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What is our mission, purpose and focus?

We are a small group trying to make a big difference. We were designed with input from hundreds of experienced trainers and Service Dog owners who believe there should be an opportunity for those who wish to voluntarily and knowingly comply with not only the ADA law, but also an additional and specific set of community-defined training and behavior standards for their Service Animals. Service Dog Standards goes above and beyond the ADA and the basic foundations of a Public Access Test.

 

Our purpose is to add clarity to the process and responsibilities of being partnered with a Service Dog.

Training and owning a service dog isn’t easy — but it shouldn’t feel like magic or unobtainable either. We were designed with input from experienced trainers and Service Dog owners who felt that people who train and use Service Dogs should have a free and open method to voluntarily agree to a specific set of standards, even though it is not required by law. We strive to offer a way to display and document a Service Dog’s training and adherence to behavioral standards.

 

A Higher Standard for Service Dogs and their Handlers

The purpose of Service Dog Standards is to add clarity to the process and responsibilities of being partnered with a Service Dog. At our heart, we hope to encourage adherence to the ADA by requiring our Registrants to understand that intentionally misrepresenting an animal as Service Animal for any reason is not only unethical, it is also in violation of federal and local laws.

Service Dog Standards provides trainers and handlers the opportunity to voluntarily hold themselves and their animal accountable to a higher standard by publicly signing a specific set of training and behavior standards that goes above and beyond the law. Simply enrolling does not qualify an animal or an individual as a Service Dog Team or provide any special rights, legal or otherwise. If someone found not to comply with our training or behavior standards we can remove or suspend their membership rendering any materials they have invalid.

Service Dog Standards does not certify or authorize anyone to use a Service Animal — nor is certification required or recognized under the law. The privilege to use a Service or Assistance Animal is granted, under federal law, by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and local governments. If you are unsure if you qualify, please consult a local Service Dog trainer or organization.

When someone enrolls with us, displays one of our patches, shares their Service Dog’s profile or Membership card, they should be prepared that we will be notified if they do not present themselves or their dog properly or they or their dog behave in an unbecoming manner, misquote the law or the purpose of our service.

 

Service Dog Standards Services and Mission

Training and owning a service dog isn’t easy — but it shouldn’t feel like magic or unobtainable either. Service Dog Standards was designed with input from experienced trainers and Service Dog owners who felt that people who train and use Service Dogs should have a free and open method to voluntarily agree to a specific set of standards, even though it is not required by law.

 

Service Dog Standards 

Training and Behavior Standards Agreement

While Service Dog owners are allowed to verbally state their animal is a Service Animal for public access, many individuals find that having a way to say they have accepted further training and behavior standards, while not required by law, can help minimize discrimination and reduce access issues while keeping disability information private. This is especially important for disabled individuals who use a Service or Assistance Dog to help with invisible disabilities such as deafness, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and other conditions that may not be immediately apparent to others.


Learn more about Service Dog Standards


 

Our focus is twofold:

  1. To provide a free and voluntary method for Members to formally state that they understand what is involved with training and using a Service or Assistance Animal; how important their behavior, and that of their Service or Assistance Dog is to the general public and other Service and Assistance Animal teams; the legal definition of a Service or Assistance Animal; the training standards defined by the Service Dog community such as the Minimum Training Standards for a Service or Assistance Animal and the Public Access Test.
  2. To encourage education, training and exemplary behavior while providing a free and voluntary form of self-identification that can be used online or offline (the equivalent of providing a cape or vest for a Service Dog) for those who qualify under the ADA to use a Service or Assistance Dog. We hope to help encourage adherence to the ADA by requiring our members to understand that intentionally misrepresenting an animal as Service or Assistance Animal for any reason is not only unethical, it is also in violation of federal and local laws.

 


Warning
: Simply having a disability is not enough to qualify a pet as a Service or Assistance Dog. Those who pretend that they are disabled, or that their pet is a Service Dog so that they may gain entry to areas where the public is normally allowed to go, enter restaurants, fly in-cabin, stay in a hotel, apartment or condominium — or test the boundaries of what is legal or ethical are breaking federal law and should exit now and not sign this agreement. There are legal options for traveling and living with your dog which you should consider.


 

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