Nowadays, many people have enlisted the help of service dogs. Service dogs help individuals with disabilities, including veterans, people with mobility impairments, and others. Service dogs perform tasks that the individuals they are trained to assist cannot do themselves. This includes guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, pulling wheelchairs, and providing physical support for individuals with mobility impairments. Service dogs perform tasks that mitigate the effects of disabilities and provide an important function for their owners.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that public entities provide reasonable modifications to policies and practices to permit individuals with disabilities to use service animals without requiring them to limit the types of animals they can keep. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs or activities, including housing and travel. In doing so, everyone is ensured equal rights to enjoy the same public services, facilities, and goods. But how do you get your pet recognized as a service dog? Let’s find out.
The Difference Between a Service Dog and an ESA
Before we get started, let’s make one thing clear: service dogs are not ESAs. Service dogs are those trained to perform tasks that mitigate the effects of a person’s disability, while ESAs are those meant to provide emotional support and comfort.
A service dog is any dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The work or task performed by the dog must be directly related to the individual’s disability. On the other hand, an emotional support animal (ESA) is an animal that provides emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship. Emotional support animals are not individually trained to perform tasks for their owners.
How to Train Your Service Dog
The one thing that sets service dogs apart from emotional support animals is the training that they must go through. How they are trained, specifically, will of course depend on the needs of their owner. For example, a psychiatric service dog would be trained to detect certain cues and/or commands, such as how to pull their owner away from a panic attack.
The most important thing is that your dog knows how to stay calm, collected, and focused. Your service dog cannot get distracted by other dogs, noises, or distractions. They must be able to focus on its owner’s commands and cues. They also should be able to remain well-behaved in public spaces. If they keep causing a ruckus and being aggressive towards strangers while out and about, they’ll end up being denied access.
Do You Need to Register Your Service Dog?
Federal registration is actually not a mandatory thing. So long as your service dog has been trained and certified, and if they have distinguishing clothing such as a vest, then you don’t need to register them. However, if you want to make it easier for other people to check if your dog is a registered service animal, you may want to consider registering your dog.