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Would someone mind explaining the criteria for a service dog in US ?

I could be totally wrong but the impression I get is almost anyone can put a service vest on a dog so it can go anywhere with them. That may be a slight exaggeration. One member has posted about going to see a 4 week old puppy that will be a service dog. Don't potential service dogs have to undergo certain temperament testing etc when they are older ? I would have thought 4 weeks is far too young to determine suitability as service dog.

Service dogs in UK are basically professionally trained dogs for the blind, hearing and a few specific diabetes, aids for children and disability aid dogs. People are generally not allowed to train their own dogs and just call it a service dog they have to be shown to be tested to a certain standard (although I admit I don't know all the details)
 

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Summerhouse there are some people who abuse the liberal laws and policies on service dogs here, but real service dogs can be owner trained and not just agency raised and trained. There are some services (like guide dogs for the blind) that really only are done by dogs trained by agencies, but some can be trained by owners who are supposed to document the training and then get an evaluation from a certifying agency to be legitimate.

I saw the thread that you are referring to about the young puppy who will hopefully be successfully trained as a diabetes alert dog. The original post didn't fully explain the stages of training that will be done with that pup. It got clarified later in the thread.
 
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Summerhouse there are some people who abuse the liberal laws and policies on service dogs here, but real service dogs can be owner trained and not just agency raised and trained. There are some services (like guide dogs for the blind) that really only are done by dogs trained by agencies, but some can be trained by owners who are supposed to document the training and then get an evaluation from a certifying agency to be legitimate.

I saw the thread that you are referring to about the young puppy who will hopefully be successfully trained as a diabetes alert dog. The original post didn't fully explain the stages of training that will be done with that pup. It got clarified later in the thread.
Re: the bolded part of Lily cd re's statement:
ADA (source for tidbits quoted below)
The ADA defines a service animal as any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. If they meet this definition, animals are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government.
Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. Guide dogs are one type of service animal, used by some individuals who are blind. This is the type of service animal with which most people are familiar. But there are service animals that assist persons with other kinds of disabilities in their day-to-day activities. Some examples include:
_ Alerting persons with hearing impairments to sounds.

_ Pulling wheelchairs or carrying and picking up things for persons with mobility impairments.

_ Assisting persons with mobility impairments with balance.

A service animal is not a pet.
Q: How can I tell if an animal is really a service animal and not just a pet?

A: Some, but not all, service animals wear special collars and harnesses. Some, but not all, are licensed or certified and have identification papers. If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, you may ask the person who has the animal if it is a service animal required because of a disability. However, an individual who is going to a restaurant or theater is not likely to be carrying documentation of his or her medical condition or disability. Therefore, such documentation generally may not be required as a condition for providing service to an individual accompanied by a service animal. Although a number of states have programs to certify service animals, you may not insist on proof of state certification before permitting the service animal to accompany the person with a disability.
It's a common misconception that certification is needed or common. Certification, ID cards, and other "legitimizing" items are unfortunately more common with fake service dogs than real ones (because a real service dog handler knows they don't need these things, and would therefore not waste the $300+ to get them).

There are definitely legitimate agencies that will test service dogs to help owner-handlers determine whether their dog is capable of service work or ready for working in certain public settings, but an owner-handler is not required to use them.

I think we have to be aware of the harm it does to legitimate service dog users when we use imprecise language to legitimize or delegitimize their service dog. A service dog should be regarded just like any other tool for a person to get around and live their life safely. Would you ask someone whether they really needed their wheelchair, or whether it was a Certified Legitimate Wheelchair?

I also understand that there are situations where fake service dogs (or poorly trained real ones) cause problems. The ADA has a clause for this:
Q: What if a service animal barks or growls at other people, or otherwise acts out of control?

A: You may exclude any animal, including a service animal, from your facility when that animal's behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For example, any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other guests or customers may be excluded. You may not make assumptions, however, about how a particular animal is likely to behave based on your past experience with other animals. Each situation must be considered individually.
Although a public accommodation may exclude any service animal that is out of control, it should give the individual with a disability who uses the service animal the option of continuing to enjoy its goods and services without having the service animal on the premises.

Q: Can I exclude an animal that doesn't really seem dangerous but is disruptive to my business?

A: There may be a few circumstances when a public accommodation is not required to accommodate a service animal--that is, when doing so would result in a fundamental alteration to the nature of the business. Generally, this is not likely to occur in restaurants, hotels, retail stores, theaters, concert halls, and sports facilities. But when it does, for example, when a dog barks during a movie, the animal can be excluded.
 

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Would someone mind explaining the criteria for a service dog in US ?

I could be totally wrong but the impression I get is almost anyone can put a service vest on a dog so it can go anywhere with them. That may be a slight exaggeration. One member has posted about going to see a 4 week old puppy that will be a service dog. Don't potential service dogs have to undergo certain temperament testing etc when they are older ? I would have thought 4 weeks is far too young to determine suitability as service dog.

Service dogs in UK are basically professionally trained dogs for the blind, hearing and a few specific diabetes, aids for children and disability aid dogs. People are generally not allowed to train their own dogs and just call it a service dog they have to be shown to be tested to a certain standard (although I admit I don't know all the details)
Re: your bolded statement—

Yes, that is technically true, somebody could put a vest on a dog, lie, and call it a service dog.

Without seeing UK law for service animals, it's hard to say if the law is different in the US—the rules might be exactly the same but there may be the same common misperceptions about service dogs across the pond as there are here.

Most people in the US have no idea of the rules surrounding service dogs, and even those people that have a vague idea still tend to think that service dog = certified by someone.

In the US:
Under current law, the dog could slip under the radar pretty easily in most businesses because the only question that can be asked of the owner are, "Is that a service animal required because of a disability?"

If you observe a service dog behaving badly or disruptively, they can then be asked to leave.

Some states in the US are finding ways to criminalize fake service dogs while attempting to maintain legality under the ADA: Fake service animals would be criminalized under a bill that just passed the Colorado House – The Denver Post
 

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Sophie Anne covered everything that I'd have said perfectly, and probably more eloquently.

I did want to add that a person with a service dog can be asked two questions. the first is the "is that a service animal present for a disabilty?" question, and the second is "what task(s) is it trained to perform?"

Because the ADA is worded to allow flexibility for individuals with disabilities to have service animals trained specifically to help them (rather than requiring certification, proof, etc) it also makes it quite easy for people to fake service dogs.

For example, under the ADA, my dog Jasper is technically a service dog because I've taught him to lay his head or body (two separate commands) on/across my partner as a form of DPT when she is suffering panic attacks related to PTSD. Since he does this only at home, there's no need for him to be considered a "real" service dog, even though under the ADA he fits all necessary qualifications :)
 

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I chose Noelle to be a successor to my service dog, Honey. I wanted a puppy with a stable temperament, able to cope with surprises without becoming hysterical. The breeder I chose has placed service dogs before. Will Noelle make the grade? I don't know.

I do know how to train my own service dog. There are frauds out there, and they make life difficult. Under the ADA, any dog that has been individually trained to do work, or perform tasks, that benefit a person with a disability, is considered a service dog.

Since I have both myasthenia gravis and type 1 diabetes, Noelle is, hopefully, going to learn to help me with these things. Most of service dog work is obedience training. Tasks really are secondary. Honey would retrieve a credit card from a pile of French Fries. She would retrieve anything I needed her to grab.

She chose to be a service dog. When Honey was five-months-old, I dropped my pen right in front of my new puppy. She grabbed the pen, but instead of running off with it, she put it in my hand. That was the moment when Honey and I started working together.

On the day Honey died, I dropped my glucose meter on the floor. She got up, gasping from all the tumors in her lungs, retrieved my meter and lay down on the floor. I burst into tears. Even at the end, Honey wanted to be my helper and friend.



Now I have Noelle. Noelle's registered name is Gave Great Light. My mainspring broke after Honey died. Bringing Noelle home at Christmas brought light back into my world.

She's too young yet for me to be able to tell for sure if she'll be a service dog. I do know we're training with that goal in mind. Honey was an amazing helper dog. Noelle has some big paws to fill.
 

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i would just add one thing. as quixotic as american law may seem on not defining "service dog" in a manner that is more amenable to enforcement, a conscious choice was made in crafting the americans with disabilities act that respect for disabled persons and their privacy mattered more. sometimes the disabled themselves wish there were a system of documentation that would relieve them of having to deal with idiots and the problems caused by fakers. but knowing what we know about bureaucracy, they would probably end up hating that more.
 

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Thank you, Patk. Thank you. You will never have any earthly idea how many times I've mentally uttered that to you, and it's time here to bear witness to that occurring yet again. I do not know what this community would be like without your wisdom and courage to speak out, and to know how and when. Certainly it would be the poorer for want of your thoughts.
 

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thank you, streetcar. undeserved, but very kind of you. i'm embarrassed.:embarrassed:
 

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I see that you are talking about me....so I thought I would add. My new baby came from parents that who have had many puppies go on to be a variety of different service dogs. I am working with 2 different trainers to achieve my goal of having a successful diabetic alert dog. My baby has gone through many different temperament and personality tests, all of which he has passed with flying colors. However I understand that after all of this training and hard work, 2 years down the line I might end up with an unsuccessful service dog. I plan on working my butt off, and I will definitely be disappointed if it doesn't work out, but I will accept my poodle boy no matter what the outcome.
 

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Tburgi, I don't think this discussion has anything to do with your or your new pup. There are multiple members here who have service dogs/poodles, and others, like me, who are "in waiting" for their poodle pups who will be in training for service.

By the way, your brindle boy is very pretty!
 

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Tburgi, I don't think this discussion has anything to do with your or your new pup. There are multiple members here who have service dogs/poodles, and others, like me, who are "in waiting" for their poodle pups who will be in training for service.
How does one begin to train for service dog training if trained by ourselves? I work in Canada, in Social Services. I work with the homeless population whom have mental health issues, suffer from addictions and suicide ideology. Thus far, I bring Fenton to work. but he is only 19 weeks. He stays under my desk in a crate. Nobody knows he is there and he doesn't make a sound. Someday, I wish him to be a therapy dog. Alas, truth be told, I need him for me. I have PTSD and I suffer along with my clients, though I say nothing. Hearing their stories every day....is heart breaking. When I take a lunch break, I take Fenton out..and I breathe deeply.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Jburgi it wasn't your post that prompted me to ask, it is a coincidence that the post I referred to also spoke of a 4 week puppy that someone was going to see.

I see from your post that you have researched and planned ahead in a way that I had expected of someone wanting to train a service dog. I have read on various US dog forums where people just seem to buy a puppy to train themselves and have the expectation it will make a service dog. It was this that intrigued me as in UK I've never heard of anyone buying a puppy and training their own service dog let alone it being legally recognized as a service dog and having the legal rights of a service dog.

I hope everything goes to plan with your pup and you keep us up to date with yours and his training.
 

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I did want to add that a person with a service dog can be asked two questions.
The first is the "is that a service animal present for a disabilty?", and
the second is "what task(s) is it trained to perform?"
Correct - those are the only questions allowed (see slight variance in documents below). A business owner cannot ask what someone's disability is, or require papers or a vest. Well they can but they risk having a complaint filed.... definitely not something any business would want.

Here is an ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) brief, followed by the DOJ (Department of Justice) interpretations:

http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.pdf

Further information from DOJ (Department of Justice) interpretations:
http://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html
 

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How does one begin to train for service dog training if trained by ourselves? I work in Canada, in Social Services. I work with the homeless population whom have mental health issues, suffer from addictions and suicide ideology. Thus far, I bring Fenton to work. but he is only 19 weeks. He stays under my desk in a crate. Nobody knows he is there and he doesn't make a sound. Someday, I wish him to be a therapy dog. Alas, truth be told, I need him for me. I have PTSD and I suffer along with my clients, though I say nothing. Hearing their stories every day....is heart breaking. When I take a lunch break, I take Fenton out..and I breathe deeply.
The following site has a ton of useful information (plus a forum with opinions). You have to be careful which websites you go to for information because many of them have incorrect information, often not even following the ADA law though they may claim to. I am not saying however that that is the only site with correct information. There is a lot of background information here, plus a forum. Remember in reading the forum and comments that a lot of answers are just peoples opinions and may not be accurate, and I've found some may be harsh. Welcome to Service Dog Central | Service Dog Central

I put the actual ADA and DOJ links in the previous post. And at times there are new DOJ decisions that are made.

Do realize that to have a Service Dog - sometimes referred to as an Assistance Dog - one must have a life limiting disability, and the dog must be individually trained to mitigate that disability, not just good at doing something to help someone or make them feel better.

Therapy Dogs, Emotional Support Animals, Companion Animals, etc are not Service Dogs and do not have the right to be in public places like restaurants with their handler. Most dogs that people want to train as SD's don't make it. It often takes 2 years to train a SD, and not fully trained SD's are called SDiT's (Service Dogs in Training), and they do not have the same rights as a fully trained SD.

Besides the United States ADA (National) there are also individual state laws, there are laws that apply to housing, others that apply to flying, others that apply to federal buildings, military bases, etc, etc.

And the laws in Canada are different than in the US, and different provinces in Canada can also have different laws! Ditto for other countries. It can get confusing for sure.

Yikes! I am definitely NOT knowledgeable on all of them! This is the tiniest bit of info - smaller than a dot on the tip of my little finger :) But enough to point in a direction to learn more....
 

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Would someone mind explaining the criteria for a service dog in US ?

I could be totally wrong but the impression I get is almost anyone can put a service vest on a dog so it can go anywhere with them. That may be a slight exaggeration. One member has posted about going to see a 4 week old puppy that will be a service dog. Don't potential service dogs have to undergo certain temperament testing etc when they are older ? I would have thought 4 weeks is far too young to determine suitability as service dog.

Service dogs in UK are basically professionally trained dogs for the blind, hearing and a few specific diabetes, aids for children and disability aid dogs. People are generally not allowed to train their own dogs and just call it a service dog they have to be shown to be tested to a certain standard (although I admit I don't know all the details)
In the US a service dog is defined as “a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person's disability.”
There is no official or required public access test like there is in Canada. Your dog just needs to be able to behave in public as well as preform a task that mitigates the handler’s disability.
In the US, anyone can train a service dog.
So basically a service dog is a well behaved dog that is trained to preform one task (do something other than exist and get pets) that alleviates the disabled handler’s disability.
 
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