Where can I buy a service dog? What do they cost?
Most trained service dogs come from non-profit organizations. Check out programs in your area. www.assistancedogsinternational.org The actual cost of a fully trained service dog is estimated at about $20,000. Most programs will help with fund raising or place the dogs at little or no cost to the client.
Where can I train my service dog? Where can I find a trainer/school for my service dog?
There are very few pet dog trainers that also train service dogs. Some of the Assistance Dogs International programs do work with owner trainers. You can begin basic obedience training with your local NADOI instructor.
Does a list of trainers and schools exist?
I get nervous if I go outside of my home. Can I get a dog for that?
To qualify for a service dog, you must be considered a person with a disability by your health care provider. A service dog is trained to do work or perform tasks that assist with your disability.
How can I get a landlord to rent to me if I have a service dog?
In the United States, housing is covered under the Fair Housing Act.
How can I get my service dog certified? Who does this?
According to the American’s With Disability Act (ADA) Service animals are not required to be certified. https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.pdf
I am at the gate and the airline won’t let me board with my service dog. What do I do?
You request a Conflict Resolutions officer:
I have always flown my service dog in the cabin on domestic flights, but they won’t let him board an international flight. What do I do?
You should download the U.S. Department of Transportation’s information brochure Air Travel With Service Animals and carry a copy with you.
I want to train my 7 wk-old puppy to be a service dog. Is that OK?
While you can begin training a puppy for a career as a service dog, it will not be physically or mentally mature enough to work until it is about two years of age.
I am a veteran. How do I get a service dog?
Go to www.assistancedogsinternational.org and look for a program in your area.
I paid (whatever amount of money) for my service dog and he won’t work. What do I do?
You should have a contract from your program or trainer that provided you with follow up training. Contact the program/trainer.
What is a Fake Service Dog?
Social media has been alive with discussions and media videos and articles about “Fake Service Dogs”. But what exactly constitutes a “Fake Service Dog”? Here are a few examples.
1. A person without a disability with their pet (possibly well trained and with a vest).
2. A person with a disability with their pet (possible well trained, not task trained and with a vest).
3. A person with a disability with a poorly trained service dog.
4. A person without a disability with a well trained service dog, just not theirs.
5. A person with a disability with an Emotional Support Dog.
When we are saying “Fake Service Dog” we are really talking about the whole team, handler and dog. In the above scenarios the behavior of the dog is everything. Since we have no way of knowing if the person with an invisible disability is even disabled we tend to look to the dog’s training and frequently to see if it is dressed which is not required by law. Historically Guide Dog Organizations did not want anyone but the visually impaired to be able to have a dog in places of public accommodation. Back in the day Hearing Dogs seldom worked outside the home. It took years for the Guide Dog Federation (GDF) to recognize service dogs and to join with Assistance Dogs International (ADI) in a common mission. So now history is repeating itself and GDF and ADI are concerned about the safety of their dogs because of the proliferation of poorly trained Service Dogs, Emotional Support Animals and or pets being passed off as Service Dogs. And they have every right to be concerned, as does every disabled person with a trained service dog. What is needed is an educational program to teach businesses their rights under the law. California and other states also need to look at their lawyers who take unworthy cases and sensationalize them for the money and notoriety. Then business owners would not be afraid to ask poorly trained teams that are not housebroken, not under control, or are a health or safety issue to leave.
Places of Public Accommodation need to know that they legally can ask two questions: 1. Is the dog needed because of a disability? 2. What tasks does the dog perform that assist with the handler’s disability. Places of Public Accommodations must remember that if the customer is asked to leave the business needs to offer an alternate way to provide service.
More information: http://www.ada.gov/service_
©2017 Jeanne Hampl
I want to become a service dog trainer. Where do I go to learn this? How do I get certified?
There is no certification for service dog trainers. If you are serious about becoming a service dog trainer, you may be able to find an apprenticeship with an ADI member program https://assistancedogsinternational.org/resources/programs/#member_programs.