a pet or a Service Dog, it's helpful to have backup care in case you need it. Pet sitting is the best possible solution for any working pet owner. It is an alternative to the dog kennel system. Pet sitting is a type of daycare where you leave your pets during work hours. But rather than going to a specific institution, you can hire possible care and support for your pet at home. Dog Sitting vs Kennel Boarding When you need to leave your dog behind there a lot of things to consider. While some dogs are fine staying in a kennel, others may may experience stress or emotional issues. These issues can be brought on by a lot of factors other than just training — some are natural features of their breed. For example, herding dogs such as German Shepherds may actually try to herd the other dogs in the kennel, which of course is a behavior that's tough to train out. Other factors that can complicate boarding are medical conditions or dogs in heat or pregnant. Luckily, there's another solution: dog sitting in the owner’s home. Finding a Dog Sitter Has Become Easier Luckily, finding a pet sitter has become easier over the last decade. Today, there are a lot of great services that can help you find a pet sitter. These professionals will keep your pet supervised and look after them while you’re gone. But before you choose to bestow your pets to them entirely, you must get your pets familiar with the pet sitting team. That way, the experts will be able to handle your pets professionally and efficiently without fearing any extreme circumstances. Pet Sitting Costs Are Similar to Kennel Boarding You might be surprised at how comparable pet sitting prices are to kennel boarding. With a kennel, there are a lot of overhead costs from the building itself to all the equipment and gear required to take care of all the animals. If you have more than one pet, you may also save money because pet sitters often don’t charge or charge very little to care for multiple pets. In some cases, a pet sitter may be less expensive. Pet Sitting May Be The Healthier Option Most people don't think about dogs getting sick, but
Service Dog Standards (SDS) launches a suite of powerful new tools — specifically built for those who want to become partnered with a service dog and those who are currently service dog trainers or handlers — with the goal of making the process more straightforward, responsible and fun! Responsible service dog partnership. There are a lot of documents, tests and tools that responsible Service Dog trainers and handlers use as part of their training regimen. While absolutely none of these things on their own make a dog a Service Dog — and are strictly not required for Service Dog ownership under federal law — many handlers find them helpful as part of documenting their training. Service Dog Standards allows clients to share the fact that they have these documents in their possession without violating their privacy. Robust tools for handlers, trainers and training organizations At Service Dog Standards, trainers and training organizations can promote their businesses with free, robust, professional listings, manage, track and organize their human and canine clients and much more. Service dog handlers can create their own secure team Profile Page where they can safely share their training resume, complete with photos, training accomplishments and more. SDS also includes templates for physicians and walks people through the often complicated process of owning and training a service dog. See this example of a Service Dog Handler profile page on Service Dog Standards 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. 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 A service dog training resume may include: · Passing a Public Access Test · A trained task list · Detailed digital or
At first glance, "sit" seems like a pretty easy position to teach a dog. In fact, sit is often the very first thing puppies learn. Did you know, though, that there are several different kinds of sit positions? The type that's commonly taught, the rock back sit, isn't always the most efficient or best version for working dogs. Learn how to teach a "tuck sit" by following a few simple steps! Dogs sit via one of two basic ways -- by shifting backward on their haunches with or without moving their front feet towards their rear or by scooting their rear end up towards their shoulders. The first way, called a "rock back" sit, uses gravity to sink the dog's rump to the ground. The second, called a "tuck sit," requires enough shoulder strength and stability to support the dog's body weight as they transition into the sit. For most dogs, the basic rock back sit is just fine -- they just need to be able to put their rear on the ground when asked. For working dogs or performance dogs, especially those competing in obedience trials, the tuck sit reigns supreme. It allows the dog to remain properly aligned without moving away from their handler. If you put the dog's front feet on a line and ask for a tuck sit, the feet stay in a place. In contrast, a dog using a rock back sit might end up feet away from the place they started! For Service Dog trainers and handlers, tuck sits prove invaluable because they ensure the handler can easily reach the dog or anything the dog is carrying in their mouth or in a pack. Furthermore, the tuck sit also prevents the Service Dog from occupying more space than necessary while working in public. There are many ways to teach a tuck sit Multiple methods exist for teaching tuck sits. Depending on how your dog learns, one way may work better for you guys than another. Below, you'll find a step-by-step guide to teaching a tuck sit that relies on simple foundation skills. The method outlined tends to work for a wide variety of dogs, including puppies. Before beginning tuck sit training Ideally, before beginning to teach the tuck sit, your dog will already have some paw targeting and nose targeting skills. The targeting isn't completely required but it will shortcut the process. You'll need high value treats, some kind of
Service Dogs raised from puppyhood learn Service Dog foundation skills early. Without daily practice, though, young Service Dogs in Training often struggle to master the complex behaviors required for public access and advanced training. To help your SDiT master responsiveness, focus, and relaxation, practice the following 5 skills every day! Settling & Matwork Public access often requires young Service Dogs in Training to lie quietly for long periods of time. Whether the handler or trainer is working, at school, or standing in line at the store, the ability to settle proves invaluable. This Service Dog skill doesn't happen accidentally -- it's built through daily practice. Use matwork, place training, tether training, and long downs to build quiet, calm, settled behavior in your young Service Dog in Training. Impulse Control Impulse control allows your Service Dog in Training to decide whether or not to engage with a distraction instead of doing so instantly because it's exciting. Puppies do not come with impulse control pre-installed. This skill must be earned through daily practice. Use training games like Zen or It's Yer Choice, along with programs like Control Unleashed or Crate Games, to assist you with teaching your young Service Dog in Training impulse control. Handler Focus There's a lot going on in public. People walk around and make strange noises. There's lots of motion and activity. Children drop food or reach for your dog. Solid handler focus allows your dog to ignore these everyday distractions without stressing. Furthermore, lots of practice with handler focus gives your dog a clear job with clear expectations on what to do when they encounter something new -- just stay focused and wait for further information. Build handler focus through reinforcing eye contact, check ins, movement-based games, distraction proofing, and leave it. Positions Sit. Down. Stand. Settle. Heel. Side. Front. Positions are an every day Service Dog reality. Young Service Dogs in Training should learn positions early on and then work daily to master them. Work on transitioning from one position to another and on gaining clear cue recognition. Make sure you're practicing in a wide variety of environments, too, since dogs don't generalize behaviors automatically. Shaping Shaping, along with luring and capturing, allows trainers to easily teach complex skills and behaviors. If young Service Dogs in Training start playing shaping games early in their education and practice them daily, they often prove easier and more fun to train overall. In addition to being useful for training, shaping
Using a dog training trail mix allows a trainer to offer a variety of high value and low value treats during training sessions. This keeps a dog's attention better than using only one type of treat. Furthermore, a dog training trail mix provides a wider balance of nutrients, which is important for young Service Dogs in Training because they often get the majority of their calories via training sessions. Dog training trail mixes supercharge training sessions by acting like a lottery -- is the next treat delivered going to be the most epic on the planet or is it only a piece of kibble? Your dog continues to work because not only do they want the treat, but they're holding out for the best treats possible. This also keeps your dog from working for only one type of reward. Additionally, it allows the trainer to include nutritious food such as kibble, freeze-dried raw, or other high-quality foods. Another great benefit of dog trail mixes uses a dog's nose to up the value of everything included in the mix. Kibble is pretty boring and dogs see it all the time in routine meals. However, if you include kibble in a training trail mix with hot dog slices, freeze-dried liver, and cheese chunks, all of a sudden, kibble carries more value. Your high value, and often more expensive, treats go further when combined with lower value options. Rewards to Include In a Dog Training Trail Mix When making a dog training trail mix, you'll want to include treats your dog likes. However, you'll also want to make sure all the included treats store well, aren't super messy, and will still be useable after a few days in a treat pouch or canister. Most trainers incorporate a balanced blend of high value and low-value dog treats in their trail mixes. Low-value treats are usually crunchy, with minimal stinkiness, and they aren't very interesting. High value treats usually are soft, smelly bits of yumminess your dog doesn't see or get often. Included treats should be bite-sized, about the size of a piece of kibble. Smaller dogs need smaller treats. Bigger dogs can manage bigger treats, but there's nothing wrong with using smaller ones for them, too! If you're using your dog's meals for training sessions, try to ensure included rewards are nutritionally balanced. Using high-value food-based elements like Ziwipeaks air dried, Wellness CORE tender bites, Zukes mini naturals, Bixbi
Everyone knows puppies need to go outside more frequently than adult dogs. For the first few weeks of having a puppy home, it often seems that all anyone does is take the puppy out to potty! Using a feeding and watering schedule can help simply housetraining, as can answering the all-important question: how soon after eating or drinking do young puppies need to go outside? Optimal Times Vary Widely Most veterinarians, dog trainers, and behaviorists agree that puppies need to go out "very soon" once they eat a meal or drink water. Generally speaking, the recommended time frame varies from 5 to 15 minutes but sometimes trends upwards to 30 plus minutes. Multiple factors change the recommended time -- size of the puppy, age of the puppy, how much was consumed, activity levels, etc. You'll get to know your puppy, their habits, and their preferred schedule pretty quickly but in the meantime, monitor intake and take the puppy out regularly. The younger or smaller the puppy, the quicker they'll need to go outside to potty after eating or drinking. It's important to note that it's almost impossible to time puppies who have free access to food and water. Puppies should eat on a schedule and be offered water at regular intervals. That way, it's much easier to predict when they'll need to potty. Use These Tricks to Potty Train Faster In the beginning, take the puppy out on a leash so you can watch them and keep them focused on their business. There should be no playing, pouncing, excessive walking, or tons of interaction. Take the puppy to the area you want them to potty in and stand there quietly. Wait for the puppy to do their thing. If the puppy doesn't go quickly, they may not need to go right then. Keep them on a leash until they're old enough to understand the difference between toileting breaks and playtime. Puppies who are just let out easily get distracted and forget to go potty. Then, they come inside and squat on the rug. If you take a puppy out after eating or drinking and they don't potty, then tether the puppy or crate them for another few minutes before trying again. Once the puppy successfully potties outdoors while on leash they can enjoy some freedom to play, exercise, and be loved on. What Goes In Must Come Out Every puppy digests food and water at a different rate.
Becoming a Service Dog takes a lot of hard work and dedication. With so many things to learn, it can be hard to know what to focus on! Help young Service Dogs in Training succeed by practicing these 3 skills every day. Foundational Obedience Foundation obedience lays the groundwork for future public access, task training, and advanced skills. Most trainers consider sit, down, stand, stay, leash walking, and recalls (come) to be basic obedience, but the definition varies widely. Some people include manners and other skills like targeting, place training, and husbandry. Definition aside, there's no doubt these skills matter. Young Service Dogs in training should practice positions (including sit, down, stand, heel, side, front, etc.), moving with their handler, and building duration on their behaviors every day. Eventually, as their abilities improve, they should work on distractions and adding distance, too. Keep in mind there's no need to practice everything every single day. In the beginning, an SDiT may only be working on one or two things. Practice those one or two things. Add more as the puppy is able to master the material. Impulse Control and Focus Service Dogs working in public deal with uncountable distractions -- motion, people, smells, new objects, other dogs, loud noises, etc. In order to succeed, Service Dogs require bomb-proof temperaments, focus, and impulse control. As such, young Service Dogs in Training should practice these skills every day. Training games like Susan Garrett's It's Yer Choice or Sue Ailsby's Zen offer lots of ways to practice these behaviors in the context of everyday life. Handlers should strive to reinforce handler focus and distraction proofing at every opportunity. Relaxing Lots of Service Dog work involves long periods of waiting, watching, and relaxing, especially while in public. The ability to relax calmly is a learned skill, not an innate characteristic. Young Service Dogs in Training should work on their ability to settle for long periods of time every day. Place training and tether training provide great opportunities for practicing this vital Service Dog skill.