Rules exist for a reason and when it comes to Service Dogs and Service Dog law, too many people have come to view them more as “guidelines.” Whether it’s someone who wishes they could take their dog everywhere or someone who has chosen to break the law by presenting their pet as a fake Service Dog, both actions cause damage and harm to the Service Dog and disabled community.
Want to learn some quick facts about Service Dogs? Keep reading and level up your Service Dog knowledge! 1. Service Dogs are highly trained professionals. These hard-working dogs undergo hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of hours of training. Their training includes basic obedience and manners, intermediate and advanced skills, public access training, and job-specific task training. Each Service Dog's task training varies to match their human partner's unique needs 2. Service Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and breeds. No one can identify a Service Dog simply by looking at one. No breed requirements or other stipulations exist for a dog to qualify for Service Dog training. If a candidate has the proper temperament, loves to learn, and is physically healthy, then they're capable of training to be a Service Dog. Of course, a Service Dog's size should match their job. While smaller Service Dogs work just as hard and as well as their larger counterparts, it isn't appropriate (or safe!) for them to training as Mobility Dogs! 3. Therapy dogs, emotional support animals, and other types of working K9s are not Service Dogs. Only Service Dogs are Service Dogs. Only Service Dogs have public access rights while accompanied by the handler they're trained to assist. The handler must have a disability as defined under U.S. federal law. Emotional Support Dogs are not Service Dogs. Dogs who only help with anxiety or depression by offering support are not Service Dogs. Therapy Dogs are not Service Dogs. Search and Rescue, Police, or Military K9s are not Service Dogs. You can learn more about the differences between these various types of working dogs here. Fun Fact: The only other animal allowed to serve as an Assistance Animal in the United States is the miniature horse. Check out our guide on Miniature Horses as Service Animals for more info! 4. Service Dogs perform a diverse array of jobs. Service Dogs assist people with a wide range of disabilities. Common types of Service Dogs include visual assistance, hearing, allergen alert, brace and mobility support, neurological assistance, sensory processing, psychiatric, and many others. The jobs a Service Dog can perform are limited only by a trainer's capability and the laws of physics. 5. Each Service Dog team is unique. All disabilities are different. Furthermore, each person with a disability is an individual, and so is the dog! A Service Dog is trained to help their specific person with their specific needs. Some Service Dogs open doors
London-based Hanwell Pet Store has created an infographic titled, “10 things you probably didn’t know about dogs.” (But since you’re reading Anything Pawsable, you likely already know these things and more!)
In the heat of the moment or when you need clear, concise information the most, it can be difficult to remember the most important details, especially with a topic as full of "legalese" as federal Service Dog law. Keep this handy Service Dog Law Hand-out readily available for those times when you need it the most.