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Service Dog Training

When we think about a service dog, we often imagine German Shepherds or Labradors, but most dogs are great service dogs, and individual quality dogs can meet the most diverse accompanying needs. It is vital to understand that service dogs are working and helping dogs, they perform an important function for people whom they assist. And we should understand that they are quite different from being just pets. Service dogs help people with disabilities, and emotional support dogs are wonderful companions that provide great comfort, but emotional support dogs are not trained individually to perform specific tasks for them.

After Bonita Bergin demonstrated the concept of a service dog in 1975 to support mobility, a new role for service dogs was created such as service dogs for people with psychiatric disorders, autism, detection of seizures related to epilepsy, hypoglycemia, and diabetes. PAWS trains dogs to help people with ALS, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, rheumatoid degeneration, ALS, Multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and many other diseases that affect mobility and strength.

Why do we need service dogs?

There are numerous reasons why we need service dogs to assist us. For example, there are thousands of returning veterans who suffer from PTSD and struggle to adjust to normal life. As volunteers working to train Service Dogs for the public, our initial staff has received numerous requests from individuals wanting to train their own dogs.

The need for service animals is critical. Some people with disabilities might require more than one service animal to perform their various daily activities emphasizing that need. For example, a person with a visual impairment and a seizure disorder might only need one service dog to help him/her. But for others with the same disabilities may need two service/assistance dogs to help them. I think you have seen people with two dogs stabilize themselves for walking.

ADA and Service Dogs

If you read The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) they define service dogs as dogs who are adequately trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. The task of psychoanalytic service animals includes reminding people to take medicines, security checks in a room, looking for and turning off lights for a person with post-traumatic stress disorder, stopping self-mutilation in a person with dissociative identity disorder, and excluding disoriented people from danger. Therefore, ADA shows us that the task of the dog is related to the disability of the individual, hence the dog needs the correct training to be a service dog.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) require service dog training that includes both work and task training. If your service dog can provide emotional comfort or alert you to dangerous signs such as diabetic seizures the price is low, and intensive training is possible for service dogs with physical disabilities, but is not necessary. Of course, this depends on your dog, your ability to train him and the hiring of a professional trainer for your specific disability.

Laws, Regulations & Standards for Service Dogs in USA

In order for a service dog to be accepted in public places, on air travel, and in constant presence with a disabled person, there are certain laws and rules designed to ensure the safety of the public, the service dog, and the owner. In accordance with ADI standards, the service dog and handler must adhere basic guidelines and rules to ensure they do not violate federal service dog laws.

The Places Where Service Dogs are Allowed To Stay

According to the ADA & U.S. Department of Justice, service animals should be allowed to accompany people with disabilities in places that are open to the public. Also, ADA states that It would be inappropriate to ban a service animal from the following areas; patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias. And even from the examination rooms. But, ADA also states that it is appropriate to exclude a service animal from places like incineration units or operating rooms. These are the places where the service animal’s presence could compromise the sterile environment of such places. A lot of people and public and private organizations seem to lack the understanding of where service dogs are allowed or not, hence causing issues.

Service Dog Training

Service dogs have that ability which is combined with training to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities. As service dogs become more and more common nowadays, there are more problems arising. The problems result from a lack of understanding of service dog training, their functions, and regulations about their access to public facilities.

In order for your dog to learn your basic emotional and physiological states and signals, you need to leave your baseline and much closer contact is required. If you do not get your dog out during the training, the possibility of contact is lost. Some offer scientific courses of study in assistance dog training in human and canine sciences. 

How to become a service dog trainer

In order to work as a professional service dog handler, you must meet certain standards, requirements and training procedures. Although no school education is required in this area, you still need to ensure that you have met the minimum required education requirements for a specific training program. The type and duration of the training programs vary depending on the objective and purpose.

Basics of service dog trainer

Initially, you will be asked to educate yourself about dog behavior, learn theories and training skills, and develop calm and patient behavior in order to be better with dogs. Rules, laws and criteria required to become a professional dog handler and the essential elements of a service dog to be legally recognized as a service dog.

Where to register a service dog

For a service dog that you take with you and that is already well trained, you will still need to register it. Because, that’s how you do not violate any laws in your state. In countries like Canada, UK and USA there are rules and regulations for keeping service/assistance dogs and you need to understand them thoroughly and completely. While no strict licensing and certification program is offered, most assistance dog training organizations offer certain testing and certification programs based on their own rules. These rules are infact in accordance with relevant federal and state laws.

You can contact NSAR, USA to take the required tests and apply for the legal service dog registration process.