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Things Service Dogs in Public Should and Should Not Do

Dog in a Waiting Room, Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

When it comes to Service Dogs or Service Dogs in Training with public access, there are definite things Service Dogs in public should and should not do. Learn more about how well-trained Service Dogs should appear and what U.S. Service Dog law says about dogs who don’t quite possess the skills necessary to safely work in public.


Well Behaved Service Dogs Make Life Easier for Everyone

You’re sitting in a cafe, enjoying a nice cup of coffee with your well-trained, well-mannered canine partner when someone waltzes in with a dog in tow. The dog is lunging at everyone who walks past, jumps up on the counter, gulps down a bagel and then whirls around to start barking at people when they walk in. The manager rushes forward and politely states, “We’re sorry, ma’am, but we’re going to have to ask you to take your dog outside. We don’t allow pets.”

Breezily, the woman waves him off and announces, “He’s my Service Dog. He gets to go with me anywhere I go.” The manager casts an appraising eye over the natural disaster of the dog who is now walking around and around his legs, tangling him in its leash, before hesitantly inquiring, “Do you have any papers?” He knows the law doesn’t require ID for Service Dogs, but surely, for THIS dog, she’s required to carry SOMETHING, right?

The woman scoffs at the idea while reaching down to rub her dog’s head. “I don’t need any papers. Federal law doesn’t require me to carry any. He’s a Service Dog; that’s all you need to know.”

The manager mumbles an apology and walks away. From the safety of the counter, he eyeballs the dog and owner as the woman allows him to run up to anyone, jump on their lap and even kiss them or sniff their food. Just before leaving, the dog squats on the floor and urinates. The dog’s handler walks away from the mess and he sends a staff member to quickly clean it up. He considers calling the police, but is afraid of getting in trouble for breaking ADA regulations and federal law. Finally, though, the woman leaves with her unruly dog in tow and he breathes a sigh of relief.

What other options did this poor, frazzled manager possess? Since the woman has produced the magic “Service Dog” words, it may have seemed he has no recourse but to back off and leave this self-professed “Service Dog” team be. Fortunately for him, though, (and the other patrons of the shop!) that’s not the case. While federal Service Dog law is written to protect individuals with disabilities and their complete, unfettered public access with their (well-trained) canine partners, it also has provisions to protect businesses and other members of the public from “Service Dogs” in public who shouldn’t be there. Individuals with a disability have the right to have their Service Dog accompany them anywhere members of the public are allowed to be, but business owners and patrons have rights, too.


What the Law Says

U.S. Code of Federal Regulations § 36.202(c)(2):

(2) Exceptions. A public accommodation may ask an individual with a disability to remove a service animal from the premises if:
(i) The animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it; or
(ii) The animal is not housebroken.

(3) If an animal is properly excluded. If a public accommodation properly excludes a service animal under § 36.302(c)(2), it shall give the individual with a disability the opportunity to obtain goods, services, and accommodations without having the service animal on the premises.

As excerpted from U.S. Code of Federal Regulations § 36.202, there are two instances cited in federal law where a business may exclude a Service Dog:

  1. The Service Dog is out of control and the handler isn’t doing anything about it
  2. The Service Dog isn’t housebroken and urinates or defecates inappropriately

If a Service Dog team is asked to leave due to the dog’s behavior, the business must provide the unaccompanied handler the opportunity to obtain goods or services. Only the dog can be excluded from the premises. If a dog’s behavior infringes on the ability of other patrons to enjoy a safe, routine experience similar to one they would experience without a Service Dog on-site, then a business may be perfectly within their right legally to ask the team to leave. Before making that determination, though, check out the lists below detailing what Service Dogs in public should do and what Service Dogs in public shouldn’t do.


Service Dogs in Public Should:

  • Focus on their handler at all times unless doing trained task work.
  • Possess a stable, even temperament without anxiety, reactivity or aggression of any kind.
  • Walk nicely on a leash without pulling, straining, lunging, lagging, circling or forging, unless the dog’s task work requires tension on the leash, and the pulling is a trained behavior with a purpose.
  • Remain quietly by their handler’s side when their handler stops without wandering or losing focus.
  • Lay quietly under the table or beside their handler’s chair without getting up or moving around excessively. Changing positions is fine; outright breaking stays to respond or engage with distractions or to wander off is not.
  • Ignore distractions.
  • Be quiet at all times unless performing specific, trained task work. Outside of trained and necessary task work, there should be NO other vocalization, including, but not limited to, whining, grumbling, wooing, barking, growling, whimpering or other noise. Unless working, Service Dogs should be seen by the public and not heard.
  • Appear professional, well-groomed and well-taken care of. Your Service Dog is a representative of both you and the Service Dog community. She should always leave everyone she comes in contact with with excellent impressions.
  • Keep his or her nose to his or her self at all times, even if there are food, products or other interesting things readily accessible. Sniffing people, objects or food is not only rude, it’s a possible health hazard. Exceptions to this rule include Allergen Alert Dogs or other Service Dogs who rely on their nose to perform their work. However, the Service Dog’s sniffing should be directly related to task work and not random or merely “exploring.”
  • Respond quickly and readily to the handler’s commands, cues or directions. Service Dogs should give off the appearance to anyone watching that they are highly trained and that they completely understand what’s being asked of them. Service Dogs should possess outstanding obedience skills and above-average manners and both should be readily apparent. A Service Dog’s demeanor, training and behavior should, without question, differentiate them from  all but the best-trained pet dogs.
  • Be able to do pertinent task work to mitigate their handler’s disability. In order to be considered a “Service Dog” under U.S. federal law, a dog must be partnered with an individual with a disability AND perform specific, trained task work to mitigate that disability. Task work is not optional. If a dog doesn’t perform task work, she’s not a Service Dog – she’s an Emotional Support Animal and she doesn’t belong in public.


Service Dogs in Public Should NOT:

  • Urinate or defecate inappropriately. If a dog isn’t house trained, she doesn’t belong in public, Service Dog or not. For younger Service Dogs in Training, outings should be short enough to provide plenty of opportunities to make trips outside. “Accidents” are one of the few reasons a business can exclude a Service Dog team and there are no excuses for having a Service Dog who isn’t house trained. On very, very, very, very rare occasions, a Service Dog may truly be sick or have an upset belly and an accident is unavoidable, but those occurrences are definitely an exception and not to be expected from Service Dogs.
  • Whine, bark, grumble, growl or make other noises. An exception may be if the whining is an alert, such as to notify a handler who is experiencing a panic attack or a drop in blood sugar.
  • Pick food or objects up off the floor or steal (or even show much interest in) food or items that are sitting out. Exceptions to the “picking objects up off the floor” rule include dogs who retrieve dropped items for their handlers or who are otherwise doing trained task work. In general, though, Service Dogs should not interact with distractions or any kind unless cued to or otherwise working.
  • Sniff staff members, patrons, floors, tables, counters, surfaces, products, shelving or anything else unless the Service Dog is performing specific, trained task work, such as detecting allergens or other substances dangerous to their handler.
  • Drag or pull their handler for any reason, unless the dog is performing specific mobility-related task work for their handler as evidenced by the presence of a brace mobility support harness, other task-related gear or wheelchair assistance harness. A Service Dog’s behavior should never appear “out of control,” and there’s a huge difference between a Service Dog providing counter-balance for their handler by leaning into a harness and a dog who is simply dashing here and there and yanking their handler towards distractions.
  • Wander or move widely out of heel position unless cued to by their handler. While Service Dogs aren’t robots and can’t be expected to maintain exact heel position at all times, neither should they range widely enough to infringe on the space, movement or rights of other patrons or teams. Service Dogs should be responsive to their handler’s movements and focused enough to readily move with him/her without significant lags or delay. Service Dogs should not be so engaged or engrossed with the surrounding environment or distractions that they give the appearance of wandering, daydreaming, ignoring or of just being generally untrained.
  • Break “stays,” “unders,” or other fixed-position behaviors to investigate distractions, explore or other move around. Exceptions include Service Dogs who must perform task work that requires them to take the initiative to respond to their handler’s disability regardless of location or position or to retrieve assistance/medication/help. The Service Dog’s decision to break position or disobey a “stay” should be a DIRECT result of specific, trained task work. Again, there’s a huge difference between a dog who gets up because they’re bored or distracted and a Service Dog who’s obviously responding to their handler’s disability.
  • Be anxious, antsy, agitated or aggressive in any way, shape, form or fashion. A Service Dog should never make anyone interacting with her nervous or afraid because of her direct behavior. Some people are afraid of dogs or intimidated by large, dark or certain breeds of dogs, but a Service Dog’s actions should NEVER contribute to that fear. Dogs who are anxious, on edge, reactive, fearful or aggressive in ANY way do not belong in public and especially not as a Service Dog representative.
  • Stink, smell or appear unkempt/ungroomed in any way.
  • Engage with other dogs, people, children or distractions unless allowed to do so by their human partner. The key here is “allowed to do so by their human.” There’s nothing wrong with allowing a Service Dog to greet a friendly child or dog if the handler is comfortable with it, but it should be the handler’s decision and choice, not the Service Dog’s. A Service Dog should not appear overly excited, unfocused, distracted, overstimulated or otherwise out of control. There’s no defined line in the sand on this one, but it’s easy to know once you see it.
  • Jump, scratch, mouth or exhibit other “out of control” behavior. A Service Dog should NEVER exhibit rude, ill-mannered, untrained, or behaviors that are considered inappropriate or nuisances. They should NEVER infringe on other patron’s personal space in a way that appears untrained or impolite. This includes laying their head on stranger’s knees, licking hands while passing by, or leaning against the legs of the person standing next in line. It’s not “cute,” regardless of whether or not the other person provides assurances they’re “ok with it.” A Service Dog should NEVER engage in any behavior or activity that could potentially be hurtful, harmful, leave a bad taste in someone’s mouth or cause the handler to have to apologize to the recipient.

If you’re out in public and you see a “Service Dog” engaging in “should not” behaviors and it’s readily obvious the dog in question is just generally ill-mannered or not well-trained, ask to quietly speak to a manager. Let the manager know that while federal law does require them to permit access for all Service Dog teams, they’re not required to deal with dogs who aren’t ready for public access yet, and that federal law allows them to quietly ask the handler to remove the dog from the premise. Don’t challenge the team directly, but by letting the manager know federal law protects their business’ and patron’s rights to not be molested or subjected to poorly behaved Service Dogs, you’ll be paving the way towards better access rights for well-trained Service Dog teams.


Encouraging Service Dog Standards

When business owners know they have a recourse for dealing with Service Dogs who, due to their temperament, manners or lack of training, obviously shouldn’t be working in public, there’s less backlash from negative encounters with dogs showcasing unacceptable behavior. Many business owners fear excluding a poorly-behaved team due to the “must provide access, period, or you’re breaking the law” statements touted by those who drag their substandard dogs around with them in public, and with every instance their business, clients or sense of control suffers due to a bad experience, the more all teams, even well-trained and professional ones, will encounter access challenges and issues. By providing the manager with the real facts concerning Service Dog access rights, you’re empowering him or her to respond appropriately to those individuals and dogs who negatively impact or affect the Service Dog community as a whole and who cause major problems and issues for any and all real teams to follow in their wake.


Help educate businesses and protect Service Dog access rights by sharing this post

By giving businesses the tools to recognize what Service Dogs in public should and should not be doing, you’ll be helping to lessen access challenges overall for teams who have well-trained, well-mannered canine halves and educated, informed human halves. Got something to add, an experience to share or something you feel we should have considered? Tell us with a comment.







The United States Service Dog Registry (USSDR) has been helping Service Dog handlers for over 10 years. Learn more >





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Often, people who suffer from invisible disabilities have trouble advocating for themselves and their canine partners. Service Dog Standards is here to help. Learn more >














  • Heather Hawk September 3, 2013

    I think this article is dangerous. The list of “Should nots” are not all things that can or should have a service dog removed from the premises. The general public and other handlers are not the service dog police. There are only two reasons a service dog can be asked to leave: (i) The animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it; or (ii) The animal is not housebroken.

    • Service Dog September 3, 2013

      If this article was meant for the general public it would be titled differently and have different content dealing with access. But our audience isn’t the general public at all — it’s Service Dog handlers themselves.

      • Dee Robinson September 5, 2013

        Totally agree with “Service Dog”….. These dogs are trained to “serve their handlers”. They are NOT glorified pets!!!!

        • sara June 5, 2015

          I completely agree. Also the general public should respect and stop asking to pet the dog. I had a couple of incidents, one a girl kept coming trying to pet my dog even that I said no, as soon as my husband walked away from us the mother came and asked again I said no you heard me and you see her vest she is not a pet, then the lady actually accused me of making the dog ignorant to people around and teaching it not to act like a dog so I could have it all for myself and people will not pet it to what I answer yes, she is to take care of me and attempt me nobody else she is a service dog,

          • James June 17, 2016

            I most definitely agree with that I live in an apartment complex with lots of children around it is hard to train my dog to do as I say when they are running up all the time at him for coming towards him with sticks do you think a dog’s not going to run or be afraid would a human Point stressed

          • Lauren April 10, 2017

            I have had that issue. The parents don’t even care. I kept having my dog move away from the kid and the child would just not stop. Annoying. And uneducated

        • Getta June 26, 2015

          This is what upsets me so much when I read that anyone would pass off their pet dog as a service dog. No one would dream of doing this a decade ago, and I also know that we are over run with fighting dogs “rescued” many, right from the pit, and unleashed on the public. At the top of my list, are,service dogs and their fragile handlers.

        • April December 19, 2015

          Animal’s don’t act perfect trained or not, just like people. My husband has a muscular dystrophy, and hosomotos disease. But we take our well behaved lab. He knows senses his owner . I think safer, to take or be around an animal on 4 legs then 2

          • April December 19, 2015

            On different service animal sites, some people get so upset, like an example would be at Disneyland, have fun where u are, go stop being concerned about what others are doing, it’s not u business. In this dangerous world we live in more important issues to be worried about. And who knows, an animal has a sense trained or not for danger, sickness and can save ur life, while people are trying to kill us ,

      • Marcia Patrick Adams May 17, 2014

        I have to agree with Heather, I had a member of law enforcement deliberately interfere with my service dog in an attempt to intimidate me. Due to articles like this bystanders ASSUMED that the dog was acting out rather than doing her job.

        • Joseph Meep November 20, 2014

          Marcia Patrick Adams
          My guess it that you were actually lying, because you were asked to leave the premiss.
          The most likely reason is that your dog was imposing a threat on patrons or to the products.
          Look at the ADA if you don’t belive this

          • K. Hanks March 26, 2015

            The problem is, many people working with people with said “Service Dog” are credentialed via websites that provide ID’s, badges, certificates for untrained dogs, as long as you have money.

          • Nick October 12, 2015

            Hey Wanna Be Perry Mason, clearly you haven’t read the ADA either. Tool

      • Deborah June 13, 2014

        That may be true but the general public can easily see this. I do believe service dogs are held to and need to be held to a higher standard. With that said, I face the staring at times questioning looks or glares. Despite the fact that my service dog in training is very well trained. When he does do something like sniff at a shelf, he is immediately redirected or if food is picked up off the ground it is dropped. I face “stare downs” with small business owners due to lack of knowledge despite his training and my wheelchair. (He actually helps to pull my chair)

        • kathy macintyre Davidson October 25, 2014

          What type of dog is your dog? i am in a chair and would love a service dog especially when i am out….

          • lynn February 20, 2015

            My service dog is an American Eskimo Dog. we picked him since they are extremely gentle and love people and children and are an active yet small dog – they come in three sizes from the size of a pom to about 30 lbs. ours is 30 lbs. They were originally bred as circus dogs and can be easily taught to do almost anything.

          • Sue July 28, 2015

            I have had 3 Service dogs. Each have been male yellow Labrador Retrievers. The excellent personality and the people-pleaser ethic, and trainability of these guys are excellent!

          • James June 17, 2016

            My dog is a bull pit terrier he is Gator,b ourdoux, and razor edge very rare breed what the most lovable dog you’ve ever seen may I correct that one of the most he loves children but I am afraid to let him around them because of the way they approach him his tail is always wagon but at this time he is in training so one person at a time gets to pet the puppy when I explain he is not a pet they do not understand as children that is why it’s hard to let them around him if he could he would like them all over their little faces because he loves children it wants to play but I want him to learn and train

          • James June 17, 2016

            You know what really gets me what I’m having nightmares or flashbacks this puppy real rap his legs around my neck and lick my face until I am awake he has not even started training yet when i am sitting here at my home he will come put his head in my lap when I am depressed this is just a start I wish you luck I hope you find a good dog you deserve it

          • James June 17, 2016

            Well I wish you the best I am not in a chair but I love my dog and I do the best I can about keeping him very obedient can somebody please explain to me waiting moderation what does that mean is there something I’m not doing then I’m supposed to be doing on this site or can somebody not understand where I’m coming from I just know my puppies four and a half months old and he is very smart at what he does for no training at this time he is awaiting training please don’t take me the wrong way he definitely needs to be obedient around people but he will make mistakes that is to be expected if I walk into a restaurant and if I smell a gourmet steak ra pizza my nose is going to wonder

        • Sour Puss (@TLLemon) April 23, 2016

          I agree, anyone can see this article, and telling people to secretly go and tell store managers that they’re federally protected if they throw a team out? Seriously? There are so many circumstances where an outsider wouldn’t have a clue that the dog is performing a task. I understand the frustration about people passing pets off as svc dogs, but in the meantime don’t turn the disabled into isolated, home bound, depressed social rejects any more than we already are, by trying to be the Service Team Police and making up your own rules to suit your own biases.

          And it seems like the complaining people expect everyone to have a svc dog who’s gone through years of training at a cost of sometimes over $10k, thereby denying many, many disabled people the ability to have, or even have any hope of ever having one. Who has that kind of money, and many people can’t wait for years and years, and I personally can’t go to a formal class to train because of neurological disease, and I’m sure there are many others like me. My dog meets and exceeds the requirements of the law, and I mean the ACTUAL law, not your discriminatory wish-list intentionally disguised as law.

          • Roymond April 24, 2016

            This is so well put!:

            ” I mean the ACTUAL law, not your discriminatory wish-list intentionally disguised as law.”

            My dog often barks when he meets someone he likes, which is very much the same as people he recognizes are good for me to be with. One store manager keeps threatening to have him banned on the grounds that he is “scaring little children”. Well, I talked with a lady at the DoJ ADA section, and she said that while barking may be objectionable, it doesn’t count as something my dog can be ejected for, and being scared doesn’t matter at all — after all, some people are scared of self-propelled wheelchairs, but it isn’t legal to throw the wheel chair out of a store for that reason. That my dog is a living piece of “medical equipment” rather than a technological one makes no difference.

            One real issue here is that so many people think they have a right to have what others do, how others dress, etc. not bother them. They’ve forgotten that, as Ben Franklin put it, liberty is a messy thing, and in order to keep it we all have to welcome things we don’t like.

          • Amy May 12, 2016

            “…telling people to secretly go and tell store managers that they’re federally protected if they throw a team out? ”

            Did you even read the article? The writer clearly states that if you encounter a DISRUPTIVE service animal, you MAY tell the manager that they have the option to ask the human to remove the animal WHILE STILL PROVIDING SERVICES TO THE HUMAN.

            Really, are you just looking for things to be upset about?

          • Sour Puss (@TLLemon) May 17, 2016

            Yes, of course i read it. You’ve taken and quoted the statement out of context. No, I’m not just looking for things to be upset about, that would be ridiculous. Are you?

          • Melissa Novotny May 18, 2016

            I have a service dog and have been complimented many times on how well behaved he is. I will be the 1st person to tell management that they have the right to kick out dogs that are misbehaving or that are dirty or those that go to the bathroom. I totally agree don’t confront the person tell a manager. Let them deal with it. You don’t want the anger directed towards you. What if you leave and they follow you. No I will be safe. Thank you.

        • James June 17, 2016

          What was said here is the most ruthless thing I’ve heard that dog is going to sniff that’s how it learns as long as the Handler redirection did he knows if he was right or wrong but in training a dog is going to be curious it’s up to the trainer or the owner to redirect him

        • Debbie Herman June 2, 2023

          What about the employees of a public entity who are so thirsty for power that they think uts thier place to tell a disabled citizen and handler of a well behaved 10 lb. service dog that their dog is not allowed to enter because the dog is sitting on the lap of thier handler who is riding a power scooter supplied by the store. The employee knows shit obviously aand has violated by rights by harasding me and also demanding responses from me other then the 2 acceptable ada questions. My dog provides tactile stimulation related to anxiety and is trained to look for facial cues and its totally acceptable for her to not be on the floor. Can I sue? I put up with ignorant idiots all the time. Much harder for legit service dogs in this day and age due to ignorance and articles like yours only empower such people who then try to make up thier own rules based on what they don’t know or what they want to believe is a violation
          Not bases on facts.

      • Taxandria March 29, 2015

        I’ve read a couple of articles on this site about Service Dogs and when you depict a situation with a fake or badly behaving service dog, the handler so far is always female. Why is that?

      • Keith C June 12, 2015

        And just so you know its Sec.36.208 (a) (b) (c) threating the safety and health of others

      • London June 13, 2015

        I agree with service dog too. I got my service dog registered from them and someone could see this site and jut make their dog. Service dog without even training it or getting the dog to be a service dog legally. The person who made this website should put a graph that makes you enter the code that lets you know that it actually a legal service dog.

        • Dawn September 30, 2015

          I have a toy poodle. He trembles and then howls. My immediate response was to to take him to the vet, however I would have a seizure and couldn’t take him. I began having seizures when I was 30 due to brain traums. This occurred re. my pet several times. I mentioned this to my Dr. and found out he is one of the canines in a 20% tile that has this instinct. He is now a seizure alert dog w/ medical documents, bilingual, and behaves 99.9% to all laws. But I try to show his paper work and kindly try to educate them on the laws and they say only seeing eye dogs are allowed. I know the laws, what do you do when people kick you out before looking and listening. Frustrated.

          • Roymond October 2, 2015

            Get some of these:

            I bought 200 two years ago, and I’ve given away a little over half.

            Give the uninformed person a card, and take one out yourself. Read through the card, and point out that the law summarized there is all the paperwork you have to have. Then look the now-informed person in the eye and add that if the law is not complied with, you will be calling the Department of Justice and initiating a complaint that could well result in a minimum $50,000 fine.

            I’ve been through that with three businesses. It also applies to local governments; if a business calls the local police to have you removed, comply but get the officers’ names and badge numbers and make sure you give them the same information and then state your intent to go back into the business — and point out that if they remove you again, their names will be attached to the complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice. I told that to an officer one day and since then when called by a business they have told the owner or manager that the law requires my service dog to be permitted to accompany me.

            The local hospital tried the “seeing eye dog only” approach and invoked state law. I firmly but politely explained that federal civil rights law, which is where the A.D.A. falls, overrules state law — and if they insisted I follow state law, they WOULD be facing a lawsuit from the Department of Justice (I’d spoken with a DoJ ADA representative once before and she was quite emphatic that they take a very dim view of hospitals and similar institutions violating the provisions).

        • mithrandaleRoymond September 30, 2015

          A major point of the law is to keep service dogs available by not making it expensive. When my doctor and I realized that my dog was detecting anxiety attacks and PTSD episodes long before I noticed my trouble, the cheapest professional training we could find would have cost three months’ income. So I found a helpful trainer who provided guidance and advice, and between her and my doctor we got him sufficiently trained.

          There’s no way to have a legal registry without requiring professional training, and there’s no way to do that without defeating the purpose of the law.

        • James June 17, 2016

          I do agree with what you’re saying 100% because of that situation it makes it hard for a person that really needs a service dog to get one that’s one very important to me to get my dog trained the proper way but I do think he will still make mistakes here and there it’s like a human we all do remember he’s not a pet he’s also not a robot

      • stephanie August 26, 2015

        To say a service dog has to be silent at all times is ignorant. I am a college student and my service dog has to lay down through long classes which usually leads to him falling asleep and he kind of snores, but it is no louder than a fat person breathing. He shouldnt be expected to be quiter than an average person who is not talking. Like sounds made when changing positions are inevitable and whining when he needs to relieve hinself is a good thing. No person is ever fully quiet and no service dog should be expected to be. I get no barking or excessive, disruptive noises but it is still a living thing and noises happen. Especially sleep toots.

        • Kate June 7, 2016

          Mine does a “moanie groany” when stretching (*you* try lying on hard floors all that time) and resettling. It’s also part of her “I’m being very patient but you need to get home soon” signal, one of the ways she helps me. It’s always been part of her vocabulary but was repurposed by her.

          • Sour Puss (@TLLemon) June 11, 2016

            Mine is a mobility and medical alert dog. When she knows I’m getting “sick” she alerts me, without sound, but if i don’t leave wherever i am she’ll become increasingly agitated until i do. (She’s all of 12lbs.) She makes sounds kind of like puppy sounds when she’s agitated. The electrical activity in my brain is very evident to her and she knows how bad the attack will be and the level of incapacitation I’ll have if i don’t get to a safe place. I can only go out for medical stuff anyway, it’s not like I’m ever sitting in a restaurant, movie, etc.

            Frankly, most people like her sounds but i don’t care if her sounds bother anyone, she’s potentially saving my life when she does this because i have cognitive impairment and don’t always realize or remember 2 seconds later that i have to leave, her behavior/sounds are part of her alerting. I also don’t care if people here think she should be quiet about it.

      • Douglas September 9, 2015

        I’m a business owner trying to educate myself and figure out how to deal with customers that lie about their dogs ability or service status. Without disrespecting legitamit service dogs.
        This is a serious problem
        How am I supposed to protect my customers and honor legit service dogs.

        • Labradoodle January 20, 2022

          Thank you for doing that, it’s really hard when people don’t even try to educate themselves. Here’s 10 ways to tell if it’s a fake SD.
          1. They’re being pushed in a cart or carried(unless a
          diabetic alert dog)
          2. They’re not on a leash(unless it directly interferes with a
          3. They are pulling on the leash
          4. They are barking or whining at distractions
          5. They are sniffing everything
          6. They have indoor “accidents”
          7. They steal food
          8. They look anxious or agitated
          9. They seek attention
          10. They are aggressive
          My dog is trained to do a “take down” when I’m having a panic attack and I have been fake spotted because he has to jump on me to get me down. It’s definitely hard to spot fakes because you can’t ask what a handler’s disability is. If the dog is not being well mannered its a clear sign though.
          Good Luck and I really hope this helps!
          Have a nice day!!

      • Victoria December 12, 2015

        Thank you. I have been wanting to have my dog trained and registered as a service animal since her first week home with me. She comes to me when I am overly stressed or panicked and on the verge of an attack. I was hesitant because I didn’t want to be seen as ignorant and just wanting to take my pet everywhere with me so I’ve been forcing pills down my throat and making her depressed as a result. I have no energy to do things. I’ve been weaning myself off of my medication and when I feel an attack she comes running. She is very well trained but as with every 6 mo old there are kinks to be worked out. I was going to train her as a normal pet but after reading this I will try to find people to help me train her to spot my allergies and fine-tune her “anxiety radar”, that’s what we call it.

      • McKenna Burleson February 14, 2017

        Does a service dog half to be fixed before 6 months I herd that and I’ve herd other things but I belive it’s wrong to fix a dog it’s part of myour believes

        • Pam October 23, 2017

          While you aren’t required to have a service dog fixed, I had mine fixed because I did not want to be walking with my dog when she was in heat and be worried about a male dog coming after her.

      • Roxanne January 11, 2018

        I have bppv and had for 10 months now I have episodes out of no where but I wanted to know if ppl with bppv and stress and panic attacks are able or should have a service dog my mom said I’m not legal or whatever for one but I thought a doctor is to say if I can or not not my mom even if she used to be a nurse and my landlady said I can’t have a dog in her home no matter what it is cause it could damage the place and i got a cat if i was ok to have a service dog I would have to wait till I have no pets but now a days I’m worried I may have a episode while I’m out and not know it was coming like I have before and my mom won’t try and see if I’m legal or not to have one I was so sick cause of it 10 months ago that I ended up in hospital to see what was wrong

    • Trish Councell September 3, 2013

      I agree with Heather. Unfortunately there is no way to guarantee this article won’t make it to the public. I found it on FB.

      • jan November 10, 2014

        I found this article on the website and it disappoints me.

        a service dog provides the tasks that the person with the disability cannot provide on their own it maintains their independence

        go to your national website ADA service dogs
        for the legal information
        of business owners and ADA service animals

        the author of the article made assumptions based on personal experiences

        because you had a bad experience therefore you judge it that I have to live your higher standard

        people read this article and make assumptions that they are now educated I walk into a store or business with my service animal which is highly trained but very small and people immediately make an assumptions because they are trying to understand

        the author of this article may train dogs but does not walk in my shoes or ride in my wheelchair

        • Joseph Meep November 20, 2014

          And you aren’t a bystander watching some person in a wheelchair letting their dog sniff everything and cause direct damage to the surroundings

          • Elizabeth S November 15, 2015

            Joseph, I am intrigued by your assumption that those of us concerned with the consequences of this article do not handle our dogs well. I have never been kicked out of a public space due to my dog but I do get questioned sometimes before I even walk in the door, simply because I am walking, and clearly not blind, deaf etc. There is a lot of ignorance and it is a valid concern that articles like this can add fuel to the fire. At the same time, I do get pissed when I am in public with my service dog and I run into someone with a “service dog” who tries to interact with my working dog. This isn’t play time, I have stuff to do, quit faking and stop bringing your pet in a costume in public. I just don’t think there is the need to assume everyone who disagree’s is either a poor handler or has a poorly trained dog.

          • Roymond November 16, 2015

            I have to agree with Elizabeth.

            Despite the fair number of obvious fakes I’ve encountered, I’ve yet to see ANY claimed SD “sniff everything and cause direct damage to the surroundings”. The closest I’ve seen to any damage was a SD that peed on a stack of car batteries in boxes at a NAPA store — and in that case, the store personnel apologized to the dog’s owner, because the store owner’s dog had peed there that morning and then another (non-SD) dog had done the same and the employee responsible for cleaning such things up hadn’t yet done so.

            I did catch my Bammer last month sniffing at something in the dog toy & treat section of the store. When I reprimanded him, it got the attention of a stock boy, who grinned at me and said, “That one’s new”. Though he shouldn’t have sniffed it at all, and hasn’t done so since, it fascinates me that he reacted to the one new scent out of hundreds. Sure, my trainer said he can remember a bigger “vocabulary” of smells than most humans can of words, but it’s still is impressive.

            Maybe I could train him to find new items for me in stores…. 😉

        • ET Green November 24, 2014

          I often go to a senior center for lunch. A lady I know allows her dog (small) to sit on a chair by the table. The chair is not pulled all the way up to the table but is fairly close. I feel the dog should be taught to sit under the ladies chair or at least on the floor during lunch. The lady is in a wheel chair. I love the little dog and am friends with the owner but am uncomfortable about it by the table while we are eating. The dog is fairly well behaved but does have some discipline problems. Nothing too serious.

          • Catherine February 24, 2015

            ET Green, your concerns are absolutely legitimate.

            Service dogs should NEVER sit on a chair at the table in a senior center, restaurant, movie theater, or even an airplane, even if you pay for an extra seat. The director of the center should have already addressed this but since he or she hasn’t, by all means ask that the woman be admonished to keep the dogs off the chairs. This behavior is not “cute”. This is unsanitary in the extreme. The rule of thumb for SD’s is “4 on the floor” unless they are performing a specific task, That means the dog should be on the floor, should not put paws up on furniture or people unless performing a very specific task for the handler.

          • Jahna Derr July 5, 2015

            Ok, here’s the thing with furniture and a Service Dog’s use of it. There is NO LAW that says a service dog MUST stay on the floor, or under a table, etc. As long as the dog is out of the aisles where foot traffic is, and not blocking another person’s path, it is legit.
            It is up to the businesses in question to allow or not allow a service dog to be on a chair or in someone’s lap if they are small dogs, etc. Just as it’s up to a store to allow or not allow a dog in a shopping cart.

            Now MOST service dog handlers are aware of what is considered common courtesy and won’t put their dogs on furniture or in shopping carts. “Four on the Floor” is what most of us abide by. Now, the exceptions to this is a smaller medical alert dog who needs to get the attention of their handler may have to jump up on a chair or into their handler’s lap to accomplish getting that attention.

            My service dog happens to be a german shepherd dog, and there’s no way he’ll fit in a chair or shopping cart anyways. 😀

          • The Liz Lemon July 5, 2015

            Thanks for that info, I’d actually never thought about it. But I never go anywhere that has chairs except for to doctors offices. My service dog is a Lhasa Apso and is a medical alert and mobility dog, and one time I left her on the chair when I had to sit on the exam table. The doctor didn’t mind at all, but the MA seemed concerned when we were leaving and I said, oh, she drooled on the chair. It might’ve been because she asked me what she’d done again, afraid she’d peed, but when I’m in migraine/vertigo the dog is agitated, hence the panting & drooling. Again, it didn’t bother the doctor at all. But I will be more considerate going forward! I guess I’m so focused on not passing out or falling over and trying to speak coherently, eye contact with my dog makes me feel more stabilized.

          • Roymond November 16, 2015

            It’s worth checking local health code on this. One of the big stores here recently posted signs plus little notices on all the shopping carts saying no dogs in the carts, with a reference to health code. That can apply to all sorts of places where food is involved.

            Just to illustrate, my dog is allowed to be on the benches at grocery stores, but not on the seats in the deli; he can be on furniture in the visitor area of the local hospital, but not the patient waiting area. Sometimes lines that fine are drawn by local law.

          • Pam October 23, 2017

            My service dog is a very small dog and she lays on a blanket on the booth next to me. She really cannot do her job on the floor where she cannot see me. She also rides in the grocery cart since she is not safe on the floor with all the carts and people who don’t notice her. She rides with a blanket draped over the seat so that she does not actually touch the surface of the cart. She is much cleaner than the drooling babies with dirty diapers who ride in the cart.

          • Anything Pawsable Staff October 24, 2017

            Hi Pam, Service Dogs should remain on the floor, regardless of size. They should never sit in seats or be placed in shopping carts or other areas where food may go.

        • Chantel December 1, 2014

          I think some commenting on this are really a tad over sensitive Did you actually read the article?

          I work in service and that is how I found this article. I went searching for laws etc.. a customer came into where I work with a SD wearing a vest that said PTSD. It was evident he was well trained we had even forgotten that he was there.
          Then another employee informed us that it wasn’t an actual SD, it was an emotional support dog (tho I found through reading that it was an SD) and that we didn’t have to let it in under law. We all agreed that it didn’t matter that dog is welcome at any time.
          Then she informed us she got online and bought a certificate/ID for her little untrained FeeFee. dog that jumps around like a crazed rabbit, never stops barking/screeching, biting anyone it comes into contact with one. I was shocked, and actually quite irritated that she could really do that! it seemed to dismiss the legitimacy and actual need of the real SD…and frankly I just didn’t believe her. So I went investigating!

          I believe this article is actually a GOOD thing for the general public to see..It lets them know that some of these “service dogs” out there..are giving the real SD a bad name and that they don’t have to put up with fake untrained SD that disturb other guests and crew. And maybe some of you wont get glares or dirty looks when you walk in with your well trained SD.
          If you have a legit SD their basic training alone is far above the average house dog so aside from the occasional rude wouldn’t have to worry about restaurants (where I see most complaints) frowning at SD coming in. You most definitely can tell if a dog is in “training” or doing his “job” as opposed to an untrained dog doing whatever. sometimes the SD is going to make mistakes, but as long as they aren’t continuously disturbing the other patrons. Its not a big deal.

          As a member of the “general public” and manager in the service industry It makes me feel better to know there can be some control over the situation and all my customers can enjoy their visit!.

          The article tells people what is and what is not acceptable behavior from REAL handlers and trainers and real SD. I have seen some dooseys out there!
          I don’t think the majority go out of their way to discriminate against people with disabilities I do think the majority really dislike people who take advantage of the system for personal gain,,and can be pretty cynical when it comes to things like this..With a restaurant full of people you are bound to find a few that do not like it regardless. But if you come in with a well behaved SD. The masses will support you!

          • Luann Kearney March 10, 2015

            Chantel: I really like your views on SD. I live in a 60 unit complex. A woman lives here that supposedly has a SD. It is a big black lab about 80 pounds. I have had 2 incidents with her one in August, I did absolutely nothing to provoke the dog, she was not aware of me coming out a door to where she was sitting because the dog was behind the chair she was sitting in.) The dog lunged at me, started barking at me and I stepped back away from the dog because that scared me. The handler did get up and try and refrain the dog, but by this time it was too late and I was already afraid. The handler never said a word to me. Than k God that the dog did not bite me. I walked back into the building and several other residents said that I should report this to the manager of the complex. I did but to no avail. I have gone on the internet trying to find out (ADA) when a SD is supposed to wearing a service vest indicating that it is working. I got no where. The handler rarely has a vest on the dog so we don’t know when it is working and who determines when it is working. The handler will not answer any question anyone asks her and yes I know that there are certainly some questions that she does not have to answer because of the laws that protect her. BUT I don’t understand what the big deal is about answering questions about the vest.
            Then in December after talking to other residents that knew what happened in August, sometimes the subject came up about this woman and her dog. Questions were discussed among us. Several days later ( again I did nothing to her) and she approached me in our common area living room and started yelling at me, swearing at me and telling me that if I did not stop questions “HER” friends about why she has the dog and what service it provides, she is going to kick me in the ass. I asked her if that was a threat, and she said you bet your life it is. I was very upset and I immediately went to the manager and reported it. I put in a full written complaint like I did for the first one and could not believe what happened next. Three days later I received a written 5 – day notice to rectify the problem or vacate within 5 days. I spoke with the manager who told me that the owner of the complex feels that since I spoke back to this woman with the SD, that I participated in the situation and I was just as much at fault. I was upset and the day that it happened I called the police. They suggested that I file charges since this is the second time something has happened between us. She was charged with disorderly conduct and arrested and taken to the police department, finger printed and photographed. She was also given a 5-day eviction notice . We have been instructed my the police and our manager to avoid each other. The is not working out either since I feel I have avoided her and without getting into anymore I have reported in writing to the manager the times that she has not avoided me. This is such a mess and I don’t know where to turn to.

            I hope I am not boring you but do you have any suggestions that would help me and who I could call that I have already called but gotten no where to get any information. You seem to know what you are taking about . I appreciate any help you can give me. By the way I am 68 years old, disabled and I don’t need this crap in my life. If you know what I mean. I also have an adorable dog who is well trained and could run circles around that black lab as far as behavior

          • Cathy March 11, 2015

            A Service Dog, by law, does not need to wear a vest. You have no right to demand an answer of why the dog is needed or why he doesn’t wear a vest. I have a Hearing Dog/Service dog. I live in apartments too. My dog never wears his vest unless we are in a store or restaurant. My service dog is ALWAYS working. This woman does not have to have a vest on her dog, especially at home just because you say she needs to. Her dog is probably always working like mine does. Few where I live even know mine is a service dog.

            I don’t agree with the dog growling and lunging, or the woman’s attitude, but I definitely don’t agree with you wanting the dog to always wear a vest, or you demanding answers that you have no right to. I would not answer your questions either if I was in her shoes. Asking why she needs the service dog is asking her what her disability is. It’s none of your or the other residents business.

            My advice: Leave the woman alone and STOP with the wearing the vest all the time crap. No one can tell you when it’s working and when its not. Just assume the dog is always working.

          • songs4silence March 11, 2015

            This commented is directed at Luann – since I can’t reply to her directly, its falling under you Chantel, SO I will address both.

            1. You can ask a biting or out of control “Service Dog” to leave, at any time. It says this in the ADA Service dog link below.

            2. Chantel – absolutely with you – so sick of people slapping on vests on their ESAs and claiming SD status. It makes my life miserable, I live in California – land of the annoying jerk harassing you …an I am SICK of answering 20 questions. Not cool, no way shape or form – but I blame the fact that there really is a woefully sad amount of education presented to the general public. I also think the sellers of such ‘registry’ items, should be put out of business for fraudulent reasons. No registry – there should be no ‘official’ certified ‘items’ available for sale. Anything not claiming to be “certification” is fair game, but not “certified items”. NO SUCH THING AS A FEDERAL/STATE CERTIFICATION.

            3. Not all SDs fit the mold of the ‘model’ behavior listed on this site as Chantel mentioned – I thank you for having that attitude. No dog is perfect, but unless its out of control or a problem, it is what it is. My dog alerts to serious medical conditions with more than a nudge. I also have friends who have seizure alert dogs who don’t just nudge – they really make the handler aware that something is going on – and I have never seen that questioned when something as serious as a seizure is being alerted to. Other conditions can be just as dangerous. That is no less legitimate. Be sure of that. There is no “LAW” on alerts – Hence you will not find it here on ANY legal documentation. No program documentation, or best practice…but the ADA/FHAA – the real authority. I have discussed this at length with ADA hotline workers well versed in the law as well as my personal civil attorney.


            Now, On to Luann,

            First off, the size of the SD is not the issue here – she could have a 200lb St. Bernard. That is her prerogative, not yours. Fear or allergies are not an excuse. That is law.

            Secondly, From what you said, the handler immediately took control of the dog – you are assuming it would have bit you – what if the dog was trained as a PTSD dog to alert to people coming up behind her? Lunging is not acceptable, but those are things you have to think about. If she intervened, immediately – she has not committed a crime and cannnot be told to leave because you’re scared the dog will bite you. This is a proof based system, not inference.

            Thirdly, stirring up all the residents – is a low act. You are trying to lobby everyone on your side and get her punished – which if was done to you, you would surely see as discrimination, which is illegal when it comes to Service Dogs.

            Forth, the issue you had with her, that resulted in the dispute and ultimately the notice for you both to vacate, has nothing to do with the dogs – more your behavior as well as hers. Lets be clear on that. You indeed did participate in the matter and therefore you are as guilty regarding the ‘verbal assault’ as she is. The police advised you to avoid each other – that didn’t happen, so basically the deal has become that if you two can’t get along – then you both have to go. That does not have a thing to do with the Service Dog’s behavior, rather the handler’s and your own. Frankly, the manager is probably ignoring you because they are sick of the entire situation. Not showing preferential treatment to the woman with the Service Dog – if they were on top of it enough to warn both of you without fearing issues from the woman with the SD, I doubt they are unaware of their legal rights or are intimidated into dealing with it – as you said, they gave her notice to. Based on the incident where you two went at each other.

            Fifth, do YOU have a SD? Why do you have a dog on the premises? Is it a no dog’s complex? Or do you just have a nice pet dog?

            If its the latter, that is a completely different scenario? Why couldn’t you just cut your losses and stay away from the issue?

          • Mel April 23, 2015

            I am a Grocery Store owner in a very bad, Rough neighborhood, due to the overwhelming amount of customers entering with their dog stating it is a service dog, we have had to call their bluff, and have told them to remove the Dog. these dogs have exhibited many or all the untrained bad behavior listed in this article, The public is not stupid and if they want to take their pet every where they go they just lie and do so every day. As a Grocery store owner I have had customers bring in unruly dogs and other customers have left because they are fearful of dogs, to have a dog or (pit bull for instance) approach them or bark they leave in a hurry. The Laws that are meant to Protect the SD have actually created this problem of people impersonating Service Dogs in an alarming number, in fact more fake them than those who really have a trained SD. sorry to say it but it is true you know and we know it takes a min. of 2 years to train a SD and a lot of money so before you get totally upset with the businesses and Stores you really have all the liers and fakers to blame, they have turned what should be a wonderful thing into a way to abuse the laws, They know there is no real consequence for doing so. I love Dogs animals of all kinds but I know they have a place and it is not in a restaurant or Grocery store. I do take my dogs to Pets Mart, Dog parks, Camping, Walks, to hotels that allow them, even traveled by plane with my Yorkie Yes I paid the fee and didn’t lie to get her on free. but they stay home while I shop and eat out locally and abroad. I do bring them home treats and goodies cause I love them but I leave them at home it is better than taking them out in 100 degree weather and 250 degree asphalt burning their feet.

      • Joseph Meep November 20, 2014

        You idiot

      • a. t. Woodward October 4, 2015

        We have a lady in the building that we are staying at, who says her dog is a service dog.
        The place has a no pet policy, unless it is a service dog. I don’t have any problem at all with that.
        This dog has went on barking sprees in the middle of the night, which other guests are complaining about. She is on the second floor, and there are times that it been loud enough for us to hear it on the third floor.
        She will take it out in the parking lot and let it run around off the leash.
        Three days ago it ran up to my fiance, when she went out to the car and began growling ng and barking at her. It wasn’t on a leash at the time.
        That same day, my fiance and our girls were going out to get into her grandma’s car, when the owner could easily see that out three year old daughter was scared to death of it, as with all dogs, but the owner let out more slack out on the leash so the dog could get closer. My fiance said something to the lady, and the lady called her a “bi—“!
        The protection of my family is worth more than any dog.
        The management says their hands are tied due to her saying that it is a “service dog”, no matter the complaints.
        What can be done?

    • wonderdog training September 3, 2013

      yes but they are telling you how a service dog SHOULD behave.As a trainer all my service dogs behave this way

    • Karen Schenke July 7, 2014

      This comment is idiotic. The reasons you gave are exactly what the writer explained.

    • Kim August 22, 2014

      This is per the ADA gov’t web site. I work in a hotel in Las Vegas and we get people all the time bringing in their personal pets saying they are “service dogs”. We are allowed to ask two questions.
      When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask
      two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform.
      Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require
      a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to
      perform the work or task.

      The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

      • Roymond September 30, 2015

        I definitely appreciate that businesses cannot ask for a demonstration of the service provided, because my dog won’t do it unless it’s necessary.

        • Lisa December 4, 2015

          Roymond, good for you. I have a mixed terrier that is my SD. Sam goes everywhere with me and has saved my life at least 10 times. He is trained to hit my lifeline button then runs to the phone and when they start talking he just keep barking and they know him well. He is trained to bark at anyone he doesn’t know that comes near me and alerts me when someone is close by because of previous physical abuse I endured. He pulls my manual wheelchair as I have no strength in my arms and then does the same with my motorized wheelchair even though he doesn’t need to. If I have good day and somewhat walking with braces on legs he pulls me the other way if he senses I am falling. If my sugar is low he lets me know. Do I have to fall and let him push my button to show someone? Hell no! I don’t hsve to prove anything to anyone!

    • Terry McCormack October 9, 2014

      The letter of the “Law” is vague when it comes to service dogs. It is open to interpretation as technically the dog does not need to be trained at all other than to mitigate the disability to be considered a “Service Dog”.

      I found this article to be a deicent opinion of what the dog should and should not do.

      I feel the only “dangerous” thing here is people that push back at the possibility of suggesting a real standard for service dogs that will help clean up the fraud exercised by disabled and non disabled persons alike.

      • The Liz Lemon June 28, 2015

        Agreed that the fraudulent SDs are a real problem but I see the biggest, most “dangerous” problem as being the discrimination towards the disabled BY the sanctimonious-minded disabled. It’s RAMPANT.

        If you’re doing okay in your life, why not devote a little time or resources to your fellow disabled who are less fortunate and in need of help? Especially those with TBIs or other cognitive impairment, making everything so much more difficult to accomplish.

        Not everyone has thousands of dollars and years to wait for a dog literally just so they can make it out to buy food. I trained my Lhasa according to the law and then some, and luckily she has great manners and is very tuned into my illness and focused.

    • Isabelle Guthrie February 8, 2015

      This is a very dangerous line to draw. Here in Florida we have a huge problem with people using the service dog designation as an excuse to take ‘Fido” anywhere they like. Some will purchase capes, patches, and fake I.D.’s and registration cards in order to ‘force’ condo boards, apartment complexes, etc. with No Pets policies to allow their dogs. I have had these ‘fake’ and or/ poorly trained dogs bark, growl and lunge at my Service dog in restaurants, church, stores etc. Their ‘handlers’ are usually older couples using age related issues as their claim to disability.
      All too often these dogs are poorly groomed, small breed dogs, with no manners or obvious training to speak of.
      And yet business owners and law enforcement are so concerned with the constant threat of law suits that they hesitate to act except in the most egregious of situations.

      A true Service dog will have extraordinary behavior, will be as quiet and unobtrusive so as to almost be invisible.
      It will not sit on a seat at a restaurant or cafe to be fed from the table. It will not be dressed in any cute costume other that a professional service dog cape, harness, etc. It will not seek food or attention from anyone but its’ handler without the handlers command. It will respond to the handlers’ commands promptly at all times. It will not bark, growl or whine except in response to its’ specific training triggers. Will not snap, growl, snarl, or bite an any human or dog without obvious provocation. Service Dogs are not always perfect in their behavior, but should make their training obvious to all by being better behaved, calmer, and more focused. than other dogs in any given situation.

      I like to think that if there was more publicity referring to the laws, fines and other consequences of perpetrating fraud by lying in regard to whether a pet is actually a trained service dog and the differences between service dogs, therapy dogs, emotional support dogs and so on and more information available for business owners and those responsible for enforcing the ADA guidelines things would be much easier for those of us fighting discrimination in our everyday lives.

      • Cathy Spade February 8, 2015

        Thank you Isabelle. The fake service animals and comfort dogs are a very big problem in the Los Angeles area as well. And recently there has been concern over a new and small [but growing] trend of dog owners to refuse to vaccinate their dogs. So these fake service dogs are not only sometimes poorly behaved, often poorly groomed or picked up after, sometimes unsafe getting underfoot and in the way of other customers causing trips; but now we may see an increased spread of disease and health risk to other dogs and humans if they refuse to vaccinate.

      • Baylee February 9, 2015

        The only thing I disagree with is a SD can be dressed up. Especially for teens, dressing the dog in a silly costume can brighten their day and make their lives just a little bit better. I’ve dressed my SD up on bad days so when I look at him I can only smile. It’s all up to the handler how the dog is dressed, lat it be nothing, a vest, or a full now costume. It’s like putting stickers on a wheelchair, the doesn’t mean that it’s none the less a wheelchair.

        • Roymond September 30, 2015

          “Dress up” that enhances the dog’s service is fine. My dog gets a Santa hat during the Christmas season because that bit of frivolity brightens my mood and thus mitigates my disability.

          It’s difficult to make hard and fast rules about such peripherals. For example, I got told today by a store employee that “Service dogs don’t bark”. Well, he had just given a set of light barks that told me someone we’d encountered was a good/safe person. He wasn’t trained to do that; it came naturally — but my doctor said it was definitely a helpful behavior, just as the deeper bark that tells me “Bad person!”

    • Catherine February 24, 2015

      Heather, as a service dog owner, I absolutely disagree with you and I applaud the author who has addressed a very serious and all too common problem. Too many people slap a “service vest” on their pet and use it to bring their pet where pets have no place being. A service dog is not a pet and should not behave like a pet; their behavior is held to a much higher standard. This article provides valuable information about how a properly trained service dog should behave in public and it explains to the public and to business owners and managers what their rights are.

      Properly trained service dogs have no problem adhering to the guidelines that Ms. Grace has listed. In fact, what she says the public can expect of a service dog is straight out of the guidelines established by Assistance Dogs International. You can read all of their guidelines and standards for service dogs here:

      Service dogs have no rights; it’s the handler who has rights under the ADA. But the handler has responsibilities as well. A handler needs to be in control of his service animal at all times. If a dog that is represented to be a service dog and the handler does not properly control his/her dog, if the dog does not display proper service dog behavior, if the dog is disruptive to the business, if the dog annoys other customers or attempts to steal or beg food, if the dog urinates or defecates in inappropriate places, or if the dog barks, whines, growls or shows any signs of aggression, patrons should report their concerns to the manager and the manager or business owner who should ask the handler to remove their dog from the premises.

      It’s my experience as a person who has a service dog that the majority of the dogs who do not meet the service dog guidelines for behavior are not legitimate service dogs. They are the poorly mannered, often untrained dogs of people who feel they are entitled to bring their ill-mannered pets wherever they want, regardless of the laws, and they have absolutely no compunctions about putting a vest on a dog and pretending it’s a service dog when in fact, it’s nothing more than a poorly behaved pet. And yes, the public and business owners and managers do have the right to “police” this kind of behavior because it poses safety hazards to all patrons.

      • Ambra January 16, 2016

        My SD was yelled at and I had a manager of the store ask me if she was a “REAL” SD…all because the guy who yelled first came up behind us reached for my dog..this startled me and my dog responded by inserting herself between us he was so close she (a smallish 30 pound dog) wouldn’t fit without pushing on him. when he refused my request to step back…my dog then growled…he reported that my “FAKE” service dog was yes even a growl is sometimes an appropriate response…I have PTSD and him backing us into a corner was what was setting me off…my dog took the only option that man left us… just saying..

    • digiphot2 September 16, 2015

      A lot of effort put into Ms. Grace’s article. I agree with the last contributor, though, in so much as making any sort
      of conclusion on the ADAA III Service Dog Provision is a very slippery slope and best left to attorneys. This is serious stuff, which is NOT to say perceived violation of civil rights regarding service dogs should not be dealt with to the
      full extent of the law; The agencies and instruments to do that are already in place, so it would be potentially
      disastrous for a disabled person or a “civilian,” to do lawyers’ work here by interpreting the law or creating
      their own legal code for public use.

    • tracy October 13, 2015

      that is EXACTLY what the article said!

    • charles November 3, 2015

      There are to many people say there certified on this and that on dog trianing or service dog title 28 says an certiftion is not required reason because there is not such thing if there was then every person in the US would have to get certified through a proper organization just to house break there dog because that is called training. Also all these websites that post what a service dog should do or not do are wrong the law says task or work of the persons disabilities, what you think may be out of control another person may think differently. As long as the handlers are correcting the dog you can’t say there out of control you have no idea what there disabilities are and task which noone can ask of not even the police read the disability guide act rights. What needs to happan is in sted of trying to post or say that you are a certified person or an organization which once again not required just your perseption of what a service dog should be like your just giving your opinion there is no law that breaks down the actions of the service dog itself. People have the right to post there opinion on the Internet and verbally but that does not make you the law. Just like the vest tags. ID you don’t have to have it because people with disabilities don’t have to a nonsense they are disabled that is there right. So before you says what a service dog should do or not do read up people civil right, and patients act rights if you tell people they need a certifcation or be certified you just violated there civil rights and in violation of title 28 federal law, disability rights. When a organization or person post something about what service dogs do they use words like should if you are tell people directly this is what the law says and this is the way I would be careful you may find yourself in a court room. I wish people would stop posting things on the websites what they thing and post what the facts are if you are saling a service dog vest or ID its your right but not required because if it was then the federal government would have to issue them and quilify the trainers to be certified which would cost to much money thats why the federal law says what it says. Also what college degree is dog trianing under and what credited school provides this if you find it please let me know. I think I said enough so please educate yourself not just on the service dog educate yourself on all laws that pertain to RIGHTS.

    • John reed December 3, 2015

      My 7 year old daughter is very allergic to dogs. Thanks Giving day we had to go to 3 different restaurants do to people bringing their dogs puppies that are not service dogs in to these places and lying and saying they are. Here in Palm Beach County this is become more than just a problem. I also work at a restaurant where these people bring their dogs in that are doing everything wrong barking snapping defecating urinating eating food not listening to commands and smell bad. In the two years I’ve worked at the specific restaurant I have never seen one seeing eye dog come in there not because we don’t want them there only because there are so few in the area. But the way people are abusing these laws is ridiculous

    • Btiney May 13, 2016

      This article should be entitled ignorant woman gives stupid people an excuse to exaggerate anything the animal does as excuse to violate the rights of people with disabilities and their animals. I have never once seen an unkempt service dog or service dog that is not house broken. In order for a sevice dog to be certified they undergo months of training. Nothing on your should not list would ever pass certification. As for having to scratch you’re a nutt. Even a human scratches their arm in public occasionally. A dog having an itch in no way presents as untrained or unkempt. As a disabled person this really makes me angry. Any moron can see articles like this and say oh the dog did this or this to justify making the dog leave because no matter what they don’t want an animal in their business.

    • Britney May 13, 2016

      This article is going to doj absolutely nothing but cause trouble. There are going to be rude people who will see this and use it as an excuse not to let a service dog in. I have never seen an unkempt or untrained service dog. A dog like what is described would never become certified. As far as a dog scratching people scratch when they itch does it mean they or nasty or have fleas. Really this article is nothing but a trouble maker. Trying to say it is only for handlers is not true. It’s out here where anyone can see it basically giving a list of accusations to someone to try to justify making a person remove their service dog. We all know there are people that will make false accusations just to get their way.

    • Cameron May 13, 2016

      No the law also says they can be asked to leave if they deficate or urinate

      • Roymond May 22, 2016

        Cameron, that’s what being housebroken means!

    • ted March 30, 2017

      Can a service dog that is very large 100 lbs++ and not fit under the table be allowed to lay in a pathway inside a restaurant, impeding customers, workers and customers in wheelchairs ? Can it be relocated to another area f the restaurant like a covered patio area where it can have room and customers attain the same service and comfort-ability thanks

      • Nancy June 14, 2017

        I have friends with Great Danes and they are service animals and we’re trained under the guidance of a Master Certified dog trainer and usually those dogs do go underneath the table unless the table is too small in which case they put the animal in a place command without impeding the walkway of other customers.

    • Sarah July 2, 2022

      Agreed. Definitely a dangerous article. I have had organizations/businesses use these common misconceptions to exclude my dog and harass me. Please read the ADA itself as well as their section on common questions.

    • Colin March 21, 2023

      This is a general comment from s veteran guide dog handler. Guide dogs are highly energetic dogs, or they couldn’t do their jobs. Guide and service dogs can get distracted whether you say so or not. They are dogs. it takes up to a year for the team to work smoothly, but a dog may pull a more than normal because they want to get away from another dog or a situation that makes them feel uncomfortable. Read “Going Forward,” a book written by a long-time veteran guide dog trainer who knows what she is talking about and edit this article.
      Additionally, if this article is not meant for the general public why did you placf it on the Internet?

    • Jason Norman July 22, 2023

      So anyone notice the 2 advertisements for service animal registration directly below the article? When we all know there is no registry for service animals in the US. At least no lawfully recognized registry. Additionally, my service animal is a PTSD service dog. He recognizes and stops or brings to my attention certain behaviors and triggers of PTSD. Hypervigilance, crowds and crowded spaces, loud noises, etc. He reacts to each of these in different manners. Hypervigilance is brought to my attention by a paw or anything else that will stop my behavior and direct attention to him. He will alert me to known triggers in my environment by placing himself between me and the trigger, sometimes vocally gaining my attention. Throughout the course of his training he has developed a “whatever works” attitude. For instance, during a very heated and loud argument with a rather unhinged individual my service dog noted that his standing between us and his usual methods of action didn’t gain my attention. He bolted, snatching the leash from my grasp and he rain out of sight around the corner of the building. I of course pursued him. I rounded the corner to find him sitting there quite smug and pleased with himself as he had on his own produced the desired response which was to remove me from the triggering situation and it wasn’t even an option he’d been trained for. But contrary to the above article he is very vocal as he’s a husky and also because that is one of the ways that he directs my attention to him and away from the behavior or negative stimulus. He also spends a good deal of his time very interested in the world around us as he is always actively scanning for triggers of my condition. These change and evolve. I noticed recently that after an unleashed dog charged at us aggressively and I practically panicked as a response he now alerts me to other dogs and has even begun to vocalize their presence with a unique sound of his own. Therefore you see, despite the extensive training and conditioning some service dogs are going to display what some consider unprofessional behavior. When I take my dog for a walk or to relieve himself he’s off the clock. He sniffs and investigates and even gives the occasional tug against the lead. His real work happens primarily when I’m alone as that’s when I was having the worst time prior to his help. I have begun to relax regarding the petting by others as being the gregarious husky he is he very much wanted petting and I have found that it serves as an ice breaker and relaxing stimuli for me and those around me lending additional peace and calm inside myself as well as to my surroundings. After all, isn’t that the entire point to begin with for my PTSD service dog? Provide better quality of life by their actions for those of us requiring it. His work and dedication has been a blessing of tremendous proportions. I no longer need expensive medications with horrible side effects and little efficacy. I no longer have horrible night terrors. I have made great headway with his help. To the point that the most stressful occasions now are the interactions with self appointed service animal police and business owners that refuse to obey the law knowing that there’s not a lot we can do short of suing with a lawyer as no police or other entity actively forces compliance at least that I’ve encountered or been made aware of. So if we’re denied service the only recourse is a legal action which is not going to put that denied accommodation over our heads that night, nor gain service at that establishment etc. Making forcing compliance a task for lawyers and courts and nothing really being done when we actually have the most need for the denied access or service.

  • Sammye Darling September 3, 2013

    This is why the trainers of service dogs in training should consider that their puppy is not ready for full access even if granted it by law. They should not immediately take advantage of full access, because it could give service dogs a bad image. Instead, trainers and service dogs in training should work their way up until the dog ready for full access. For example, Aggie Guide-Dogs and Service-Dogs “jacket- tests” our dogs in various stages and allows privileges gradually. We first allow school campus privileges, then grocery stores, then all public places minus restaurants, and lastly all access jacket privileges including restaurants are given once the dog shows near- perfect public etiquette and behavior.

    • Service Dog September 5, 2013

      That is precisely correct. Introducing SDiTs to public areas in stages is not only an effective training technique, it’s easier on the dog.

    • Monica October 11, 2013

      I agree with what you say about puppies in training. I always begin slowly and take it a step at a time. Also it is good to realize that a young puppy under a year in age also has a short attention span and they tire easily. I also do not do any public access training until a puppy has completed its full round of puppy vaccinations. That is just my choice. While we wait for that I do simple short training exercises in basic obdience a few times a day, along with house breaking. Then we take it at the puppy’s pace to learn about the big world that puppy will one day work.Yes restaurants are the last big privilege once there is perfect public access and behavior.

      • James roux June 11, 2016

        I agree a young puppy hades to learn by being able to have a chance in public to be taught and showed wat he orshes expected to do like I say there notGOD and are to be expected to make a couple of mistakes,my puppy let’s me now he hafes to use the latest by a wimper.

    • Catherine February 24, 2015

      Absiolutely, Sammye. In fact, our trainer does not consider a dog to be a service dog in training until the dog has passed both the AKC’s Canine Good Citizenship test and the Assistance Dog International’s public access test and demonstrates obedience/ socially appropriate behavior, ishouse broken and able to urinate/defecate on command in an appropriate location, and is able to perform the general behaviors required of all service dog; “tuck” out of sight into small places, remain within 24 inches of the handler unless performing a task that requires more distance, and the trainer and handler are 100% confident that the dog will not growl, bark, whine, or show any aggression toward other people or animals.

      Until those skills are mastered, the dog is a service dog candidate and has no place being brought to pets only establishments and businesses. Before the dog is brought into any establishment that has a no pets policy, we “practice” at places where pets are welcome and the dog will come into contact with multiple distractions: some of the big box stores that welcome pets, busy city sidewalks, community events that are held in public parks that allow pets, street fairs, and fleas markets that also allow pets.

      A service dog in training is a dog that has mastered all of the previously mentioned skills and is in the process of , being task trained for the particular tasks he will perform in service to his handler. Once he masters those skills, he is then a service dog. But appropriate service dog behavior is always the very first criterion that must be mastered before a dog can legitimately be considered a SDiT or SD. Just because a dog can perform a “task”: does not make him a service dog if he is not obedience trained and under the complete control of his handler.

  • Tearanny (@Tearanny) September 3, 2013

    Service dogs in training have to learn, by you encouraging people to approach a manager to ask teams in training to leave during vital training, this only discourages necessary forward momentum for everyone in the long run. So much for being a team player…

    • Monica October 11, 2013

      I could not see myself doing this unless the handler did not take action to correct the behavior. Most ligitimate Service dog trainers would do this.

  • Dana September 3, 2013

    As a service dog handler, I agree with most of this article – however, there is one incorrect part of the article – According to the article Service Dogs can not Sniff staff members, patrons, floors, tables, counters, surfaces, products, shelving or anything else. The ADA specifically names Allergen Detection Service Dogs – THEIR job is TO SNIFF out allergens on the floor, tables, chairs and any object that the allergic person may come in contact with.

    • Service Dog September 5, 2013

      That’s an excellent point, Dana. This oversight has been corrected. Thank you!

      • Cathy August 7, 2014

        As a Hearing Dog handler, I see a couple things that would look “unprofessional” if my dog did his job. A Hearing Dog is trained to break a heel and go inspect the noise. That is his job as my ears. According to this article, if I am sitting in a coffee shop and my dog does his job by breaking heel (which a hearing dog is never put into a strict heel) gets up, leaves my side and looks around the table to see what caught his attention and to tell if he needs to alert me to it, he is acting in an unprofessional way? If he is more focused on his surroundings and all the sounds that are out there and not strictly focused on me, he’s acting unprofessional? Hearing Dogs are trained to go to the sound and decide if it needs to alert. I am not talking about disturbing the public, I am talking about walking to the end of his 6 foot leash. There are less strict and different rules where hearing dogs are concerned. My dog even has different words, like “settle” instead of “stay, or “wait” instead of “heel”. They can never be in a strict heel or they cannot do their job. I am not talking about out of control, but quiet curiosity that a hearing dog needs to do his job properly.

        I agree with just about all of the do’s and don’ts of this article, except the parts that supposedly would get us in trouble and asked to leave because my guy is doing his job, always. That could potentially hurt us and other hearing dog teams. I am asked all the time if he is a service dog in training because not much is really known about Hearing Service Dogs. Articles like this that someone reads, see’s my dog being curious to a sound, (doing his job), and they tell a manager and/or owner that we are a fake team because he’s not acting like a robot, could really hurt us as a team out in public. Please take into consideration the tasks that ALL service dogs do, not just the most common ones.

        I have even gotten glares from other SD handlers when my dogs attention is directed anywhere but at me. He IS doing his job! It’s really frustrating at times.

        • Terry McCormack October 10, 2014

          As a professional hearing dog trainer, I disagree. A hearing dog is trained to alert and in some cases also lead you to the sound it was TRAINED to alert you to.

          What I feel you are describing is more on along the lines of the dog reacting to a distraction rather than performing a trained task. All of my hearing dogs function off leash because of the 2 way alert they have been trained to perform. The dog IS in a strict heel and will not break that heel unless it is performing it’s trained task.

          • Cathy October 10, 2014

            The hearing dog organization I got my dog through taught me opposite of how you do it.

            They told me to never have him off leash unless in a contained area like a home or yard because he was TRAINED to investigate any sound he thinks may be important, not just the very specific trained ones. Curiosity is one of the characteristics they look for in a potential dog candidate. That he will not only alert to the specific TRAINED sounds he learned, but to other sounds he thinks I may want to know about. (eg: if he hears something outside he will get up and look. If its just kids playing he lays back down. If its a stranger in the yard he then comes over to me, paws me and leads me to the window) I was taught he was to pay attention to his surroundings and to try not to put him in strict heel if I don’t need to. Say I am sitting at a coffee shop with him at my feet. If he hears something like two people arguing, he will look for the source, then show me what is going on and then he looks to my reaction to tell if it was important to me. He has his specific trained tasks, the specific alerts, but also he is trained to be curious about the surroundings we are in, to stay alert to it. He is ALWAYS working for me, not just when in his vest out in public. It’s his JOB as my hearing dog.

            Just because you train your dogs differently from how another organization trains their dogs does not make your way the only right way. You see, if you saw how my dog does his job, as opposed to how your dog does his, would you call me and my dog a fake? That is not right at all and the point I tried to make in my comment above, that service dogs do different things and in different ways and may not conform to the “right” way the article states. I do find that you train differently very interesting because I never knew the training could be so different for the same type service dog.

            I guess my point is, every service dog team is unique and should not be judged in such a strict way.

        • John reed December 3, 2015

          I totally agree that your dog is it disability dog. The problem why your getting bad looks is because of people bringing their untrained dog that they bought something online saying they were an emotional support dog for a service dog when the dog is had absolutely no training no shots has he been in bed most of the time. They are abusing the law to give you the rights you should have. If you want to be more accepted help change the laws for those people that are abusing it and have the love go towards people who do need these dogs everywhere they go. Not some smelly Shih Tzu or Chihuahua that these people drag everywhere like restaurants grocery stores in malls where they don’t need to bring them. Like 20% of Americans is allergic to dogs. For a service dog like yours for a seeing eye dog, which we rarely see. I have no problem with giving my daughter a ride for her so that she does not get hives and sneezing. But when I have to go to 3 different restaurants on Thanksgiving and can’t take her to the mall some days or the grocery store do to all the dogs that are not true service dogs and many people have to leave restaurants because of the way these laws being abused. Without the help from people like you, who need these dogs. Others will abuse the law and you will continue to be looked at like some of those people

      • Miguel January 2, 2015

        This list is a wish list. In the field even the best k9s have their days or give false alerts! Also the author as usual with these trainers had failed to explain that the dogs they are talking about have been bred to have these traits or the unwanted traits out of them. Think of breeding a drone. Also the cost of owning one of these dogs will and can be in the 10s of thousands!
        For vets like me who only live on our benefits; adopting a puppy and hiring a trainer can save a lot of money. The dog will not be 100% all of the time but 90-99% is better then going in to large debt. Let’s remember who these dogs are and what they are for it’s for the person who needs the aid will it hurt anyone to keep an open mind, have patience & compassion?
        Adopt and train save a life they may in turn one day save yours. I know mine did twice! #servicepitswork

        • songs4silence January 2, 2015

          I completely agree – and if you are lucky enough to be a Vet (Miguel – thank you for your service), here in California there are several organizations that fast track you on their waiting list or possibly get your SD for free – which is amazing for Vets, they deserve it.

          I am not a Vet – and most of the programs won’t even talk to me for a PSD. And if they will, the waiting list is 3-4 years and they won’t even TELL me what the price range is. The price points of these special helpers, these dogs that basically have all the ‘pesky’ yet dog-like traits bred out of them are cost prohibitive for nearly all of us who are disabled – chances are that we aren’t working for fortune 500 companies and making huge salaries if we are crippled by disability and need a dog in the first place.

          I’m getting a little tired of business owners complaining about their presence. The dog is in the store for what, 20 -40 minutes, worst case scenario. Would they like to trade shoes and live with a disability 24/7 vs that 40 minutes of inconvenience, or not, if your dog is properly behaved. I completely the exasperation of business owners if the dog is out of control or knocking stuff off shelves/eating/pooping/whatever – (and I’ve been on that side when my non-drone dog has had an off day, and I left without saying a word, I was mortified) but for the vast majority of us, that is not what our dogs are doing, they’re just helping us get through our daily lives as normally as we possibly can.

        • Tammy July 6, 2015

          Miguel. First and foremost. Let me thank you for YOUR service. I appreciate you.
          Second. I agree about the mountains of debt and alternative solutions to the traditional method of getting and training a SD. We chose this method for our child’s SD. We purchased a dog and worked with trainers for both of his seizure response/ mobility dogs. But when it came time to begin going to school. We encountered many problems. In part because the classroom teacher had read several articles like this one and determined that the dog was not a SD because it was not (in her words) “Laser Focused” on the child. The incident that preceeded this was when a child approached the dog in a loud and fast manner the dog turned his head. He didn’t change body position, just turned to look. From that point on. Her entire mantra was “he’s not trained” in time we discovered that there were underlying personal fears driving this (her own dog had attacked and bitten her best friend years earlier). We ended up getting a lawyer and are working on changing schools. But this dog is incredibly well behaved. We took great pains to ensure that he could handle the high energy situations he would be faced with in school and playgrounds, and everywhere a little boy might want to go. (He even goes down slides!)
          Our troubles were not a result of poor training of our dog but in poor training of the public.
          I realize that the author was trying to provide good information and much of it is. But…it is presented in such a way that it can appear as a list of MUSTs rather than SHOULDs pertaining to proper training.
          In response to SERVICE DOGs comment that this article is not for the general public, that’s hogwash! And it is articles like this one, however well intentioned, that give fuel to people who are uneducated about the actual laws. (Like that teacher…)
          In my opinion this article could be likened to an article on Adult human behavior. A well behaved human adult would never raise their voice, throw things, touch things that don’t belong to them etc…
          But nobody would accuse you of not being an adult because you picked up something to look at it or if you shouted across a room or tossed something to a friend rather than walking it over to them.
          The same holds true for SDs at any given moment in time they could be engaged in something on this list. For any of a thousand reasons…to someone who only read this article, or one like it, it may APPEAR as if the SD were a fake.
          Also. We need to remember that SDs are individuals. They have bad days too. You might be catching a team on a rough day.
          In the early days of my research, i read eeveral articles like this one. I thought i knew all about SDs…then i met a blind woman who’s dog hadwalked her right into a major road. I asked her how that could happen! She was the one who told me that SDs aren’t perfect. She was a spunky but mature woman who had had several SDs over the years and said flat out. Some days they really push your buttons.
          I am very grateful to her for helping me to go into this process with a little reality.
          I think the general population has an idea tha SDs are robots. Program them and that’s it. This article simply reinforces that notion.

    • pams16 November 19, 2014

      I find this comment very interesting and I wonder if people can chime in on this. I’m honestly seeking information so please if my comment seems critical of service dogs that is not my intention and it means I’ve just written here poorly. I’m very very allergic to animals (specifically dogs & rodents). I have been told animal allergy isn’t justification to keep dogs/pets out of public buildings like grocery stores, medical offices/hospitals, retail stores, restaurants, buses/trains, etc. I’m often told I’m the one who must stay out of public places instead of the animals. I 100% support the use of Service Dogs – I think they are fabulous. I know they help people with disabilities operate on a day to day basis and I’m more than willing to get out of the way or even leave if my reaction to them is very bad. But these days ordinary pets or “fake” service dogs are more common and frankly it is getting to the point where “I” can’t function on a day to day basis anymore, I can’t go to the farmers market or grocery store, shp at the home improvement store, go to the doctors office or even ride a bus – honestly I feel I am disabled now. From the comment above it sounds like allergies are considered a disability under the ADA (since an allergen detection service dog is mentioned). So I wonder if animal allergy is protected under the ADA and can people like me insist that dogs/pets not be permitted in public buildings under the ADA except for real [not fake or therapy] service dogs? I am not objecting to honest service dogs and I am not suggesting they be prohibited – but as you are aware thousands of people get fake certificates/tags/vests over the internet just so they can bring their pet everywhere they go. And even when the animal is no longer present, their allergens remain. I was shoe shopping the other day and got up from the chair to find I had dog fur all over me almost up to my shoulders. By the time I got home to change/clean up I had already begun to swell up and break out in hives – even tough there were no dogs in the store with me. I’m pretty certain a “real” service dog would not have been allowed up on the chairs! Your advise would be so welcome.

      • pams16 November 19, 2014

        woops sorry, I meant your “advice” would be so welcome.

        • songs4silence January 2, 2015

          Pam – the ADA suggests that if there are allergies that the person with the service dog and the person with the allergies be separated as far away from each-other as possible. I feel for you – I have perfume allergies and they give me horrible migraines and EVERYONE is doused in perfume it seems like. I would suggest doing the best you can to confront you allergy situation, it sounds absolutely miserable…
          That being said, I think the ADA is leaning towards the Allergies and Fear of Dogs thing as many people would use that as a quick excuse to deny us access. Not saying that you are ‘faking’ your allergies, clearly you are suffering.

          • pams16 January 4, 2015

            Thanks – I think my question was not very clear. I’m seeking advice on how to prohibit the huge number of “fake” service dogs. I wondered if the ADA protects someone like me from FAKE service [pet] dogs or is there an organization I can contact who is trying to stop the easy faking of service dogs?

          • songs4silence January 4, 2015

            Pam – I think you’d have a really difficult time doing much about this.
            You could try to file a claim with the ADA (3 year typical turn over with that- if they decide to pick up your claim and take it to court) You could also hire a lawyer and take the individual to court personally in your area. I’m not sure who would have the burden of proof in a case such as that, but ideally you’d need to be able to prove that the dog was a ‘fake’ (which is going to be pretty difficult and expensive) and that you have extreme allergies. That seems to be the way it stands right now.

            Not sure how any local groups could help you other than stirring up attention – but its kind of a lot of fuss for the whole topic, which will end up in more articles like these.

            Life isn’t fair. Allergies are awful, and so are disabilities (and I think those faking are psychologically disabled lol)I understand that, sucky conundrum.

      • Rachel December 9, 2014

        You should probably look into getting that taken care of lol
        Get allergy drops or allergy shots.
        Animals are everywhere and you kinda just have to deal with it.
        Im allergic to cats and dogs, however my dog allergy isnt as severe as cats.
        My service dog is bathed every month with special shampoo, that helps. Im also on allergy drops so i wont react at all to my dog unless she licks me, and she is trained not to lick anything.
        Pet hair can transfer some someone who ownes a pet dog, has the hair on their clothes, and then sits on a chair before you do, thus getting on the chair, and the dog never even entered the building.
        If your allergy is that severe, id consider getting it under control.

      • Monica January 5, 2015

        Pam I have severe allergies to some dog breeds and definately rodents. Cats send me into anaphalactic shock. I have been and asthmatic for years. I have had 3 Service dogs in the past 20 years. All were low shed low dander types. Poodle, Giant Schnauzer ( American Coated) and now a Curly Goldendoodle. I kept all three dog very well groomed and clean. I if I know someone is allergic I will move away. I take allergie meds every day and some days it is worse. In past years I took 6 shots two times a week so I understand how you feel. Dogs do belong on the floor in businesses. If you are ever in a place where a legit SD team is just ask to be seated away from the animal as far as possible. Businesses also have to allow for your disability also by giving you reasonable accomadation as well.

        • Z January 5, 2015

          I didn’t read it as the OP having a problem with service dogs. In fact quite the opposite, the problem they have is with all the fakers causing allergy problems. Not actual service dogs. The problem is, people with legit service dogs are creating an environment where faking is encourage by demanding that no one ever be so much as questioned to make sure the law isn’t being abused.

      • jill June 25, 2015

        Pams16, i feel for you. I know my service dog can be an allergic problem for others. I always give him a through bath once a week, and a good brushing and wipe down with hypo-allergenic baby wipes before going into public places. My pain doctor, which ive been going to for 15 years, recently rented his office out to, but what else, an allergy doctor, during his off day. At first there was no problems, but then they had a dog allergic patient have a reaction. What my doc did was have me wait in my car (not a problem as i could listen to the radio and didn’t have to deal with everyone wanting to pet my dog,ect) and they came out and got me when it was my turn. They then took my to the closest exam room, reducing amount of dander spread in office. They then had a cleaning company clean the office and throughly clean the exam room that night (i saw him on tuesdays, allergy doc was there fridays). I also gave my dog a deshedding and brush down followed by a bath the morning of my appointment. The othrr patient nevrr had another reaction. And, a real service dog should never be on a chair or bench, bus or plane seat. I have intractable seizures, mobility issues, and ptsd. If my dog alerts i lay on the floor if its a seizure and he lays on me till the seizure is over. For ptsd, he’ll put his paws in my lap, but i make sure he doesn’t touch the chairs. I wish there was a way to help both sd team and people allergic.

      • jill June 25, 2015

        Pams16, you could move to Florida, they just passed a law making “faking a sd” a crime!

    • Bridget Ilene Delaney April 16, 2016

      Thank you for saying that! Plus, dogs sniff to find out things. Duh. I have some allergies, although not too severe. My sister, though, has MANY allergies . . . ligustrum and jalepenos are TERRIBLE for her and her little service dog will pull her away from allergens. My little service dog also knows when to protect me.

      I am tired of people lying about our dogs saying that they run up and lick people. They’ve had off days, but sometimes they aren’t perfect. The majority of the time, they are VERY well behaved.

  • StarMuse September 3, 2013

    So…. because my service dog in training sometimes still breaks a heel or gets up once in a blue moon you’re suggesting people try to get a manager to kick me out even though I’m protected to train under state law? I keep him clean, keep him under control, and if he does any of those things I cue him back because he’s still learning. By all means if a dog is “out of control” then it should be removed but this article is going to cause a lot of confrontations for legitimate handlers and trainers of SDITs and even fully trained teams if a person misinterprets a task or action of the dog.

    • Monica October 11, 2013

      That is why if a person is unsure why a dog barked or why a dog did a certain thing they need to ask first. As long as you as a trainer keep the dog under control and redirect unwanted behavior,there really should be know problem. The ADA business brief says this in a way.As does SD Law.

    • Maddie November 30, 2013

      This is a good point – any action taken by a service dog (in training or not) could be misunderstood by a patron and then you have the Gladys Kravitz of the world running to the manager reporting a non-incidence.

    • Amanda H February 16, 2014

      The article says that no dog is perfect and they are always learning. They say that you should only talk to the manager and explain his/her options if the dog is OBVIOUSLY not prepared and behaving very badly. Not breaking a heel or getting up. The behavior has to be interfering with the business and its customers, significantly. Not a, small, one time instance thing. I think this article addresses that.

    • Catherine February 24, 2015

      StarMuse, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that you be “kicked out” if you dog breaks a heel or gets up occasionally. However, technically speaking, you should not be bringing your SDiT into a public “no pets” establishment until he is solidly trustworthy in all of the criteria for the CGC and ADI Public Access Tests. The place for him to master these skills and to be properly socialized as a SD is not in a restaurant or retail shop but in other public and private venues where pets are allowed. The right to Public Access is a privilege accorded to disabled persons whose dogs have mastered behavioral criteria. You do not take your dog to a restaurant to teach him not to sniff at other people,not to beg for their food, or not to scarf up what falls on the floor. I have a service dog and I can tell you quite honestly that if a dog kept getting up and moving around in a restaurant and came near my table, I would be asking the manager to have the animal removed. Ditto for any dog that sniffed me or sniffed my dog in any no pets retail establishment.

      The expectation of an SD or SDiT in a restaurant is that they will sit either under the table, the chair, or next to the handler and be essentially unobtrusive. If he is getting up and moving around repeatedly, especially in a crowded restaurant, bumping into other patrons or their table or chair, that would not be acceptable and while some people might ignore it as long as he was not violating the personal space of other patrons, legally, that could get you ejected.

      A lot of people who train their own dogs get confused by the terminology and they do not understand at what point their dog becomes an SDiT. A puppy or young dog that you are in the process of training and hope to have as your SD is not an SDiT. He is only a service dog PROSPECT and he remains a prospect until he has been housebroken as well as trained to pee/poop on command in a specific location, obedience trained, has mastered the equivalent of the CGC requirements, has passed a test for public access, and has passed a temperament evaluation. Once he has mastered those skills and credentials, he can then be trained to master the tasks that he will be performing to assist his handler. At that point he is an SDiT.

      Some people who train their dogs begin with the tasks first, not the behavioral requirements. That is not a problem as long as you understand that until he has been properly obedience trained and public access trained, he is not considered to be a SD or SDiT.

      You can find the criteria for public access testing and CGC testing on line and train the dog yourself. But unless you are completely secure in his obedience training and behavior, you are exposing yourself to significant civil liability if he so much as scratches another patron, even accidentally. The only things a bona fide SDiT should be “still learning” are the service tasks he will perform for his handler.

      • BGSD August 12, 2015

        Where in the ADA about SD’s does it say it must pass CGC? Where does it say it must do it’s business on command? I’ve read the law with a fine tooth comb and never come across such standards.

      • Drea October 5, 2015

        Some states treat dogs in training the same as trained dogs. Stop advocating to limit the rights of handlers in states that have seen fit to broaden those rights. When individuals think they know how to “see past” fakers taking advantage of the system you get other abuses and discrimination which severely hinders individuals who then have to live with harassment and infringement of their rights.

        I spent several years dealing with management that thought I was faking my disability and denied me accommodations and harassed me and it was miserable. I had a person hassle me across a store telling me that if my service dog was legit he would have a vest. My dog is small (15 lbs) and does sit on the booth bench with me at a restaurant but never interacts with anything on the table. He’s been stepped on several times and if we are in a booth and he is under he oft gets kicked so now he sits up with me.

        And if anybody wants to talk about hygiene first consider that the bottom of most purses is dirtier than a dog’s body and purses often go on tables or chairs.

        Also, every change in law in the last 30 years has been to expand protection and rights of the disabled and limit barriers so climb down from that high horse before you ride it off the cliff.

  • Trainer September 3, 2013

    An important point has been left out of this article; the dog should be on leash at all times unless the task specifically requires the dog to be off leash and then the dog is to return and be put on leash as soon as the task is completed.

    • me January 10, 2014

      My county’s laws specifically state that they doesn’t require this.

    • Byron Croft August 30, 2014

      this is incorrect. it does not have to be on a leash between tasks. The law says that the leash is not required if the leash impedes the dog’s job. It also says that the handler may use other methods of control such as verbal commands or hand signals.

      NOWHERE does it say that you take a leash off, have the dog do something, and then put it back on.

      My dog does not use a leash, typically. We do in hazardous environments. Often a leash will get in the way if we are at an event where it is very crowded. Additionally, if I am shopping or working, I need both hands free, not lose another arm to holding a leash.

    • Terry McCormack October 9, 2014

      You are only half correct. The LAW does not say a dog should be put back on leash or needs to be leashed at all if the leash would interfere with trained tasks that directly mitigate the disability.

      The dog should be under control at all times. If the dog is under control at all times by voice or other means and a leash would interfere with the dogs job, there is nothing that states the dog needs to be on a leash at all.

      This was confirmed by the DOJ.

    • Joy Litzenberger January 14, 2015

      I am currently training an epilepsy response dog whose job will be to go find help when I have a seizure. While he is frequently on a leash, when I am by myself, he is “off-leash” but under control. He does have a traffic leash so that I can grab hold if need be. He would not be able to get help for me if he were attached to me.

  • Andrew September 3, 2013

    Having spent countless years in the service industry (and restaurants in particular) in an area where the privilege and necessity of having a service dog is abused, I have a different perspective on this article. The point that the author is trying to make is that as trainers or partners to service dogs, you yourself should know how a service dog is or isn’t not supposed to behave because you have a trained eye to the subject (even with regards to the confines of training, such as seizure dogs, allergen detection animals, or any other type of service animal.) What the author is warning you of is this:

    The Scum of the Earth who think they have the right to do anything just because it’s what they want are on to you. They have discovered that if they say the words “service dog” they don’t have to be separated from their Little Darlings and there isn’t a darn thing anyone can do about it. The problem is growing, and if it continues, I can guarantee that it will be addressed by changes in the law. Service dogs will be required to be registered and have presentable paperwork, not because there are that many misbehaving service dogs out there, but because of all the misbehaving “service dogs” out there. Through complacency on the part of people in the know, and ignorance of the law by most everyone else, what is a fair and equitable exemption in the law is quickly becoming a loophole for the narcissists of the world to exploit.

    • Cheryl September 21, 2013

      Very well said! That is exactly how I read the article too.

    • Monica October 11, 2013

      Andrew is correct. Eventually because of fakers all of us will eventually be affected. Sad to say. I have always followed the rules when training and using my present service dog and I did so with my first two dogs. I have been fortunate to have had and now have an awsome working dog who is always welcome anywhere we go. But I must say I have run into the untrained SDs in my travels. I travel via public transit. My service dog and I are quite new to public transportation in our area due to the fact I no longer drive. Now I am seeing more and more smaller untrained dogs wearing vests you can buy on line. Sad to say these dogs are not well behaved but are just pets that people want to take with them. It is really bad. One lady who has seizures on my bus rout has a Chiwawa that while yes it does alert to her seizures, it also barks at my dog who is quietly laying under my bus seat and never reacts. The little dog will bite kids. I have spoken to this lady and told her she must train her dog for public access because this is improper behavior. Last week I saw another lady in my area who now has a vest on her pet Shi zu so she can take it on the bus.The dog drags her down the sidewalk. The other day a man got upset because the bus driver wouldn’t let him on the bus with his pet dog and he couldn’t understand why my dog and I got to ride the bus. The driver was kind and explained to the man the difference in his dog and my dog who is trained.

      • Fancy Nancy November 1, 2013

        I am not a dog owner, but am curious about this subject. Is there a state or federal “licensing” or “certification” process? Do true service dogs have a paper showing their legitimacy?

        • Service Dog November 1, 2013

          When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

          • Katie July 17, 2014

            I have a service dog and I think that sense we can be asked the Two questions that are allowed by the ADA, and their are many of us who want to put an end to fake service dog’s the best way to do that is to with a doctor’s note. Those of us with true service dog have a doctor’s note saying that we are disabled and need a service dog because of our disability and what our service dog does for us (I know I do any so does many of my friends with service dogs). So there is the answer to the two questions, and the note should only have to be shown to the manger of the store, the owner or head of a restaurant or whatever place etc. you enter!! As to putting an end to fake service dogs no doctor would ever write a note unless it was a true service dog because that would be fraud, and the doctor knows that!!

          • Service Dog July 17, 2014

            Hi Katie, that is an interesting suggestion! However, as evidenced in states with new medical marijuana laws, hundreds of storefronts have cropped up to serve those with easily-obtained doctor’s notes.

        • Rondal Love November 26, 2013

          I received my guide dog from Leader Dogs for the Blind. At the end of the program they gave us a photo ID with the access law on the back of the card. I’m not obligated to show it and they can’t ask me documentation. I think they gave it to us as a tool to use if we are wrongly asked to leave.

        • Meagan February 13, 2015

          Our county requires that the dog be tagged and there is a special dog tag they give with licensiing. They can only be licensed in my county if they have been vaccinated and had a rabies shot and that has to be a yearly thing in order to maintain the license. I also had to sign an affadavit with the county (so it’s on record) that the dog was a service animal and that it met the state and federal requirements of the service dog law and if it didn’t but I said I did, I could fined 1, 500 $ and serve 6 months in jail. I could never own a licensed dog again. I also have paperwork showing such vaccinations, a note from my sons pediatrician explaining for our lanlord that the dog is indeed something that he needs and that I’m the “handler” on record and have been getting him trained. Our dog trainer said that even though it’s not required in CA she is going to send off his paperwork from his program saying that he completed the basic, intermediate, and advanced public access training and she would be given a certified copy stating such. So even though it’s not required our dog is/will be county, state and federally legal. So yes there are certain county requirements that I do believe pertain to SD’s and their handlers, it’s sad to see that not everyone even legit service dog owners don’t know some of this stuff. And that’s why research on county, state and federal laws is so important. Also i had a suggestion to pass out pamphlets from Vista Print that have service animal laws, questions and county/state and federal laws printed out and given to the business owners, general public etc. that way there is no question and you are educating them as well.

          • Catherine February 24, 2015

            Meagan, I’m so happy for your son that you have a service dog to help him. Finally, people are seeing just how much these dogs can benefit children with a wide range of disabilities.

            I just want to clarify for other readers that the county can “require” and give you a special tag for which they have special requirements, and they may tell you that it’s mandatory, but in reality, they can not impose a regulation that is stricter than the ADA.

            in California, (I live here as well), a special license or ID is not mandated by state law and making such a tag or ID mandatory would violate the federal ADA. While the state does encourage you to get the special tag – they are hoping it will help cut down on fakers – there are some requirements that make it inadvisable to do this every year. (What is legally mandatory in all of this is the hoops they have jump through if you want to get the special tag.)

            The one requirement that is really problematic in their requirements is the annual rabies vaccine, There is no need for it and in fact, it can be detrimental to the dog’s health, depending on the size and breed of the dog. My service dog is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and over-vaccination in this breed is dangerous and can cause life threatening medical complications. We experienced this in another of our dogs and she nearly died. We are not about to risk my service dog after all of the time and money we have invested in training.

            Other breeds have similar issues with over vaccination for rabies so it’s important to be aware of any issues related to your son’s dog. I would chat with your vet about the annual rabies requirement. You might want to ask your county licensing board to review and reconsider that one requirement. One of the leading experts on this (she has been researching it for years) is Dr. Jean Dodds in Garden Grove California. I’m certain that she would advocate for no more than a 3 year rule which is currently the standard guideline for rabies vaccines. Perhaps a letter from her would help to get that rule modified. The extra vaccinations do not make your dog more immune to rabies – that is a myth! – but they can cause serious medical complications in some dogs.

            If your vet feels annual vaccination is too much, you can legitimately just get a regular tag for your dog. He is still legally a service dog according to the ADA, and the county can not penalize you for that. They CAN charge you for the regular license tag (usually they do not charge for SD licenses) but the dog is still legally a service dog. I would familiarize yourself with the ADA. It sounds like your trainer has a good handle on it. I would carry a small ADA card around with you for anyone who would choose to question the legitimacy of the dog. A lot of people do have cards printed up that explain the ADA. In fact, you can get a standardized one on They sell packages of them for a nominal price. You can just as easily print them yourself if you’d rather.

            Honestly, if your dog is well-behaved (as a SD should be) and you politely explain to the managers and staff at businesses you routinely patronize that he is a service dog, you are probably not going to have any significant problems. And if the business is not aware of the ADA requirements, the time to clear that up is not when there is a line of people waiting to be seated and everyone is frazzled, but ahead of time, when it can be done cordially and politely. Often, if we are going someplace new to us, we will call ahead and let the management know that we are coming and that we need a table that can accommodate a wheelchair and a service dog. We virtually never have a problem. In fact, once, we were told by the manager on the phone that they were expecting 30 little kids for a birthday party and suggested that we come a bit later than we had planned. He thought the little kids would bother the dog, pestering the dog and and us, mostly out of curiosity, and interfere with our peaceful lunch. I thought that was most gracious of him to share that with us and we did go a bit later. Honestly, we had a lovely lunch and everyone was so kind to us. And it would have been annoying to have 30 kids asking about the dog, trying to pet her or distract her when she was “working”.

            Wishing you and your son much more independence and the ability to widen his horizons now that he has a service dog to assist him! I am so excited for him!

          • jill June 25, 2015

            A county tag is all “fine and dandy” if you don’t mind over vaccinating your dog, or if you can vaccinate at all. My dog goes into anaphalactyc shock and coded twice when he got his rabies vaccine at 6 months. Then, he got pseudorabies as a side effect 3 days later. So, how would the county sign my service dog up if i refused to risk his life? Also, vaccines are only to be given to healthy dogs, so any dog with skin condition, immunocompromised, allergies, cancer ect should not be vaccinated much less vaccinated every year when the AVMA guidlelines now read every 3 years or as titers require. I use titers, my dog is 7 and has immunity to this day from his puppy shot. We also live in Florida so he has a medical exemption letter from his vet for the rabies. And no, my dog is not going to make someone elses vaccinated dog sick, if vaccines really worked that is. My dog has never been sick, except when he was vaccinated. He eats a species appropriate diet and is not bombarded with poisons that weaken his immune system. He oozes health.

        • Catherine February 24, 2015

          There is no licensing or certification required. A store owner can ask “the two questions” mentioned in other comments here but unless the dog is behaving inappropriately, the dog has to be granted access at the time. However, the business owner, if he feels the dog is being fraudulently portrayed as a service dog, can make a police report. In many states it’s a specific crime to represent a dog as a SD when it isn’t; in all states, it can be prosecuted as fraud.

          A true service dog may not have any documentation. In fact, most owners of true service dogs eschew obtaining an “ID” form a web site that sells them indiscriminately because it simply supports an industry that undermines genuine service dogs A true service dog is not required to wear a vest or have any ID. It’s the owner (properly referred to as the “handler”) who has the right to access; not the dog. The owner has to have a documented medical disability but he does not have to carry that documentation or provide medical documentation or even disclose his medical condition for access to retail establishments, restaurants, etc. His disability has to be documented in his medical record and if there is a legitimate question, he may have to provide that documentation to law enforcement, but otherwise, the only time that something is generally given in writing justifying a service dog is when a person gets a letter from his/her doctor to verify that they should be allowed to have the dog in no pets housing or if the are taking an emotional assistance animal on an airplane.

          Most service dogs are very well trained for public behavior. If the dog is behaving inappropriately and the owner doesn’t immediately correct the behavior, even if the dog is trained to perform tasks to assist a disabled handler, he can and should be removed from the establishment.

          Fake service dogs are rampant. Service dog vests are easily obtained on line and many people have no problem putting a vest on their dog in order to gain access to places where a pet wold not be allowed and to get their dogs a free trip in the cabin or a commercial airline, unconfined to a crate such as would be required of a pet. But these “fake” service dogs, who are usually not well-behaved and are often disruptive are creating a huge problem. Not only do the frequently display disruptive, offensive behavior in retail businesses, but they give real service dogs a bad rap – the general public is getting more and more resentful of all dogs represented as service dogs who interfere with their enjoyment of dinner, shopping, or a visit to a museum.

          Creating more hoops to jump through for the legitimate service dog handler is not the solution; increased prosecution and penalties for misrepresenting phoney service dogs and making it easier for businesses and citizens to report fakers is really the key.

    • Beverly May 17, 2014

      As someone who works in a hospital I can say that Andrew is exactly right. We have people who abuse this rule every few months and we can not say a word. That does not mean that you as a trainer can not inform the person of the two rules that allow a business owner to ask them to leave. The business owner would probably be relieved because they don’t feel like they can say anything.

      • Meagan February 13, 2015

        This is why I suggest going to Vista Print and making up a card or pamphlet with all the information on it, it’s a little expensive for some people but wait till they have a sale and get them made. I am going to do it as it’s worth it I don’t know how many people have asked me about SDIT when we are working up to public places how they can get a “est ” for their dog. They don’t think I’m anything but serious until I start telling them all the laws etc. and how they don’t apply to them. Hahaha, so I’m going to do that closer to the end of his training and that way I educate business owners, managers, etc.

    • Pam Woncik June 1, 2014

      I agree with Andrew. More and more often I encounter dogs in public places who are permitted to approach me uninvited and their owners not only expect strangers to pet/interact with their dogs, but we’re expected to “like it”. Dogs lick or beg or bark, many even shove their head/nose in your backside/crotch – ‘hello’! Almost always they rub themselves along your legs (which is hell for the 15-30% of the population who suffer from animal allergies since you have the pleasure of taking their hair/dander with you on your clothing) and they “always sniff sniff sniff at you or what you are holding or what you are eating, etc, and some do jump [though I’ve not seen it often]. I see many tugging their handlers through the stores isles almost in a frenzy and they claim these are “service dogs” or “companion dogs” who must be with them always. These dogs are now common in every public venue in Los Angeles County: concerts, hardware stores, the car wash, the post office, big-box stores, grocery stores,hotels, airports/planes/trains, wandering [unattended] at the garden center, carried or clutched in purses/tote bags in clothing and beauty supply stores, and in possibly every restaurant/cafe with a patio.

      I appreciate this article because it helps to know the dogs who are behaving badly in these public venues are not “service dogs”. I actually never knew anyone would, or could, “fake” a service dog. I’m sure many frustrated patrons would love to see these “fakes” exposed and removed. It is good to let people know that “real” service dogs are awesome and behave with honor in public. More important that “real” service dog handlers will not allow or condone dog public misbehavior.

    • vknqueen December 11, 2014

      emotional service animals are only protected in instances of housing and air travel, therefore not allowed in restaurants at all….it’s the law.

    • Lenore May 14, 2015

      Amen. It is becoming a real problem. We had a wet, antsy, yellow lab in our restaurant last night sitting behind the woman at the bar. The dog was in the way of the hostess stand so I had to ask them to move the dog a little. She asked my name, said I was way out of line and complained about me. I feel sorry for people that really need a dog because this is making a problem for them. Although, we know what dogs really are service dogs.

  • Kelley Jendrzejewski September 4, 2013

    Found this on fb. Good article for the most part. Young dogs need the public exposure and this may encourage a bit to much on finger pointing. Yes I feel that it is important to let the public know that they are protected under the Ada. But not to the point were it can cause issues for the service dog team. I was recently push to the back of a restaurant because of my sdit. They stated concern about my dog being around the food. They felt it represented a health risk. But the spot they put me in was not only next to the kitchen but an employee was sorting silver wear within arms reach of me. The public reads articals such as this one and react. The only thing I was isolated from was the other customers in the restaurant. To his credit my sdit stayed were he was told and did not even sniff at employees as they passed by.

  • Jamie September 4, 2013

    I think this article is geared to those posing as service dogs. if your sdit is ready for where you’re taking him/her you should have no issues with being confronted.

    • StarMuse September 4, 2013

      But why should I have to deal with the stress of being confronted for no reason, especially when part of my disability is autonomic dysfunction. I have to deal with enough stress of the “normal” level of access challenges, to have a business try to kick me out because my dog moves out of heel for a second? Screw that! If my dog was barking, defecating, etc, etc, confront me all you want but some of these suggestions ARE going to cause problems for people with dogs in training and fully trained teams. How does a stranger know what is part of a task and what isn’t?…. They DON’T. Some of us train to subtle hand cues, or train our dogs to respond to our bodily “tells” before we have episodes. A stranger won’t know what those are and if our dogs respond and break a down to respond, we now have to worry about getting confronted for it?

      Some of these “should nots” should NOT be on this list. My dog is extremely well trained for his age, and where he is at in our training plan, and we choose our training outings appropriately. I should NOT have to deal with the extra stress this ill written article could end up causing me.

      • Jamie September 5, 2013

        But you won’t get confronted for no reason. No one is going to be scrutinizing your dog for him to move out of position for just a second. That’s not at all what this article is implying. It’s educating business owners that they are allowed to remove such a nuisance dogs posing as a service dog. I’ve personally witnessed poorly trained “pets” posing as service dogs, which is setting a poor example for real working service dogs and their handlers. It’s becoming a common problem.

        While yes, breaking “heel” position shouldn’t technically be included in this article. It should be more lenient towards different disabilities… it does give general public an idea what to look for. To which quietly ask the more education/trained manager to make an appropriate decision. The article isn’t asking the public to confront you.

        • Wendy May 25, 2014

          Ah, but people *do* “…[confront] for no reason”! Haven’t you ever had someone just come up to you out of the blue when neither your nor your dog were even moving around? I have – wazzos coming out of the woodwork, across large, crowded rooms, just to harass me as I sipped my tea and read in a coffee shop with my dog sound asleep beside me.

          Or haven’t you had some jerkface walk by muttering nasty remarks as they pass, even when both you and your dog are absolutely perfectly behaved?

          My dog could never match this standard entirely or all the time at this stage, but he does what I need him to do – and most people out there think he is the model of excellent behavior. Let’s not educate the general public that our dogs ought to be perfect little machines who never get out of step for a moment. Maybe Joe Average wouldn’t notice the SD out of heel position for a second now, but if we promote the idea that this is a standard they should be held to, well, eventually they will catch on.

          This is a nice list of goals, but I do think it could be made a lot more clear that they are largely *suggested guidelines*, and not in any way absolute requirements. The ADA itself makes *no* comment about behavior standards other than needing to be under control and housebroken, and of course to perform whatever trained tasks they have learned to help mitigate the handler’s disabilities.

          Be very, very careful what you wish for; the world is full of unhappy unintended consequences.

          • Drea June 30, 2015

            My husbands service dog behaves perfectly out in public every time. When I read this article it fit him to the T. I have NEVER heard him bark, or make any noise whatsoever…ok maybe a few times in his sleep. However, he is pretty perfect, I can’t break him of it if I tried. Their is a command for just about everything. He will not move to greet anyone unless given the command “visit”. When the command is given he still remains still and simply allows people to pet him. Nothing distracts him, he is always calm. My kids friends call him “lame”, so I guess he is doing his job! He is definitely not the family pet, he is my husbands SD and I have never seen such loyalty before.

    • Monica October 11, 2013

      My dog does not work at heel at all times. She is a balance support or assitant dog. She used a Stabilizer harness to do that job. Depending on what is needed you will see her slightly tug forward or from side to side. Or going through certain door ways I back into the door with my body and she goes to my left and exits the door and pivots without my hand ever loosing contact with the harness. She does step at a time down stairs and a pull up stairs. She is required to stay on the bus with me backing down to the pavement while steadying myself with her by harness handle then once I am safe she exits the bus and we continue. She also does retrievals when I drop things. So it would not be unusual to see her pick up a napkin or a pen or money or other thing I may drop. I have always been about educating the public about her job and how she does it. Especially about the harness. Many people think it is a guide harness so I find myself explaining that a lot. I am glad to do it. I know not everyone is and it can be aggrevating to always have to answere questions but if I have time I will. I tell business owners who have been mistreated by the fakers about that little clause.”OUT OF CONTROL AND THE HANDLER DOES NOT TAKE EFFECTIVE ACTION.” Because if you leave a good feeling and a pleasant experience behind the next team will have a easy time. Back when I got my first dog in the mid 1990’s public access was hard to get. We had a rough time of it. Still occasionally myself or another will encounter a problem but it is all in how you handle it. I like to make a better way for those teams coming behind us.

      • Danielle November 25, 2013

        This is a great mentality to have (being willing to talk to people about what the dog does for you). I’m 24 and look much younger and I have a mobility assistance dog so I get lots of questions and as long as people mean well, I am happy to explain to them what my dog is used for and that I actually trained her myself. My dog was a stray that we found starving in Hot Springs, Arkansas while traveling the country so it was a big accomplishment for me to train her as a service dog. We grew together. She helped me out of a really rough place with my disability. I try to talk to young people in wheelchairs now, but I never get a good response since I’m not in a wheelchair anymore. I was hoping after all I went through that I would be able to relate and help people that were going through the same thing, but instead I train dogs. I think that helps people in a different way. It’s just a different group of people.

  • CeCe Gwathmey September 9, 2013

    I love this site and all the valuable info you put out. I have been sharing your educational graphics all summer and have received great feedback from family and friends.
    In regard to this article I wanted to address seizure alert service dogs. My husband is lucky to have received a wonderful service dog who not only alerts to his seizures, but can detect the onset of a seizure. He will give my husband a warning that a seizure is imminent by whining, sometimes incessantly. Once the seizure begins he will bark to alert to the seizure and continue barking through the duration of the seizure. So I just wanted to point out that sometimes whining and barking are a part of his job.
    Thanks and keep up the great work.

    • Service Dog September 9, 2013

      Thank you for your excellent points — dogs who can detect seizures are rare — your husband is very lucky!

      • Colleen February 23, 2015

        I have an APBT which I have trained as a mobility assistance dog. He help me with balance, forward motion, up and down steps, he also retrieves items (medication, bottled water from Refer, etc.) when asks, turns lights on and off. One day when driving to town he jumped up from his normal down in the car, he started pacing and whining. I had no idea what was going on so I pulled over to see if he had hurt himself or something. I checked him and he himself was fine but very agitated. I no more then got him back into the car and seated myself when my legs cramped up. I could not walk nor could I have operated the pedals of my car. he has alerted me of these cramps many times now. I am so happy as my Dr. has told me that if he did not do this she would be obligated to put this in my medical history and I would no longer be able to drive myself. He has never failed to get me to safety.

    • dakota September 20, 2013

      thank you for for pointing this out i also have a seizure alert dog and i do also think the alert a manager part needs to be removed. it can cause undo stress

  • Karen Ann September 18, 2013

    Service Dogs are not machines/robots… every one of them is a dog, and no matter how expertly trained WILL act like a dog now and then. Every dog, like every person, has an “off” moment or two now and then where he/she is not at his/her best. I’ve been partnered with guide dogs for nearly 30 years, and as superbly trained as all of my dogs have been they have all made mistakes out in public. It happens. If someone claims their Service Dog has “never” acted like a dog while on duty, the person is not being truthful.

    • Tearanny (@Tearanny) November 1, 2013

      Service Dogs are, sadly, much like people as no one is “PERFECT” at any job 100% of the time. I am with Karen on this one, and probably a bit more concerned. I have no desire to be a buzz-kill, simply sharing my own experiences for your consideration.
      The unrealistic expectations placed in this article can cause unforeseen problems for those of us with a SD for a multitude of reasons. My 16 year old SD was profoundly amazing, knew his job backwards and forwards. However saying that a dog should never “Stink, smell,” has NEVER lived with a Lab. My boi was always shiny & clean… but, when he ate something mildly deviating from norm, gas happened. I used to joke about him being an fuzzy, bear-like chemical weapon of mass destruction for noses within a quarter mile, just to make light of the nature of nature. Sorry, you cannot help that scenario, if ANYONE would want to stop that particular issue, it’s those of us attached to the stinky pup in question.
      I am 36, with an “invisible” disability that causes too much attention on my SD and myself, for ALL the wrong reasons. I have had the typical jerks/rednecks say; “what would you need a service dog for, you ain’t sick.” Yes, bad Grammar and all. For that, I cope as it’s part of appearing healthy, I get that. However, my SD currently, an all black GSD, is trained to alert by “speaking” (whimpers, aroos, licking and mouthing me) to alert me of said impending issue at hand. That is one of his many jobs, he is great at it, becoming better daily, he is still young. After feeling in the know, empowered, and informed after reading this article, how would an average person KNOW what specific job the SD is trained to accomplish without directly asking? Sorry, TOO much personal information awarded to anyone other than family or close friends, in my opinion.
      A person who simply “dislikes” dogs being in a restaurant, decide to tell the manager a service dog isn’t supposed to do “that”. I have, personally, experienced this mayhem at least twice in the past 2 years; once in DC’s Dupont Circle then again since moving to rural WV even more recently. These events only cause drama, conflict, and unnecessary negative social interaction for all parties involved. To handle this issue from the moment finger pointing begins comes down to laying HIPAA rights aside to provide the necessary informational reinforcement to said “informed” manager. If I had not been forced to deal with this very type of scenario, I would not have known to have spoken up. I only WISH the average person was more tolerable to others in their world.
      I would love to see the topic of SDIT being addressed & linked to another page.

    • deandginger November 1, 2013

      Agreed! I have seen a professionally trained service dog sniff, turn to look at other dogs, lead their blind handler in the wrong direction because they were interested in my own service dog and I had to call out to warn them. Dogs are not robots for sure. We can’t have dangerous dogs in public, but lets give handlers a little breathing room.

      • Maddie November 30, 2013

        I too have met service dogs that show an interest in other things. I was at the airport and met a team from “Paws with a Cause.” The handler was very forthcoming and anxious to share information with me, as we were talking, her service dog came over to “sniff” my hand and give my a lick. Sometimes, especially after a long day, dogs do what comes natural to them, no matter how well trained they are. And that’s ok.

  • Monica October 11, 2013

    Karen you said it. We have all been there. LOL!

  • Kelsey and Kona November 1, 2013

    My service dog alerts to my blood sugar by a high pitch whine and if I try to ignore her signal she raises the volume. She also is supposed to do a lower whine on cue when I feel uncomfortable in my surroundings and need an excuse to leave. My service dog alerts to suspicious persons by a short and silent growl. If their is immediate danger my service dog is trained to bark. She is supposed to be vocal to mitigate my disability.

    My service dog is trained to do boundary control and is supposed to put herself between others and me to push the others away in certain situations. That can be seen as circling because that is exactly what she was trained to do, circle around me making sure no one is invading my personal space.

    My service dog is supposed to focus on the surrounding and me at the same time, she can feel and smell where I am so she has no need to have blatant focus on me when her job is to ensure that I feel safe by having her be observant to my surroundings.

    That is half of the article that says my service dog is not a service dog. I do not agree with that half but the other half is good information.

    This article is open to the public and will be read by non handlers at some point so we should clarify that service dogs of different kinds have different does and don’ts.

    You have so many varieties of dogs trained to mitigate handlers disabilities.

    Each dog will be different just as each persons disability will be different.

    • Joseph Meep December 3, 2014

      In case you didn’t notice the article said “unless doing trained task work”

      • Meagan February 13, 2015

        How does the average person know what that task work is? I have people ask me why does my ASD son need a service animal? And what tasks does he perform? Then they raise their eyebrows and say well he’s not a SERVICE animal he’s an emotional support dog….even though the ADA even states that autism is considered a disability. You should see my son when we have him in public, my son is smiling, petting him talking to him, tells others about him, tells them his name etc. How is that not mitigating his disability, he’s also better behaved when he has the dog, doesn’t elope (run off) etc. So unless the average person is trained in all the various tasks, of all the various types of disabilities, good luck with allowing the general public to know what’s “appropriate” tasks and what’s not. Like was mentioned earlier, what is a task for one person may not be a task for another one. etc.

  • Heather November 1, 2013

    No service animal is perfect 100% of the time; but they sure try. I have had a couple of accessibility issues, but not because of his misbehavior, just ignorance. Also, alerts are going to vary depending on the dog and the disability. I read in an earlier comment that one person’s diabetic alert dog whines when she is going low; my diabetic alert dog climbs across my lap as in initial alert but escalates to pulling my hair…all done silently. However, both whining AND Herbert’s (my d.a.d.) silent alerts are perfectly acceptable and allow them to do their job. I don’t feel this article is coming from a bad place, it is (imho) trying to address the larger problem of people using a “service dog” designation when it is convenient for them. Living/working with a service dog is not always convenient; but it sure as heck makes my life better. Two things lately have irritated the ever loving heck out of me: 1. I have been repeatedly asked for Herbert’s Identification Card. When I explain there is no ‘official’ identification card and that anyone can buy one for around $20 on the internet they look at me as if I am the crazy one! Part of me wants to just give in and buy one (they are spiffy-looking) but the other part of me just wants people to take a minute and learn something. and 2. a person I know recently took their rather unstable german shepherd aboard an airplane as a service animal and told me she used my ‘TRICK’ (this statement caused deep anger on my part, btw), at least she had her muzzled. She told me that she wasn’t asked a single question because her dog is a german shepherd.
    I have spent close to 2 years training Herbert and he is wonderful–not perfect, but wonderful. I receive quite a bit of questioning whenever I travel and is it possible that this girl is right? that I get the 3rd degree because I trained a mixed breed? *sigh*
    I read somewhere recently that all of the dogs that participate in dog shows travel on airplanes as service animals or possibly emotional support animals. I don’t know if this is true, but it raises some interesting ethical questions, imho.

    • Tahoeaway November 22, 2013

      Saying all show dogs ride on Airplanes as service animals is completely not true. We own 2 service dogs (one for myself and one from my deceased Mother) but have many friends who show their dogs. I do not know of even one person who is an avid show goer who would ever consider misrepresenting a Service Dog. Although some show dogs are obedience trained that isn’t the norm and actually obedience training like “Heel” goes against what happens in the ring.

      I personally don’t care for this article at all!!! I know there’s people who have fake service dogs and they make a huge problem for the rest of us but most of the points in the article are easy to regurgitate by a rude manager who simply wants to deny access. Also the idea of going up to the manager is easily setting real service dogs and handlers up for more scrutiny.

      These dogs are just that… dogs and they are not perfect should not be expected to be machines. When my Mother passed she was alone with her service dog. She was immediately whisked away for 3 days to Boarding and had no clue what happened to her handler. For a dog who is used to filling a service 24/7 for an owner to go to be locked in a boarding kennel for 72 hours is very traumatic. I immediately flew to pick up her dog and then fly to another state for the funeral, the boarding kennel brought her to the Airport for me and after the stress of being alone, confused and scared from seeing her handler pass she was relieved and excited to see me. When we were boarding the plane the flight attendant became very angry at me and stated that the dog was disturbing people and such. I explained the situation and he still was being a jerk about it. Eventually I spoke to someone else at the airline who was more sympathetic and understood the stress and trauma we were both under. This dog has flown on over a dozen flights and just happened to have 1 bad day because of her handlers passing. Now I just alternate use between the 2 dogs and one is used for home and the other works for me out in public. A service dog without a job is sometimes a very unhappy pup.

  • me January 10, 2014

    I’m not quite certain what you mean by not sniffing, but I allow my dog to use one of her most primary senses, even when she’s not alerting to an impending attack. She of course can’t break formation or touch things, but she’s entitled to sniff the air for scent, just as she uses her eyes for sight, and ears for sound. To ask a dog not to use such a primary sense is unfair and unrealistic. They’re dogs and it’s a key component to who they are. Just because we’re not as reliant on our sense of smell doesn’t mean that we should ask our dogs to not use their sense of smell in a polite, aware way.

    And at the end of a long day, her attention can start to waver. So can mine. So can anyone’s. She’s not a robot. I hold her to standards that I would hold any sentient employee to.

    I think the list is a good general guideline, but some of it may or may not apply to each team and their needs.

      • Frances November 14, 2015

        whew, so glad to read this finally, it took forever to read all the comments. Re: your sniffing and sound opinions as it is written.. OK, Kea you clearly get it but, the way you’ve written the opinion is exactly what a short tempered public can use to bother me next time they are simply bugged to see a dog in the store. I really wish you would’ve written it for the average know nothing explaining what you put in your reply and not jump from a complete wild dog to perfect angel not sniffing or making a peep. The average person does not understand dog behavior so I submit that your drawing a standard that is one of perfection compared to the average pet might hurt much more than help.

  • Lani March 20, 2014

    I enjoyed the article and the responses. Cruise ships are now facing the issue of “therapy dogs” being included on board. I’ve seen true service dogs. I’ve also seen the little barking, biting, growling menaces being passed off as service dogs.

    As someone with a rather disabling allergy to dogs, I’m alarmed by the numbers of dogs being included in public places. True service dogs are one thing. How should one such as I, with an allergy to dogs that could require hospitalization, when exposed react when a person with a dog is placed near me? Am I chopped liver, as it were? I have had to get up and leave a restaurant when I started wheezing. I paid for the food and left. It seems unfair that I with a disability have to bear the brunt for another’s disability. This is a serious predicament for me.

    • captkip May 6, 2014

      “Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.”

      -ADA Requirements

      As harsh as that sounds, my dog is here for my disabilities, and I can’t leave her in the car because someone is allergic unless people want me to risk having an episode in the middle of the restaurant without my pup to help. Your problems are valid, but so are mine. Mine have gotten me hospitalized too.
      I’m not really sure what kind of answer or solution you’re looking for. Yeah, it’s an unfortunate situation to be stuck in a restaurant with a dog when you’re allergic, but I’m really not sure how this relates to the issues in this article or anything. There’s not really a solution except to be asked to be placed as far from the dog as possible.

      • Roymond October 2, 2015

        I’ve learned which businesses I go to that have employees who are allergic. I’ve gotten into the habit of making sure my dog has a bath the night before going to any of them, and the bath ends with an application of a moisturizing conditioner. The conditioner serves to effectively eliminate the allergy problem — and my dog has gotten used to smelling like coconut. 🙂

    • Frank January 17, 2015

      I have an SD, and have been in a multiple situations where people around me have allergies to her. I have always been accommodating to those who have brought up the subject by asking someone at the restaurant where I am if there was someplace where either my group or the other could be seated so as to not have the allergic person affect by my SD. You would be pleasantly surprised as to how well most people with an SD will respond if we are just nicely informed of your situation. I personally am not insensitive to other peoples physical ailments, I just wished that others would be as courteous about mine as I am about theirs.

  • Jasmine May 30, 2014

    I work in a library with a good amount of homeless people. They choose to bring in their dogs. We ask them the two questions we’re allowed to ask, but they’ll say it’s an ’emotional therapy’ dog or something to that extent. Is that covered under the public service dogs characteristics? It’s getting hotter now, so more people are bringing in their dogs. I’m concerned that these ’emotional dogs’ will bite another patron. How would you suggest dealing with that? And, if the dogs are in a carrier for the ’emotional therapy,’ does that still count?

    I apologize for my ignorance on the subject.

    • Service Dog May 30, 2014

      The language people use can tell you a good deal about whether or not their dog is legitimate or not. There is no such thing as an “Emotional Therapy Dog,” and neither Emotional Support Animals nor Therapy Dogs are allowed in public places like libraries. Only Service Dogs — dogs which are trained to perform specific and necessary tasks to help their disabled handler.

      • Rhonda June 19, 2014

        So does that mean the two yapping yorker that happened to show up at the same time at the VA clinic were out of place? They both arrived in the arms of the female owners, but both women [separately] told me they were thir husband’s service dogs. They both sported identical blue vests one owner said she bought offline. One barked and strained at the lead, the other one snapped at a child. I asked the security officer, and was told that nothing can be done, as a dog groomer of 30+ years, I totally understand doggy bad days. Should I have addressed this differently?

        • dverdier February 7, 2015

          Rhonda, the security officer should have known that it’s the person with a disability who has access rights with a service dog, and not the the dog itself. Anybody carrying somebody else’s service dog does NOT have access rights with the dog.

          • Meagan February 13, 2015

            That’s true in part Dverdier, my son is not old enough at this currrent point in time to handle the dog on his own, he does with my assistance and my husbands assistance, he is very much involved, but in the case of a young minor like myson who is autistic, it counts that I’m the main handler and that i still have public access rights as does my son. Do I take the dog out in public on my own? Yes , without my son so he can get used to being in public places and then knows how to behave and is trained so that when my son is with us and has him with him then the dog is familiar and we can work on non verbal and verbal cues with my son in that situation. I don’t agree that that is 100% all the time

          • Roymond October 2, 2015

            I asked the DoJ ADA people ahead of time when I was in the hospital a while back for surgery, and they said that if I am in a facility and someone is bringing my service dog to me, the same rules apply as if it were me with the dog. So apparently the rights extend to another person if (and only if!) that person is bringing the dog to the actual person it serves. Further, it applies only if the dog will actually be functioning as a service dog in that situation; merely visiting doesn’t seem to count.

            So IF the husbands were actually in the VA clinic, and IF the wives were bringing the dogs to the husbands, then and ONLY then were they covered by the access rules.

  • Baylee July 31, 2014

    What about the people who try to pick up your service dog? Or trying to pet him when he’s alerting me to an oncoming panic attack and people try to pet him to ‘calm him down’. I’ve even had a woman KICK my service dog, is that not a reason where he can be a little anxious or nervous? My service dog is also trained to alert me with noises, is that not allowed if he’s helping me mitigate with my disability? There are scenarios where some of these things are just not true.

    • Roymond October 2, 2015

      Someone KICKED your service dog?

      If someone kicked my Bammer while he was putting himself between me and someone, I’d be yelling for store security, making sure the person didn’t get away, and calling the police on my phone. In my view, an assault on Bammer is an assault on me, and even if the law doesn’t agree it is at the least animal cruelty and can be prosecuted.

      Bammer has gotten between me and people before and growled, his way of telling me this isn’t a good person to be near. Since he is trustworthy in guarding my anxiety difficulties, I accept his judgment (FWIW, a veteran here has a service dog who does the same thing; it was trained that way for PTSD). Once a woman declared that Bammer was frightening her with the growl, and I calmly told her that he considered someone a threat or he wouldn’t be doing it. Since he was between her and me, she did a double-take, looked at him for a second, then backed up a step. Bammer stopped growling and sat, satisfied.
      (Moments later, when the woman had moved on, a store employee cleared her throat behind me and told me that Bammer was very perceptive; the woman we’d encountered was known to be unstable and had caused scenes in the store more than once, usually when there was a service dog around because the lady was frightened of dogs. I found that sad, because she could definitely benefit from a service dog herself!)

      • Frances November 14, 2015

        Growling is NOT an acceptable “task” in public period, no excuse, no romantic idea your dog is reading the “bad” people. My Rottweiler, a breed specifically bred to guard learned to stand firmly, calmly but quietly, sideways between me and a threatening person. This happened only three times in over a decade of public service. Dogs are mirrors it is highly likely your dogs growls and defenseive behavior more because of your stress or fear of the world rather than a real actual bad person. Growling is NOT acceptable in public period. Get back to a trainer, research, study your dog and your own cues. Growling is NOT an OK SD “task” period!!

        • Roymond November 14, 2015

          The people who trained the service dog for the veteran I referenced, at extreme expense, seem to think that growling is a legitimate function to warn a person with PTSD, and so d the trainer I worked with and my doctor. I presume that all those between them have about a thousand times the education you do, so I’m going to believe them and regard your opinion as uneducated blather.

          As for “cues”, keep your ignorance to yourself: ninety-seven or more times out of a hundred, I can’t tell if a person is a threat or not — I almost never feel threatened, even when I should. That’s one reason I have a service dog, to do for me what I cannot do. Bammer is VERY good at this: there have been people I’ve been ready to welcome into my house that he growled at, and I couldn’t understand why, but later found out from the deputy sheriff across the street or the police officer around the corner that there were a drug dealer, someone with several assault convictions, a couple of burglars, etc. If I don’t pay attention to his growls at such a point, he barks, no longer to warn his bone-headed master but to tell the bad person to go away.

          But beyond my dog: a gal I know has epilepsy, and one of the things her service dog is trained to do is to keep people away if she’s having a seizure. If blocking doesn’t do the trick, it is augmented by growling.

          So, contrary to your uninformed feelings, growling and barking can most certainly be appropriate service dog behavior.

          • Frances November 14, 2015

            How much someone pays for a dog or training is a moot point. A doctor said this or that about your dog really.. another moot point. Your doctor hopefully is an expert in your health issues but is he an assisstance dog expert, a dog training expert by default… nope.

            I referred to growling and scaring people in public not your home. A dog is more than capable to give warning cues without growling. Your dog scaring people by growling no matter how much better it makes you feel isn’t OK and you’ re just making it harder for the next person they encounter with a SD.

          • Donna November 15, 2015

            I agree with Frances: a service dog that growls in public will not be well received–I certainly wouldn’t like it if Roymond’s dog growled at me and my medical alert dog because it judged me to be a baddie. And, Roymond, please consider that growling could endanger your dog. Dogs have been shot for growling at emergency responders trying to help the dog’s incapacitated human. Why put your dog in that situation?

          • Roymond November 16, 2015

            Bammer thinks all dogs are his friends and that anyone with a dog is a friend, too, so no worries there. And he’s met EMT people before, and the only issue is he likes to bestow dog kisses — he seems to like all doctors.

            I’m going to have to ask that vet how often his SD has growled to warn people off, next time I see him. With Bammer it’s been less than once per year, in public, and a bit more than twice a year, at home. Given that the sheriff’s deputy across the street has affirmed that the people he’s growled at on my porch have all been substantially less than respectable citizens, I trust his judgment.

            I’ll agree it shouldn’t be a common thing, but when I’m oblivious to risk it’s a good thing. For that matter, for most service dogs there wouldn’t be any point; it’s pretty specific to a narrow range of PTSD with complications (and perhaps some other psychiatric conditions) that it could even be needed.

  • E. H. Alberts August 17, 2014

    So… is that that why the article ends with a big red box stating..
    “Help educate business and protect Service Dog access rights by sharing this post. By giving businesses the tools to recognize what Service Dogs in public should and should not be doing, you’ll be helping to lessen access challenges overall for teams who have well-trained, well-mannered canine halves and educated, informed human halves…” I agree with Heather. The articles intent is problematic.

    • Byron Croft August 30, 2014

      totally agree. this article is hazardous, at best. I have already seen this article cited by service dog haters. It IS in the public eye, not exclusive to SD handlers.

      Many of the behaviors you state as “shouldn’t” are done intentionally and rightfully depending on the dog’s duties.

      And to the poor lady that commented on how someone kicked her dog… wow. If that happens to mine, the dog is the last thing they need to worry about.

      • Baylee August 31, 2014

        And the sad thing was, she didn’t see anything wrong with kicking him. Her explanation was that she was scared of dogs so when my SD took a step towards her and became a barrier, she kicked him. She didn’t even say that she was in fear for her life or that he was trying to attack her or anything which he’d never do, but still, if you’re going to lie, at least make an effort to make yourself look in the right.

  • Z September 25, 2014

    I observed a situation yesterday that made me wonder about this and caused me to search the internet for information. Which led me here.

    I was at the grocery store yesterday and this woman came in. She was pushing a little dog in a cart, not a store cart a personal cart, that the dog obviously could not get out of. It looked like the a Maltese to me. It wore a blue vest and a badge that said “service dog”. The problem with the dog was that it was yapping and barking pretty much non stop if the owners undivided attention was not on it.

    The grocery store I was in has a small area with tables and chairs for people purchasing things from the deli or coffee from the coffee station. The woman parked her dog, in the cart by one of the tables and wandered off for a while. I have no idea what she was doing, but the whole time she was gone the dog went frantic barking and jumping up and down to try to get out of the cart. Even after the woman returned the dog continued to bark any time she turned away or her attention wasn’t on it.

    I looked over to where the manager was and could tell he was obviously uncomfortable by the situation and relieved when the woman left. I’m astounded by the comments here from people who don’t want this manager to know he has a recourse in situations like this because they are afraid that the information provided will be used against their own well behaved service dog.

    Do you not see that if managers and others do not know that there is something they can do about these fakers, it could at the very least lead to hard feelings towards all service animals and at the worst could lead to more restrictions on actual service dogs. Like the need to provide proof that your animal is an actual certified service animal.

    By helping managers and others be aware of the options they have, you are helping to ensure more draconian measures aren’t taken.

    As for the jerks and haters out there who might want to misconstrue this article to justify bad behavior on their point. They’re going to behave badly and try to justify it, with or without this article.

  • librarian October 11, 2014

    The problem is that frequently people who bring the quasi-service animals into public places are very informed about “The 2 Questions” managers are permitted to ask. They have no compunctions about raising a fuss and throwing the ADA card unless the animal grossly misbehaves. One woman persisted in bringing her lab mix into the library under the guise of being a service animal until Max took a dump on the floor. Only then was that considered sufficient proof that Max was not a trained service animal. The number of people who are saying their untrained pets are actually service animals is growing.

    I have seen a Pomeranian being touted as a ‘balance’ dog (I thought balance dogs were supposed to be large enough to provide a bit of support should the person suffer vertigo). Several people claim their lapdogs are required for emotional support, which is not a protected category, but they bring them in anyhow. There is no end to the dog owners who have spent a few dollars online to buy a service vest, then use that to bring their pet everywhere they go. It is a large disservice to people who truly depend on service animals and the trained dogs or ponies who perform vital services for them. I would welcome some type of official government documentation for service animals, to weed out the frauds and protect the true working animals.

    • Baylee October 15, 2014

      That I could see a problem with, although I’m all for it. I have a self trained service dog,many think that makes him a fake but he has saved my life more times than I can ever thank him for. I also think that the government isn’t worried about service dogs in general, there are more pressing matters that need to be handled. It’s sad to say,but there needs to be a big thing that happens with a fake service dog before anyone will take action.

  • Patricia October 25, 2014

    Hello! Does anyone know if service dog handlers are allowed to FEED their service animals in the middle of a restaurant? Just curious if this is common, acceptable, or frowned upon in the service handler community. Thanks!

    • fishyshrink October 31, 2014

      SD’s are not supposed to act like pets. If someone’s feeding their SD in public, I think that’s indicative of someone with a pet as opposed to a SD. I am especially concerned when I see a “SD” being fed off of the table where their handlers are eating. My SD is trained to lay down beside me when we’re in a restaurant.

      Here’s what I try to accomplish with my SD. If she is not working, then she should be “invisible.” Handlers with true service animals realize this and their animals are trained to attract the least amount of attention. She’s a very cute, beautiful Pomeranian and I use her for two things. 1. Balance. Gracie leans away from me to deliver just a little tension on her leash. She is definitely helpful and has prevented numerous falls even though she’s just a puppy. 2. I have bipolar disorder and Gracie alerts when she senses my brain chemistry change. She will jump up on my leg, jump higher (if I don’t respond.) and to jump in my lap if I continue ignoring her. She definitely gets active and will not let me rest until I pick her up and let her shut me up before I say something or do something that I, and possibly those around me, regret. Focusing on Gracie, after she “alerts” allows me to redirect my excessive emotional speech.

    • Roymond October 2, 2015

      In a restaurant, a service dog is definitely “on duty” and should NOT be eating! The one exception I can think of would be when the dog does his/her job well, but it would NOT be food from the owner’s meal but a standard reward treat.

      My Bammer knows he’ll get something from my meal if he’s been good — AFTER leaving the restaurant.

      • Frances November 14, 2015

        Next time I’m in public I’m going to make a point of feeding my dog just hoping someone like you dares to tell me I’m not allowed. take care of yourself and your growling pooch and leave the laws and standards to the ADI and DOJ.

        • Roymond November 14, 2015

          You’ve convinced me you don’t have a service dog, but a fake, and are taking advantage of the rest of us. You throw out your own standards and then tell others to pay attention to the ADA, when you don’t even pay attention to good practice.

          The veteran I’ve referenced before says his dog got the same training, and he got it, too: service dogs at a restaurant are on duty, and should not be fed. The group I could have paid $4500 for Bammer’s training said the same. The trainer I worked with to train Bammer said the same.

          For that matter, feeding a dog in a restaurant is generally a violation of health code, and since eating is not a task the dog is doing for you, it is forbidden.

          • Frances November 14, 2015

            I said in public. I actually do not take my SD into eating establishments because a. I don’t need his help in there b. he’s too big to fit underfoot but… you took my bait.

            ” forbidden” to feed my SD dog in public? I guess maybe we need to define “feeding” as filling a dish with food or finger feeding, putting on a bib and sitting him at the table or setting a plate on the floor for him to dive into?

            And, are you referring to an existing law? if I can take my SD into an eating establishment… show me where it further states “but though access is granted it is ‘forbidden’ to put food into my dogs mouth once inside said place.

            Actually, treats are very helpful in ongoing training, reinforcing attention, directional moves, reward and reducing stress.

            Seriously, calm down all this barking out bossy judgements and opinions, your making up rules isn’t helping anyone who needs to learn actual rules, training techniques and the real written existing laws and standards.

            “forbidden” lol

          • Roymond November 15, 2015

            Argument from arrogance is fallacious, and that’s what you’re using. You’re assuming that you know better than a professional whose job is is to know what he’s talking about when hen makes recommendations, better than highly professional training organizations, and better than the law. FYI, my doctor would not have recommended making Bammer a service dog without having researched the matter. He doesn’t have to be a dog training expert, he just has to search the literature and find the best information — which, as a published author in his field, he knows how to do. So, if you want to contest his credentials and expertise, tell me what your two doctorates are in, so I will know that you are equally qualified to investigate things.

            As for “in public” as opposed to in my home, well, that part of your reply would have flunked my college course in remedial reading comprehension: you missed the point.

            And if someone is barging into my personal space and verbally assaulting me, and Bammer scares them, then he has done an excellent service for the disabled and SD communities: people aren’t supposed to barge into our personal spaces and harangue us with their opinions of our helpers. So my trainer and the highly professional outfit providing veterans with dogs have it right: when our dogs perceive a threat, and we aren’t responding, the dog not only may but should growl and frighten that threat — because the other option just encourages people to continue to verbally assault SD owners.

          • Roymond November 15, 2015

            The DoJ is quite clear that service dogs have to follow local laws unless those get in the way of the dog doing its job. You don’t seem to care about that, or, again, you fail at reading comprehension. The ADA doesn’t contain any health codes, so obviously you’re not going to find such a reference in there, which means either you don’t care about the law and are just using it to try to justify your views, or you failed to comprehend what you read. Hopefully others aren’t led astray by your antics.

            Health codes in some places will not allow the feeding of an animal in a restaurant — period. If in such a place I feed my dog, I can be ejected, whether or not I have finished or even received my meal, because, contrary to what you are portraying, having a service dog does not allow me to ignore local laws and ordinances.

            Besides which, for me to feed my dog while he is with me in a restaurant is contrary to him being a service dog. When we’re in a restaurant, he’s still on the job. If he’s eating, he can’t be doing his job. You’re the first person with a service dog I’ve ever encountered who disagrees with this. That you mix the topic of treats for training and feeding your dog says you aren’t even thinking clearly about it.

            Get your laws straight and read better. I’m not going to bother replying to any more incoherent responses.

          • theplacebesideme November 16, 2015

                 My goodness you’re all over the place.  And the list of your inappropriate public behaviors grows longer, we have … growling, barking, climbing on furniture here and there and testing the limits of rules that apply to a dog eating in restaurants.   Nice.   
                  Your’re back track trying to undo what you initially said, your dog growled, someone was scared and you were unconcerned about the poor woman.   Eating is forbidden! you say then mention all the times you’ve fed your dog in public there-by discovering it’s against various codes and putting your dogs up on benches where people, children, folks with allergies will sit, not cool.
                 How about this … try the common sense and politeness to leave your dog on the floor and not feed your dog so blatently someone feels the need to remind you of the health code. 
                  All the experiences, conversations, altercations you’re bringing up only shows you are being invasive and combative with your service dog in public.   
                  You attack me, calling a complete stranger ignorant, accused me of taking advantage, being a fake plus called my education into question all because I disagree with your opinion of appropriate SD public behavior and that you’re bossy about those opinions like you’re some expert.
                  No wonder your dog growls, it’s not bad people, he’s mirroring you.
                  If you were truly knowledgeable and confident of the laws and rules you’re so busy rattling off there’s no reason to freak out and attack just because someone questions your behavior of scaring someone with your service dog and of your opinions on feeding.
                    You may not reply but I’m absolutely sure you’re reading this.  lol

  • CarolBeth November 3, 2014

    Yesterday afternoon I was at a concert, and seated next to a couple with a large service dog (not a seeing-eye dog). This didn’t bother me until I realized the animal smelled very badly. It was a small recital hall, and we were on the front row, about 2 yards from the world-famous concert pianist. The dog was moving around, which caused its tags to clink around a lot. My friend sitting next to me is sensitive to pet dander, and by the end of the concert her eyes were watering and her sinuses in revolt. Well, my eyes were watering, too, but it wasn’t due to any particular sensitivity! The recital was sold out (as usual) so there was no chance of us moving to different seats. These folks (and their service dog) come to all the recitals, and are also donors. I hadn’t been seated near them before, so didn’t know of the odor, which is obviously a long-standing problem.

    I see that one can purchase “Service Dog” kits online…”Take your pet anywhere!” they say. But I see “service dogs” in grocery store carts and think, “I don’t particularly want MY produce where a doggie behind has been!”. Sometimes they bark inappropriately.

    My question is what I can politely do in the recital situation.

    Thanks for your input!

      • CarolBeth November 19, 2014

        Thanks for your reply. However, as I said, there were no other seats. Is it polite to ask someone to please bathe their dog because of the smell?

  • tree November 21, 2014

    I have a friend who’s child needs a service dog during school hours and as of now the school does not want the dog in school what would you give her for advice she is very upset and can’t afford a lawyer to fight this though..I feel there is a law that says she has the right or the child has the right he is the disabled..she has called and emailed the school system and they will not respond to her. thanks

    • Joseph Meep December 3, 2014

      My suggestion is to call 911 on the school because a service dog is allowed to go anywhere that thweir owner goes and if they are denyed access because of prejiduce than they are subject to major sues or even imprisonment.

    • Meagan February 13, 2015

      Can the child handle the dog by him/her self? Becasue my feeling is that a dog shouldn’t be allowed at school for a child until the child is able to handle it. There should be no reason to fight anyone about it. My son is autistic and we have decided not to send the dog to school until he is old enough to handle the dog on his own. It shouldn’t be up to the aide or teacher or anyone else but the child to handle the dog and the child has to be aware of what the dog needs, i.e. bathroom etc.

  • Michelle December 2, 2014

    I recently checked into a room in a hotel that didn’t allow pets, and within a few minutes noticed a dog barking in the adjacent room. A little while later the barking got even louder when the occupants returned to the room. When I called the front desk, they said the occupants of that room had a service dog. The hotel accommodated me by giving me another room, but I thought it was a little odd that someone who needed a service dog wouldn’t take it with them when they left the room. Made me wonder if the dog was really a service dog.

  • Nicolette December 18, 2014

    HAHA! This article claims emotional support dogs aren’t service dogs, and that emotional support dogs should not be taken in public. That’s false information because emotional support dogs have all the same privileges as a service dog for a physically disabled person. The only difference is one is trained for physically disabled and the other for mentally disabled.

    • Anything Pawsable Staff December 18, 2014

      You’re confusing two very different but important types of working dogs. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are an important type of working dog, but they are NOT Service Dogs. In fact, they’re specifically called out as not covered under the ADA.

      Please read:

      ESAs help individuals by comforting them with their presence but are not required to perform work or tasks related to a disability. ESAs have their own rights, separate from Service Dogs. Under FAA guidelines, Emotional Support Animals may travel in cabin with a passenger if you give 48 hours advance notice and carry a letter from your doctor, and are also allowed in housing under the FHA. Of course, ESAs do not have public access rights and therefore do not need to wear vests or any identifying gear and there is nothing that needs to be purchased for them.

      ADA REG § 35.104 Definitions. Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability . . . The effects of an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.

      To read the full law, please follow this link:

    • Cathy December 19, 2014

      You really should read the ADA laws before you make such a comment. ESA’s are NOT service dogs.

  • songs4silence December 24, 2014

    I have had this article personally used as a tool to remove my dog from a court ordered mental health program. Thank you.

    I have Complex PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Depression…My dog is trained to be disruptive to me and obnoxiously whine at times to get me out of a panic attack and ‘grounded’ in reality, apply deep pressure and licking to calm me after night terrors, as well as keeping a suitable distance between me and strangers to prevent triggers. It is really easy to ignore a lick, or a nudge, which is why the persistent vocalization and jump ups were tasks that I chose – I can’t ignore them. When I was confronted by the manager of this program, she had printed this article out, highlighted all the things that ‘service dog’s shouldn’t do (like whine, bark, make noise, jump, disrupt)’. The manager kind of bullied me into her office and handed me the HIGHLIGHTED above article, cornered me between her desk, and the wall and triggered my PTSD by invading my personal space – so my dog did her JOB. I moved slightly and my dogs paws touched her desk during the alerting task, which I was swiftly chided for as though my dog is a fraud and I’m an outright liar. HR sided with her, who claimed this was STATE OF CALIFORNIA documentation. Sites like this, make my issues worse, because now I am paranoid! No dog is perfect. Paws on a desk as I turn, isn’t pooping on a chair.

    Putting too many ‘requirements’ on SDs is a major privacy and financial problem.
    I owner trained and continue to work on my dog’s training.
    I don’t have 10-20k lying around to buy a ‘team certified’ service dog, and even THOSE service dogs are not personally trained to handle each persons unique psychological triggers…they’ve had lots of training yes, hundreds of hours, CGC, PAT, but not necessarily the type of task training you require.
    Also, why the hell should I have to tell everyone my personal business and show doctors notes? There is enough stigma and embarrassment having the conditions I have, nonetheless having to broadcast to strangers just so I can attempt to go about my daily business, isn’t that why we have HIPPA laws, privacy, no? The last thing I need is the government nosing into my mental illness and causing further upheaval and stress by implementing new ‘standards’, as those have stated, spotting a fake dog is pretty easy, and I can definitely see how someone could see my dogs tasks as ‘disruptive’ or what not, but that is none of their business how I have trained my dog to help keep me safe.

    And as for the good day bad day thing: I allowed (stupidly) a woman in that office to pet my SD. She grabbed my dogs head, yanked at her rolls (part english bulldog) and my dog growled for about 2 seconds until I promptly corrected her with a swift NO, Look at ME! End of story. Apparently, that is considered not being in control of your animal. That was part of the ammunition this woman constructed, along with a farce that my SD bit my counselor (which he has put in writing has never happened) and that this is STATE documentation.

    Needless to say, a complaint has been filed to the Attorney General.
    I appreciate your ‘helpful’ article. Pft.

    • LizW October 7, 2015

      In this article it also clearly states that the dog should not do said activities unless it is their duty to. It is repeated on every note. And while I am very sorry for your difficulties, in no way should that be a defense against the article’s incredibility. Would you rather be forced into a situation with stricter laws and having to pay 10-20 grand because of all the fakes out there?

  • Tombi Ericson January 2, 2015

    thank you so much for making this information available. We had a “service” dog that would come in to our store and bite people! The owner was always scared to ask them to leave. I plan to print this out and keep a copy in my purse so I can hand it out when the need arises. This is a very common problem in our town and now the people that need service dogs are feeling the backlash.

    • songs4silence January 2, 2015

      I agree with you, no dog, in public, service dog or not should bite anyone, ever – unless the owner is being physically attacked.
      But, by handing out this article, as was done to me, you are buying into and personally contributing to the mass hysteria of ignorance of specific things, ‘tasks’ that an individual has trained their dog to do to mitigate their specific disability. Things on that list of should and should not’s, are guidelines (biting is ABSOLUTELY a reason to kick someone out), they do not accurately represent what some SD’s are trained to do. Just keep that in mind.

  • bob levin January 20, 2015

    What do i do in the airport when a employee thinks your dog is not a sd and he starts a lot of loud yelling and trouble which is annoying and. You offer to show him proof and he will not look at doctor or legal papers about the s/d the employee will get other stupid employees to agree with his stupidity even though other passengers agree with you and not the employee. I have traveled 19 years nicely with a service dog. Now it is next to imposable to go to a airport without a incident from a airport employee. The s/d does his job well not the airport

    • Roymond October 2, 2015

      It wasn’t an airport but I had a similar issue. Fortunately, I was prepared.

      For starters, don’t offer “proof”: offer the law. Print a copy of the guidelines from here:

      and carry copies with you. Emphasize that this is federal civil rights law, and that their argument is not with you but with the Department of Justice, which will happily take formal complaints. Get the employee’s name and job title. If they won’t cooperate, insist on seeing the supervisor. If the supervisor won’t cooperate, insist on seeing his or her supervisor.

      Yes, this takes time, and determination. In an airport, it means delay, so go early and prepared. In fact, it can help to have the DoJ’s ADA section number on your phone (if you carry a cell phone), because then you can ask an uncooperative supervisor to wait while you call to make an official complaint.

      I have only once had a supervisor not get promptly helpful when I moved to dial the DoJ. They just don’t want to be the one who causes their employer to get dragged into court and face a $50,000 fine!

  • dverdier February 8, 2015

    I’m curious about where service dogs that are trained to “whine, bark, make noise, jump, disrupt” are taken in public. Surely not to movies or plays or even restaurants? Such alerts would be disruptive to all other patrons and might even constitute a fundamental alteration of the “service, program, or activity.”

  • Catherine February 24, 2015

    If the dog has not mastered behavior and obedience, he should not be exposed to the public.

    There are plenty of places where an SDiT can “practice” in places that allow pets before he is brought into a pets only establishment. No pets establishments are NOT the proper training ground for an SDiT. He should be taken first to a big box store, busy city sidewalk, walk-up food service window (like a food truck or ice cream window), street fair – any place where pet dogs are allowed so that his behavior can be addressed and corrected.

    If the SDiT is not behaving appropriately, if he is disturbing other patrons by sniffing, licking, touching them in any way, growling, nosing under their table for scraps on the floor, or begging for food, he absolutely should be removed as he is not at the level of control and behavior that he needs to be at in order to be classified as an SDiT. And if the manager happens not to have witnessed the inappropriate behavior, the patron should call the manager over and express his concern.

  • hannah February 26, 2015

    i agree to this article of course there are more things but this is the majoraty of the essential things my service dog sky is 9 years old and has been trained all his life but only a few years ago was he actually going to become a service dog he behaves wonderfully in public and around other service dogs he listens to almost my every command and doesn’t acknowledge the fact there’s food on the floor or there’s kids running around now if i say something like play nice or have a treat he will acknowledge things then ive had my fair share of jerks in the past and they are a pain in the butt i decided to leave a restuarant once before because the manger was not acknowledging the fact i need my dog everywhere i go and sky has had his fair share of mistakes in the past he has sometimes knocked a few things off the shelves with his tail but he helped me pick them back up and put them away hes been taught to pick things up for me when i cant he has disobeyed me a few times before but it was nothing big it was some of the extra things i taught him like shake and roll over but when hes working it is obvious he has been well trained and is an official service dog

  • Aiyana Moonchild March 2, 2015

    I have an SD, worked with SDs for the last 10 years. I too have an invisible disability where my dog and i got questions more then those allowed by the ADA. My dog whimpers and whines and leads me out of situations. she is trained and ANY breed can be an SD. Mine is a APBT lab mix. Dogs are NOT robots, mistakes happen, some do get a little excited but they should always love there job too. Being to harsh can cause unwanted fear and doubt. I believe this article has a few valid points but makes it sound like an SD is not a dog, First they are a dog and does what comes natural, then they are trained to be SDs. Again mistakes happen and as long as the handler corrects those mistakes promptly they are still a team…

  • Dp March 3, 2015

    Can you please provide a reference to the legal justification for saying, “If a dog’s behavior infringes on the ability of other patrons to enjoy a […] routine experience similar to one they would experience without a Service Dog on-site, then a business may be perfectly within their right legally to ask the team to leave.”

    There is nothing in federal law or precedent that I am aware of that would justify that language and, to suggest it is very concerning.

    • Anything Pawsable Staff March 3, 2015

      Absolutely. Please see

      “A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.”

      • Dp March 3, 2015

        I get that and agree but how do you get to, ““If a dog’s behavior infringes on the ability of other patrons to enjoy a […] routine experience similar to one they would experience without a Service Dog on-site” from that?

        You, or the management, might consider the presence of an SD in a fancy restaurant to infringe on the routine experience at that restaurant and you might very well be right! But, there is no law or precedent that I know about that would allow the SD to be excluded because of that.

        Now, if you simply mean that if a SD is threatening the safety of other people (“the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it”) or that “(2) the dog is not housebroken” then I do agree but adding in the other word is very concerning. Many a business owner that reads this article would believe that a SD could be excluded for any manner of reason beyond what is allowed by law.

      • Roymond October 2, 2015

        That isn’t the same thing at all. The line from the article is justification for a business to claim it can demand a SD be removed for anything that an employee or patron finds annoying, which is NOT allowed under the law.

        Dp is quite correct: “There is nothing in federal law or precedent … that would justify that language and, to suggest it is very concerning.”

  • Heidi March 22, 2015

    Many Disabled people are in a social-economic disadvantage. A service dog can help mitigate their disability; being in a wheelchair and needing mobility help, living with PTSD, detecting diabetic sugar levels and life threatening allergens, and to allow them to be more active in their community. However, many are on a fixed income or have very little means to support themselves, buy medicine, food, and support the upkeep and training of a much needed working animal. Your donations will go towards food, veterinary care, training equipment, and needed equipment for the dog to do their work for their handler.

  • K. Hanks March 26, 2015

    FROM ADA: When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.

    Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

  • Taxandria March 29, 2015

    “Dogs who are anxious, on edge, reactive, fearful or aggressive in ANY way do not belong in public and especially not as a Service Dog representative.”

    So any dog who is anxious in ANY way or fearful in ANY way does not belong in public. That statement applies to pets as well as it didn’t say it was only service dogs. So I have a foster dog (not a service dog) who is anxious and fearful and cowers a lot, he’s jumpy around trucks and really loud noises. Does that mean I should never take him out to urinate or defecate because he doesn’t belong in public? Does he not get to go to dog parks, either? You even qualified it at the end by saying “especially not as a Service Dog representative” which means you are talking about any and all dogs and all public places. Don’t you think your wording there is a bit ridiculous? What about all those shaky toy dogs who are anxious out of their minds? Should they never go outside anywhere?

    These articles seem really combative, like the author has a personal grudge rather than has an intent to objectively inform.

    • jan dreesman April 3, 2015

      I cannot teach my dog appropriate behavior without placing him in the environment it is steps of learning to get to next level of achievement I’ve learned I am only responsible for my dog s behavior and not worry about other ppl who’ve never walked my shoes

    • LizW October 7, 2015

      Kindly, you are being quite ridiculous. As it is to be taken that the article is referring to service dogs, and in proper essay format it should not be and is not necessary to indicate in every sentence that she was referring to a service dog. And it is a hazard for a dog who is fearful to the point of aggression, as the sentence states, to be out in public.

  • Anonymous April 18, 2015

    I honestly don’t understand the people who take their pets with them claiming they are service dogs. Ive gotten to where I absolutely hate going into public with my SD because of worrying what people will think like if hes fake even though he behaves amazingly or whats wrong with me since my condition isnt as obvious as others. Ive even been denied access to places because they thought he was a fake and I wasn’t comfortable showing the letter from my doctor because it says what the disability is and knowing im not supposed to have to. I love my service dog and he has saved my life. But I also have asthma and allergies to dog dander. For many reasons I would much rather not have to use a service dog. Just thought I would share.

    • songs4silence April 20, 2015

      I feel the same way.

      I am tired of being harassed and badgered because of so many fakes out there when I actually have a dog – who I have put two years into training to mitigate my situation. I am paranoid about someone approaching me. I have PTSD and it is extremely triggering because my disabilities are not visible. I do not want to stand there and explain how I am legitimate and discuss my diagnosis.

      I am not for more regulation that never helps anyone, frankly it just creates more of an allure since everything ‘illegal’ is more exciting (even though it is already a crime to impersonate a service dog) frankly I would rather a few ‘fakes’ be out there if it gives everyone the right to come and go as they please – that being said, business owners just need to be educated that they are well within their legal rights to ask a team to leave if the service dog (or fake service dog) is being out of control and not corrected by its handler.

  • Mel April 23, 2015

    I am a Grocery Store owner in a very bad, Rough neighborhood, due to the overwhelming amount of customers entering with their dog stating it is a service dog, we have had to call their bluff, and have told them to remove the Dog. these dogs have exhibited many or all the untrained bad behavior listed in this article, The public is not stupid and if they want to take their pet every where they go they just lie and do so every day. As a Grocery store owner I have had customers bring in unruly dogs and other customers have left because they are fearful of dogs, to have a dog or (pit bull for instance) approach them or bark they leave in a hurry. The Laws that are meant to Protect the SD have actually created this problem of people impersonating Service Dogs in an alarming number, in fact more fake them than those who really have a trained SD. sorry to say it but it is true you know and we know it takes a min. of 2 years to train a SD and a lot of money so before you get totally upset with the businesses and Stores you really have all the liers and fakers to blame, they have turned what should be a wonderful thing into a way to abuse the laws, They know there is no real consequence for doing so. I love Dogs animals of all kinds but I know they have a place and it is not in a restaurant or Grocery store. I do take my dogs to Pets Mart, Dog parks, Camping, Walks, to hotels that allow them, even traveled by plane with my Yorkie Yes I paid the fee and didn’t lie to get her on free. but they stay home while I shop and eat out locally and abroad. I do bring them home treats and goodies cause I love them but I leave them at home it is better than taking them out in 100 degree weather and 250 degree asphalt burning their feet.

    • songs4silence April 23, 2015


      That sounds like a super frustrating and upsetting situation. But – as a business owner, you know what is acceptable and not – if you haven’t already I would read the DOJ ADA business brief- you are well within your rights to ask a dog (SD or not) behaving out of control, to leave. I wouldn’t signle out pit bulls – I have a SD and mine is a pit mix, and she is wonderful – in those instances unfortunately fear of dogs aren’t enough to ask someone to leave, nor are perceived worries that the dog will hurt someone, its a case by case basis. Hopefully you will be seeing more well behaved teams that will leave you with a better taste in your mouth. I can see both sides of this – and how frustrating it would be to lose customers over a badly behaved pet with a handler claiming it is the world’s best service dog. Barking is generally not acceptable – and it fundamentally alters the nature of your business (therefore you are within your rights to ask them to leave). The only reason a dog should or could be barking – is for an alert to a SD handler.

  • Lela May 4, 2015

    I fully agree with this article. I am training my own dog and he is just about ready to be labeled ‘in-training’ for public access. I have been training him for a year just to get down basics and not even close to performing my actual services yet. Most places when you tell them you are training your dog will allow you public access for the experience and are really well informed. It grinds me gears when people bring in their own dogs and just slap a fake tag on them and call it a day. I have worked so hard to get my dog to where we can both work as a team. Its effort but its worth it.

  • Lenore May 14, 2015

    My question is if you ask what service it provides and they say emotional support, can you inform them that emotional support does not constitute a service dog and ask them to take them out of the restaurant? I would think that people that train, need, and own service dogs would want something to be done about the “Internet Service Dog” problem. Actually, I don’t even think people are bothering to go on the internet to get papers because you can’t ask for them anyway. They are just waltzing their dogs in a restaurant and everyone is a afraid to say a word. Let me say that I love dogs almost to the point of obsession with my own dog but I would never bring him into a restaurant, ever! It is getting to be a real problem.

    • Anything Pawsable Staff May 14, 2015

      Yes, you may but it’s best to have a copy of the law on hand when you do to lessen confusion. For free, please print out and carry this document:

      • Cathy Spade May 14, 2015

        Are dogs that are needed to help someone suffering from PTSD categorized as “emotional support” or “service” dogs under the law?

        • Anything Pawsable Staff May 15, 2015

          The law does not provide a list of disabilities that can benefit from Service Dogs or Emotional Support Dogs. PTSD is a highly complex condition that can benefit from Emotional Support Animals, which can provide comfort as needed — as well as from task-trained Service Dogs. For more information on Service Dog Tasks for Psychiatric Disabilities, please read

          • songs4silence May 15, 2015

            PTSD is specifically mentioned in the ADA service animal section if you intend to task train your dog.


            If you are disabled by your PTSD and are diagnosed, etc as with any condition, you are protected under the ADA.

            If you do not wish to task train, Emotional support animals are wonderful – and they are federallly permitted in housing with no pets policies.

        • songs4silence May 15, 2015

          PTSD is specifically mentioned in ADA law. If the dog assists with your PTSD and you are diagnosed, then there is no problem. You are protected under the law. Emotional Support Animals are not task trained.

  • Carol June 7, 2015

    Can a service dog sit in a booth with its head and paws on the table in a restaurant?

    • Anything Pawsable Staff June 7, 2015

      While it is not illegal, it is poor manners. Service Dogs, regardless of size, should remain on the floor and under the table.

      • Frances November 14, 2015

        This seems to really happen alot. So often that even on the rare occasion my SD is under a restaurant table I have to hear comments and complaints about the last dog that hopped on the table or begged for food.
        Each time there is a new revision to ADA or update of DOJ responses to questions I’m hoping to see in print exactly what you have written here, ” No dogs on the table”

        I wish everyone who takes their dog in public as an SD would appreciate they either pave or block the road for the next handler that comes along.

    • Roymond October 2, 2015

      I can’t resist relating a story here….

      I was at a pizza parlor once and the manager came out and said my Bammer could sit in the booth. I was astounded, and said he really shouldn’t. But the manager said he was a really cute dog (he is) and he wanted a picture of him in his uniform sitting in the booth, so I told Bammer to jump up. Then the manager tried to get Bammer to put a paw on the table. Bammer just stared at the guy — he knew better! I told the manager Bammer wouldn’t even do it if I asked him, because he knew that tables were for humans. “He’s that well-trained?!” the managed asked — he couldn’t believe it.

      He got to take the picture he wanted, and Bammer got his own plate of cheese sticks (outside the restaurant, afterwards, and just one right then).

  • Rachel June 28, 2015

    I have a business, and I have my two dogs at work with me. Both dogs are incredibly friendly to humans and love to be pet. They do not jump up or annoy any of our customers. However, one of my dogs is a large dog and she is not friendly with other dogs coming into our store. I have put a sign out outside stating “thank you for not bringing dogs onto the property”. I, however, and a big supporter to service dogs, as my father would be lost without his. Yesterday, two individuals walked right past the sign, and up toward my dog, who was visibly upset and was growling a warning. The two individuals kept walking up to my dog. I ran outside to stop an interaction that could have been catastrophic. I asked them to wait until I put my dog out of the way. The man was very adamant to tell me that he can take is dog anywhere he goes, and I agree. HOWEVER, use some common sense people. I would have been very happy to assist him with his dog into the store, but you need to remember that other dogs don’t see a service vest and think, he’s okay, I can go lay down. Then, after all was said and done, the man said he didn’t even have a reason to come into the store, he was just looking around. Don’t ruin your rights by not using common sense and making yourself appear to “test the law” with businesses.

  • June July 6, 2015

    I have an SD in training- mobility and hearing. I self train with the help of a certified trainer and live in MI. The VA said I can’t bring my dog there unless it is “registered” and claims MI has a law requiring it. I cannot find such law, all I find is some vague reference to trainers that the Dept of Civil rights is supposed to have which they claim they know nothing about. Vi is very calm, well mannered, and does her job. She is shy which we are working on. I am training her per the Delta Society standards. Does some state law trump federal? Confused. No one else has had an issue with her and she goes everywhere with me. I would NEVER keep an unruly dog anywhere- in fact when we first started working in public if she was not 100% “on” she went HOME.

  • Jane Ellis September 15, 2015

    Recently I’ve noticed an influx of so called service dogs in the hospital where I work as a RN. We have been told we can not ask if it is a service dog so we don’t really know. What angers me as a nurse is when owners don’t control their dogs and I don’t feel that I should have to work under these circumstances. Last week a had a patient and his wife looked disabled. She was humped over and used a walker. But she a had a Standard Poodle breed dog and her friend had a Standard Poodle too. They were in the patients room and these dogs are large. When I was making a med pass I knocked on the door and started to open the door the dogs barked and ran over me and my med-cart in the hall. I told the lady if the dog barks he cannot stay in the room. I also told my charge nurse of what happen. They told the charge nurse it was my fault because I opened the door and the dogs are very protective. The dogs also barked at the charge nurse while he was in the room. So they decided to keep the door open and maybe the dogs wouldn’t bark at staff in the hallway. When the tray passer came to pick up the tray the dogs barked at him too. I again asked my charge nurse to have them removed which he called the risk management department and nothing was done. Later when I needed to come into the room to inform the patient of a new order for a stool sample ordered by the doctor the dogs were sleeping in the floor and the disabled lady told me to hush because the dogs were sleeping. It irritates me because I’m there to care for the patient but I am blamed for upsetting the dog and need to hush because the dog is sleeping. The barking is disruptive to everyone on the floor patients and staff. Owners should have control of their dogs. I don’t think it is right.

    • Donna Daniels Verdier September 16, 2015

      Yes, you may indeed ask whether a dog is a service dog; you may also ask what tasks the service animal provides. If the dog is out of control and the handler doesn’t take action to bring it under control, or if the dog is not housebroken, or–and this is important for the situation you describe–the dog poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others, you can ask that the dog be removed. The barking alone is enough to change the nature of a hospital’s business, that is, the disruption of a hospital’s healing, quiet nature (cough, cough), to merit asking for the dog’s removal.

  • Lee September 29, 2015

    I was just told today that my service dog had to be in a kennel in a cab? Is this true and what else should I know?

    • Roymond October 2, 2015

      Lee, taxicabs are specifically listed under the “privately owned businesses that serve the public” by the Department of Justice:

      My guess is that the requirement is bogus, because the law specifies that your service animal “be allowed to accompany” you. Being in a kennel is not, as far as I can see, “accompanying” you. In all likelihood the kennel requirement is bogus because most service animals need access to their “person” to do their job, and even if they don’t need direct access the kennel is an unusual situation that could prevent the animal from doing its job properly.

      But for an authoritative answer, call the DoJ toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301. It should be possible to get a statement mailed to you setting out what they would require of a taxicab, which you could then use in the future to tell the driver, “This is the law”.

  • Lauren September 30, 2015

    I find these views and opinions very interesting. I came to this site for guidance and education after I had an unsettling experience at the grocery store. I walked past an elderly women and her daughter shopping. The vest and tags clearly displayed that the German Shepard was a service dog. The dog was tethered to a wheelchair and the wheelchair was being used for grocery storage. The two owners were browsing meats about 40 feet away. I went down a narrow aisle and they came down the same isle pushing the wheelchair w/ dog in heal position. I was literally 6 ft away and turned to grab something off the shelf…. Started down the isle past them and the dog snarled and growled and lunged at me. The daughter smacked him on head and went on with her browsing so I back peddled quickly,,,, was it me? A scent? Did the dog feel I was a threat to its master? I have very good dimes or with animals…..have our own dogs…..animals usually love me…. This left me shaken and embarrassed. Any ideas as to what prompted the dog to show aggression?

    • Donna November 19, 2015

      Doesn’t really matter what caused the dog to lunge and growl. Lunging and growling constitute dangerous behavior. The dog isn’t ready for public access.

  • kevin October 1, 2015

    Ive witnessed a few “therapy dogs” in stores in the last few years. Sorry but I’m still skeptical about the whole real need for these beautiful animals in public places like stores. After seeing video of guys rubbing the law in the faces of store managers, it seems like boasting or a general desire for confrontation.
    Today I saw what appeared to be a military vet with a dog shopping in Lowes with the animal off leash. This type of thing is what is both asking for trouble and a real “look at me” mentality.
    Arent there laws requiring a leash or harness on a service dog?

    • Roymond October 2, 2015

      Service dog owners are required to abide by local laws unless doing so inhibits the ability of the dog to do its job. Depending on the disability and the dog’s job, being off-leash may be required — that’s often the case with dogs trained to deal with epilepsy, because holding a leash when a seizure strikes can cause risk to the person, or keep the dog from acting. In my case, since my dog is partly for mobility/balance, in some cases he has to be off-leash.

      In the case of a service dog with a veteran, such dogs are generally among the best-trained dogs in the world. I know a veteran here with multiple disabilities; his dog was trained specifically for him at a cost that would buy a new pickup, and is more trustworthy without a leash than most human beings.

    • dep November 9, 2015

      You SHOULD “look at” the man with the dog in Lowes. Then ask if you can share :30 min with him and help him with his shopping. Or, buy his cart if you can afford it; I bet he would have given his life for you if it came to it.

  • LizW October 7, 2015

    Honestly, even though by technical terms my dog is a service dog as she notifies me of both my panic attacks and my seizures and ensures I do not cause harm to myself or others due to either of these things, I would never try to fake her in as one. She will eventually be a full Therapy Dog, but as of right now she is more of a personal therapy dog. She has minor behaviorial issues, such as wanting to greet everyone every so often and wanting to greet squirrels and generally living under the idea that every living thing wants to be her friend, and still has not fully grasped that pulling on the leash is completely off-limits. She for the most part now waits for my go-ahead, but there are still slip-ups. However, even though she is not a full-fledged Service Dog, I have been training her under much the same rules. In the elevator, she sits and has learned to not bother others, and same goes for waiting for the elevator. She is constantly praised as being the most well-behaved dog on campus(even better than the College Therapy Dog). However, in spite of all this, I would never pretend she is a Service dog. She may some day become one with proper training and hard work if my seizures get worse, but it is offensive.

    This is a great article and honestly regular people need to read this. They should be educated.

    • dep November 9, 2015

      You and your dog would be welcome in any place I had any say over!

  • Jose castaneda October 23, 2015

    What happens when the owner is petting the dog and get up to help him/herself to a buffet bar?. Is not this unsanitary? and how do you handle this issue with the rest of your customers?. are there different regulations for buffet places?.

    • Anything Pawsable Staff October 26, 2015

      Most adults and children do not first wash their hands upon entering a restaurant, with them they bring everything they have touched in the course of their day — including the door handle of the restaurant itself. (Of course, some, but not all individuals may was their hands after using the restroom). These adults and children are likely to have just as many if not more germs and bacteria on their hands.

    • Roymond October 26, 2015

      It’s less unsanitary than if two customers shake hands and then go to the buffet bar!

      But I was taught that you don’t pet your service dog in an eating place anyway, any more than feeding him there.

  • Kelly Rosier November 9, 2015

    I was recently at a retreat where a couple has two service dogs. One is an extremely large dog that is certified and supposed to help the lady (who has MS) keep from falling. In the several retreats I have seen this dog I have never seen him anywhere near her. The dog stinks. They take him to eat and into the break out classes. He sheds everywhere. It is quite miserable. Then recently they acquired a very small emotional support dog. They also take this dog into the restaurant and feed her from the table. I feel these people are taking advantage of the situation and laws that are meant to do a lot of good. They are giving true service dogs a very bad name.

    • dep November 9, 2015

      That sounds really sad for the people and the dogs. I trust that you and the others at the event did your best to help them while you shared time with them – I can’t think how challenging it must be for them to have to live with a very hard illness like MS.

  • Coral December 7, 2015

    I agree with others that this is a very dangerous post. I have Complex PTSD and a Service Dog and you have posted on here that “Drag or pull their handler for any reason, unless the dog is performing specific mobility-related task work for their handler as evidenced by the presence of a brace mobility support harness, other task-related gear or wheelchair assistance harness.” However, I use my service dog to lead me in situations where I am in danger of harm from my disability and he does not wear any such equipment you have mentioned as of right now. This article has many forms of discrimination towards other disabilities. I do not feel that you should be judging others and be acting as a service dog mafia or police. Leave it to the real laws, the ADA and State Laws, to judge whether a dog is a real Service Dog and what they should or shouldn’t do, please.


    Also, did anyone else realize that for someone posting an anti-faker service dog post that this post is by the United States Service Dog registry? You know, the same kind of organization that claims to register your service dog even though there are no legal registries. Yes, it is for free. Yes they want you to comply to the extraordinarily high standards on this page and say that it will not legally just make your dog a Service Dog to have their papers. BUT the people that posted this still sells documentation and IDs saying that they register your Service Dog. You know, the people cause problems for us that sell IDs to people when they are not legally needed and anyone can buy them and waltz in? Well, these people sell them. I have had problems already with shops demanding an ID from me and saying it’s illegal to have my Service Dog without one.
    So my questions is this: Why is an organizaton calling themselves the United States Service Dog Registry making rules on a blog that are illegal and telling people when they can ask a Service Dog team to leave?

    THIRDLY, this is not a documentation for Service Dog handlers. This is a documentation for shop owners to tell when a Service Dog should be removed and to take the action to remove them. You, by making this document, told shop owners that if a dog grumbles they can ask them to leave.

    People, unless everything on this site is something quoted by the ADA or State law, then it is not a legal requirement.

    Yes, the example this document gave was an extreme case and a dog ate a bagel. But unless you contact the ADA or Department of Justice to clarify good grounds to remove a Service Dog, then you are causing havoc for people with real Service Dogs (which admittedly, we don’t let them steal bagels) and are opening yourself up to lawsuits. Yes, Service Dogs upon the standards of the Service Dog organizations (or what I am now calling the Service Dog mafia) are held up to these extremely high standards and most of us that train our own service dog try to meet them why dealing with our own disabilities. Yes, it is true there are grounds to remove a Service Dog. But DO NOT take these Shoulds and Should Nots seriously unless you want a lawsuit. As mentioned above, call the ADA and Department of Justice to clarify. A real Service Dog team will thank you for the taking the time to find out what real service dogs are like (well trained but all individual with unique disabled partners) and not what organizations claim they have to be.

    Dogs grumble. They whine. Unless a law comes up that says I can ask other patrons to leave for being loud than I don’t understand why I should remove my dog for making small sounds when it is not legally required. Barking uncontrollably is one thing. Whining is another. You have put down requirements that even humans can’t fulfill. I mean, even wheelchairs sometimes squeak, right? My inhaler makes a sound too.

    And yes, I do have a real Service Dog. He is a really good boy. But unless a law states all these things on this blog soon, this is bogus.

    • Donna December 7, 2015

      Does your service dog whine in theaters? At concerts? At the movies? In restaurants? People are ejected for being noisy in such venues, and so too should a dog that whines in a place where one might reasonably expect quiet. The original post never claimed to be legal documentation for anything or anyone. It simply stated what most handlers consider to be proper etiquette for service dogs.

    • Roymond December 7, 2015

      “Dogs grumble. They whine. Unless a law comes up that says I can ask other patrons to leave for being loud than I don’t understand why I should remove my dog for making small sounds when it is not legally required. Barking uncontrollably is one thing. Whining is another. You have put down requirements that even humans can’t fulfill.”

      Brilliantly put!

      Even most fake service dogs I;ve seen are better-behaved than a lot of humans in public.

  • Lisa February 16, 2016

    Thanks so much. I am considering getting a service dog for balance issues due to a brain tumor and am researching service dogs. I recently saw a dog with a service dog vest in a grocery store and when I asked what service does the dog provide the woman proudly said “he visits with veterans”, or something like that. I commented, “oh, he’s a therapy dog”. The woman handed the leash to a man I assume was her husband and he took the dog away. I was unsure what to. This is very, very helpful.

  • savannah childress March 20, 2016

    the part where it says, “Let the manager know that while federal law does require them to permit access for all Service Dog teams, they’re not required to deal with dogs who aren’t ready for public access yet, and that federal law allows them to quietly ask the handler to remove the dog from the premise”

    my opinion thats a little harsh. being a service dog handler myself i totally understand that if ther misbehaving they need to be removed but
    what if the person caught the dog at a bad time. service dogs arent robots and cant behave every little second. so this is going to make people think that if they see one little mistake (even if the handler corrects it) that they arent real service dogs and go to the manager and get them removed for such a small thing

    dont get me wrong if it was something big or they kept doing it then yes id understand needing to be removed

  • BGSD April 25, 2016

    By these shoulds and shouldn’ts, my SD isn’t one at all. I let her meet the people I’m around and she does bark or growl when need be. I also allow her to ride in a shopping cart since she is so small and I need her near me at all times. She doesn’t completely focus on me, she focuses on our surroundings. I have PTSD, so when I’m standing one way and not against a wall, she watches the behind me to make sure no one comes up without me knowing, as that is one of my triggers. I’m a full time college student, so she has made “friends” with everyone in my classes. This is so that she is comfortable with them and vise versa if something were to happen that she needs to do something out of her normal character and if I need human help, she won’t think that they are harming me. I have been told several times that I need to have my “certification” and she had to display “service dog” on her vest. When I tell them otherwise, they get rude. This brings about my PTSD and gets me worked up. An verbal assault towards her is also towards me.

    • Roymond May 3, 2016

      You should get one of the summary cards that various places make (I use the ones from that give the basics about service dogs, to give to people so you don’t have to talk and explain.

      I once gave two out to a store assistant manager and the employee who was harassing me. Neither thought it was official. I told them if they didn’t believe it I would be more than happy to call the U S DoJ and they would be very efficient at explaining it in court and levying a fine on the store. Yeah, not really nice of me, but they were cornering me into an anxiety attack.

      Most businesses are glad to have correct information, and the cards I use have a number they can call to get info straight from the DoJ.

      • BGSD May 26, 2016

        Thank you! I will do this. I was told in a store not long ago that it was an OSHA issue. Instead of directly calling DoJ on them, I called the store manager. I wanted to give them a chance to work this issue out in-house before taking it further. Her “Service Dog” vest is way too big for her and she has slipped out of it a time or two when she was adjusting to it. Now she wears a vest that looks like she’s about to spend a day in the woods. 🙂

  • Amanda May 22, 2016

    I’m so sketchy about service dogs now since my Pitt and myself where both attacked and bit by a unleashed service dog. Guess what they still take the dog in places:(

  • Kate June 7, 2016

    Apologies if I already submitted this: I’m so glad to see your paragraph on interacting with others when allowed by the handler. My dog is amazing (of course) and since I’m very gregarious I often let her “assist” other people, often while I educate them about service dogs or my disability. The same traits that mean she can help me make her skilled with other people. She’s been the first dog some hundred or hundreds of people have even touched, she has asked to approach people under sometimes a great deal of stress or pain (pre- or post-surgery- she had a field day when I was hospitalized and my partner cared for her and passed through public parts of the hospital. I think she felt useful when she could sense my needs were covered by staff, etc.) She is, after all, a sentient being and can see everyone else around her.

    Regarding not responding to other dogs- I see imposters plenty and my dog is very good at ignoring them. Recently though we were walking down a main hall in University Hospital (Colorado) when a woman, man and very large GSD who was very obviously not an imposter approached. Mine GSD/Alaskan Malamute mix adores both of her “ancestral” breeds, greeting them whenever possible, but of course, she was working. This gorgeous guy seems to feel the same about her though and strained across the hall to meet her, love at first sight. It was the funniest thing since the handler and family enjoyed the spectacle as well. Usually she greets other working dogs calmly and respectfully, as humans greet each other but this time all I could do was place myself between her and the love smitten guy until they passed. There was no possibility of doing anything else. I know some of you are going to get pissy about something but the reality is that all humans involved understood and it served as a stress reliever and reminder of the er, humanity of the dogs.


    I’ve seen men with probable imposters.
    Dogs aren’t unsanitary- I ran a bit of a study (I’m an actual scientist) some years ago that showed freshly washed human hands grew significantly more bacteria than dogs lips or paws. Dogs and humans coevolved and it isn’t very likely it would have been this successful if they were.

    • Sour Puss (@TLLemon) June 8, 2016

      I love your story!

      (and for the potential grumpy complainers out there, dogs can and should feel love – even while working – that energy spreads.)

      • Roymond June 9, 2016

        Some service dogs should never interact with the public; others should or at least may.

        In my case, my dog should, as seeing that tail wag when he greets people serves a medical function: it reduces anxiety.

  • Clancy Brady June 10, 2016

    Is a disabled service dog handler required by federal law to pick up its dogs excrement.

  • James roux June 11, 2016

    I think it is impossible for a dog in training to just go right out and be perfect until he has been around enough to no better and vet the hang of it, my dog is a puppy and sometimes a bit stubborn but he is learning.Hes not god and is not perfect in anyway,but he tries and he does wat I ask and expect.People should not let there children come up to an unknown dog anyways,thats very dangerous and inconsiderate to the owner,they should ask first.And if my dog needs to use the bathroom he is taught to let me now with a wine…

  • Nina June 11, 2016

    I would like to add – because it wasn’t in the article, that for this reason anyone who has a young SDiT should have a vest that labels them as such. My 15 month Doberman is extremely well behaved in public and still, I would not feel comfortable using a ‘Service Dog’ patch because I know she is still young – and therefore not quite ‘finished’. I don’t want to rush or pressure her – I don’t want her to washout or lose interest in her work. But most importantly I don’t want to MISREPRESENT Service Dogs in the public eye. So until she’s mentally mature enough to be polished and finished, she has an ‘IN TRAINING’ patch on her harness.

    This seems only natural to me, as a consideration to other teams out there. SD-handler teams have a stellar reputation to uphold and I do not want to tarnish that. And I find it helps business employees and owners relax a little because they know she is not going to be perfect. All the places I’ve taken her to adore her fortunately because of her wonderful disposition and her quiet nature, but if she does happen to let out a bark (extremely rare), people don’t get agitated or worry about her being a ‘fake’ or anxious about future SD teams coming it, they understand that she is a work in progress.

  • Morgan black June 12, 2016

    Read the above article and it would seem the easiest way to legally challenge someone about their “fake service dog” is to simply ask what tasks their animal performs.I don’t want to sound like a distrustful person but you would be really surprised at how many people will try to make their pet a service dog just for the purpose of taking them into public places.My personal opinion is that anyone who has a legitimate service dog would have no problem with a quick answer and would cheerfully respond.People I have met with service dogs are usually very proud of them,and although the animal is trained to assist them they do make a really loving companion.AND IT SHOWS.All of this being said,i believe anyone calling their pet a service animal should be fined heavily simply because of the bad press it brings legitimate service animals that are there for assistance.

  • James June 17, 2016

    Everybody makes mistakes even humans not saying that it’s good for a dog to poop o r pee in a Cafe or restaurant whatever you prefer but if it does be respectful enough to clean it up better yet take your dog out before you go there babies wear diapers sometimes maybe a dog may have to if it’s that bad hopefully not and your dog is trained not to do butt mistakes do happen

    • Roymond June 24, 2016

      I was a possible witness for a court case once and the deputy serving as bailiff came and told me that if I needed to take my dog out he’d ask the judge for a quick recess if I happened to get called while out.

      If only everyone operated opn that level of respect for service dogs!

  • Jan workma July 2, 2016

    Should a service dog wander around on those retractable leaches?

      • Roymond July 4, 2016

        “Under direct control” doesn’t mean no wandering, depending on how you define “wander”. Both my dog and that of a veteran here “wander” to intercept people before they reach me — it’s part of their job.

  • Anita July 6, 2016

    To touch on the issue of people posing pets as “service dogs,” we just moved into an apartment with breed restrictions. I am outside with my dog letting him go to the bathroom and this bully breed came around the corner dragging his owner (this was not tension on the lead for job) and lunged at my dog, taking his owner with him and got a tuft of hair from my dogs tail. No, apology, nothing, not a word from the owner. I looked dumbfounded at this guy and then there reflecting on the dogs harness read “service dog.” Oh, really, your dog aggressive dog who is dragging you all over the place is a service dog? Maybe, you are trying but just like a service dog is not good for every disabled person, some dogs are not cut-out to be service dogs.

    I also work with a children who has disabilities, a child I work with who is animal aggressive (yes, you read that right he abuses animals and has killed a kitten and a bird). His mom wanted a show dog but didn’t have the money to buy it from the breeder so she wrote a letter saying it was for her disabled son who needed a service dog to get them to pay for it. They got this dog (he’s older), he’s cute as hell but he roams all over due to not being neutered, won’t sit, can’t walk on a leash, the child chokes it, kicks it and hits it. They are already taking it out in public, she was asked to leave a restaurant because it stole a hamburger from someone’s plate and she threw a fit about it.

    I have a service dog who is a year and a half into training, I wouldn’t have dreamed of taking him into public especially a restaurant before he mastered basic commands. That is utterly ridiculous, how can you have control in such a distracting enviornment when you don’t even have control at home? Personally, I think having people pass some sort of certification would be a good idea to keep teams safe. I also thinknow the ADA issuing sometime of public training check list outside of job specific training would be beneficial. Just because you can train your own service dog but doesn’t mean you should. If you have no idea what you are doing, please, please seek out help. It is so dangerous for everyone and the dogs when people don’t know what they are doing.

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  • debbie December 30, 2016

    Ok someone help me. I am a restaurant manager and a man came in tonight with a dog he said was a service dog. The dog knocked down a child that wasn’t trying to pet him but was just standing beside his parents table. The dog then left his handlers side again to eat all the fries that had just been spilled on the floor 2 tables away. When I spoke to the dog handler he told me that his dog was a service dog and he couldn’t be asked to leave. I asked for some proof and he said he didn’t need to provide that his word was enough and if I had a problem with that he would file charges against our restaurant and sue us. What can I do about this?

  • Ellie Hicks January 4, 2017

    Some businesses are down right rude when they see my mom bring her dog into their store.. We went to a Kohl store, and a staff member walked up and with a rude tone asked my mom to leave the premises.. My mom said He’s a service Doug and I have papers and a permit.. The woman said No, he will have to leave..

  • ann February 4, 2017

    My son was walking by a shopping cart with a dog with a “service dog,” vest on. Before I could even see it, and with no warning the dog BIT my 8 year old son. The isle was small, but my son was only walking, his arms close to him to get by the cart. This had to be a fake service animal, because I had seen it earlier and it was so scared looking. I just did NOT think it would bite, just walking by its cart or I would have gone on a completely different isle! Then I looked on Amazon and the exact vest was there from 8 different sellers! I love REAL service dogs, would never bother or pet them, I have not seen one acting out of control. Please, please don’t let people put “service dog” vest on UNtrained dogs! (I don’t mind service dog IN TRAINING, I would know to be careful of them!)

  • Jennifer Billington March 4, 2017

    Denny’s in Camillus NY, the manager on at night on 3/4/17 tried to make me leave with my dog because she didn’t have on a vest saying she was a services dog. She said that the animal could stay this time but next time she needs a vest or wouldn’t be aloud in. My dog has passed the AKC’s canine good citizen test and is well behaved. A week before this we went to radio shack in Auburn NY and the lady that was on made us leave because our dog didn’t have on a vest saying she was a services dog. We took her out and then my husband went back in to get the name of her Manager and the main number she wouldn’t talk to him. In both cases my dog didn’t bark, sniff, jump, mess, go up to anyone or eat anything. She listened to commands on que.

  • Mike March 15, 2017

    I live in a condo building with carpeted hallways, which allows dogs. The dogs can sometimes have an accident on the carpet while enroute to the outdoors.. We are considering a rule requiring pets be in a pet stroller or carried in arms when traveling through the hallways. The question was asked, can this rule be applied to “service” dogs also?

    • Alexis April 11, 2017

      Service dogs are considered medical equipment under the law. As such, they have access to virtually all places that a wheelchair would be allowed. So no, this rule would not apply to service dogs as a wheelchair would still be allowed on the carpeted hallways. Additionally, this rule could and would prevent many service dogs from performing their medically necessary tasks/work.

      Even if your complex has a weight restriction, this does not apply to service dogs (so they could be any size/breed). So even if this rule wouldn’t prevent the animal from performing its task/work, how would someone with a 100+ pound service animal carry the dog or place it in a stroller?

  • Emile Salwasser September 4, 2017

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  • Saunter September 14, 2017

    My daughter has a service dog that alerts her of a seizure in advance so she won’t fall and hit her head. He is the 5 th service dog to do this for her. The first one taught himself and I encouraged and added words he could understand. When he aged he acted as a role model and I taught too. This is what we do . And I teach proper polite in public. So today someone lied and told management he dog # 5imean. In a grocery store that dog was licking the stuff. He never licks , he sniffs but doesn’t touch . He sniffs from a distance. He was with me I’m his trainer and he practices . That’s why he is in the store with me when she isn’t with me . The sprite wanted registration but there’s no such thing so I showed the ada paper . Which is free they’ll send you more .

  • Makayla October 4, 2017

    I think this is very true, but some service dogs that are “in training” might take a while to actually learn how to lay down under a chair for a period of time, or not be anxious, etc. It takes practice, practice, practice, and baby steps. My SD is learning how to behave in my homeschool class, I do not expect her to lay down the whole time, rather I ask her to lay down half the time, and when she does she gets a treat, and then when she is laying down on her own, she gets treats tossed to her to let her know, that is the right thing to do. She also still has some anxiety about things, but that is only because she is still in the socializing process. She will get better as time progresses. 🙂 She has been trained through a SD program, and is very smart.

  • Kaje13 December 5, 2017

    I am and will be on a feeding tube for the rest of my life and I have PTSD. I have been thinking of being paired with a SD or having my current dog trained even though he already does most of what I would need from a SD but people tell me I am not disabled enough because I guess I don’t look it. I have bad lethargy and I have episodes where I have been known to pass out. My current dog knows when I am getting light headed and urges me to sit down or when I need to supplement my tube feedings with a bolus. I also deal with an issues which can cause me to start bleeding internally and start throwing up blood. He has gotten my husband, my mother and a friend when I have passed out. He does the job just doesn’t have the papers. He doesn’t bark, growl or interact with anyone but myself and he refuses to be apart from me. I have asked about bit before but I always get negativity about it and no on bothers asking me if I have issues just because I look normal besides the backpack I carry everywhere with my feeding pump and supplies. They just look at me and seem to get mad or annoyed if I even ask. Do I qualify? I can’t even work and I am on state assistance because of it.

    • Bridget Ilene Delaney December 19, 2017

      Your dog is a service dog if that is the case. There are some organizations that train service dogs, but you are allowed to train your own. The dog has to be well behaved in public settings and has to listen to your commands. You can buy service dog cards from for-profit companies or you can even make your own. My service dog is voluntarily registered with two organizations, so I have that information and her picture on a card. I opted to order a few “business cards” from FedEx with the information – it was cheaper than ordering any of the stuff from for-profit companies!

  • Brenda Raaen December 23, 2017

    This is an actual article that will be published by me Brenda Steinebach Raaen.copyright

    I plan on contacting some local newspapers

    What fake and un trained service dogs do not do

    I was a puppy raiser for Guide Dog For The Blind for 20 years and a puppy raiser for Canine Companions For Independence for 5 years .
    I am now a service dog recipient with yellow Labrador Retriever Bart from Canine Companions For Independence.

    At the age of 71 I have been paired with Bart for two wonderful years.
    Going out in the public with a dog is not new to me.

    The recent uproar of Fake Service Dog issues prompted me to write a version of my daily life in the public with a service dog.

    We have encountered many dogs in places of business, including shopping malls ,restaurants and grocery stores.
    there have been many times a dog has lunged ,barking and growling at us with no response from Bart. Many small dogs in grocery carts barking as we pass by again no response from Bart.

    In his daily life Bart must rest quietly under a table at restaurants ,often with spilled food on the floor.
    He must remain calm in many situations including being unaffected by city noise ,such as the backfire of a car, popping balloons and sirens going by.
    He was totally calm in Las Vegas last year in our fifth floor room and walking thru the noisy casino. He pushed elevator buttons with ease as folks watched and commented.

    He was beside me in the ER while I was examined by nurses and the doctor, again remaining calm the whole time.

    While at Costco I decided to take a few mental notes of our surroundings. A very crowded parking lot as the Holidays are upon us with honking horns and crowds of people in a hurry.
    Bart walks calm as a couple of kids laughing and having fun brush past us on the sidewalk ahead of the rest of the family. In the public setting running past a service dog is not un common. The dog must be conditioned to these events and remain in control.

    I have always walked with my dog very close to my legs, actually , Barts body ocassionly touches me as we walk. In 25 years as a puppy raiser it is just my way. Now as a senior it seems to keep me steady with hips that are weak.

    When walking with a grocery cart I attempt to keep Bart close enough that the cart protects him and he is behind it.

    The usual squeals of small children announcing “look its a puppy!”and inside the store we go.
    Since my distance walking is limited I very often use a wheelchair cart if available. Bart is wheelchair trained and that in itself is amazing, if I stop and he rests beside the wheelchair his legs are never pointed toward the chair. He maneuvers around as we tackle busy crowded aisles.
    He is constantly aware of the direction and turns with ease ,again much training goes into this.

    Bart remains calm around impulsive children reaching out as well as adults that often reach out to him as we go past. It is what the public perceives as being friendly and loving dogs. This in itself is a story as over the years I have heard countless fun pet dog stories and been asked a million questions.
    My personal take has been to use the same kindness and consideration when answering the 100th question as I do the first question. Puppy raising taught me to be a teacher on the subject of the working dog thereby assisting public awareness. Education is never ending in my opinion.

    Food smells are all around us and the kids with cookies in hand are very near his face as they scurry by. Teaching a dog to leave food on the floor and not grab from children with a hot dog in hand is a wonderful tool.

    I notice how close some of the people pushing carts get to Bart as I protect him from being bumped by those who do not notice him in the crowd. Yes , he has actually been bumped by carts before.

    It seems every corner has a sample booth set up and the food smells are strong.

    There are heavy carts full of tires as the person pushing it makes their way up front. Bart,again is aware but un affected by any of the noise.
    Suddenly an unsupervised toddler appears from between the tables piled with clothing and throws his arms around Bart. I see a wag of a tail but not once does he offer to lick the cookie laden face! Mom grabs the child and says Im sorry as she places him in a cart.My opportunity to place a service dog bookmark in the child’s hand and have a moment of conversation.

    You see, this is simply a short trip to Costco on a busy day. The service dog must remain calm in a wide range of situations, in his everyday life.

    The average pet dog, even a well trained pet dog usually would not react in this manner.

    The amount of specialized training that it takes from an 8 week old puppy to an adult at 18 months is unmeasurable.
    Countless hours of socialization and exposing the puppy to these working conditions is not simple.

    A pet dog simply cannot be taken out of the home environment and placed in a working one with great success.
    Truly it is not fair to the dog to expect calmness in the face of crowds and honking horns and surrounded by strangers. People rarely think how an average pet dog would actually react to these situations.
    Waiting calmly on the floor at the ER while the owner gets checked out. The list is endless.

    Generally the pet dog has exposure to a trip to the Veterinarian and visits to the dog park and long walks in the neighborhood. Often an obedience class and even a Canine Good Citizen class. All very wonderful tools for the household pet dog but no comparison to service dog training.

    This article will be continued as I have many stories of what I lovingly refer to as
    The Service Of A Dog.
    stay tuned

  • Lisa December 24, 2017

    We have a service dog, Baron, in training. My husband is a licensed Veterinarian. He has been socialized he since 8 weeks old. He goes to the clinic daily. He lays just outside his private office watching people and other animals coming and going. He has “trained” his clients not to approach Baron

    We have not had any issues with him on public places. People do want to see him but when he is working Baron sits politely while my husband explains about service animals and their training.

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  • jouicylara November 14, 2022

    This is really very amazing

  • Tex Hooper December 2, 2022

    That makes sense that you don’t want your dog jumping all over everyone. My dog seems to have that problem with strangers. I’ll have to have him trained to stop.

  • Jack Ducan April 26, 2023

    The military working dog handlers are often deployed alongside their canine partners to perform various tasks: Detecting explosives, Conducting search and rescue missions, etc.

  • Mele Luau May 24, 2023

    Thank you for this article! It is very informative and helpful to learn more about service dogs in public. I found the information on national laws and regulations especially beneficial. I would love to learn more about how I can best interact with service dogs when I see them in public. Are there any other resources I can look at for tips on interacting with these animals?


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