Service dogs are becoming more of a necessity for people with disabilities, but not everyone has the resources to acquire one. This is why many people are beginning to take matters into their own hands and train their own service dogs.
There are legitimate ways to turn your pet into a service dog, but unfortunately many people are simply abusing the system by getting their pets to pass as service dogs and then profiting from them in various ways. Therefore, it may be helpful to know the basics of ensuring a legitimate service dog registration.
What Can a Service Dog Do for You?
A service dog can perform a variety of tasks to help its handler. They are usually trained to be calm and non-threatening. They should not be aggressive, bark excessively, or exhibit any other behaviors that may cause discomfort to others.
Not all service dogs are the same. A person’s disability will determine what tasks their dog is able to perform. For example, a guide dog may be able to navigate public transportation systems and help its owner with the visual impairments associated with it, but not a hearing dog, which would not be able to hear the traffic sounds and make its owner aware of them.
However, service dogs are not the same as emotional support animals (ESAs). The difference lies in the way they are trained. Emotional support animals are not typically trained to perform tasks that the person with a disability needs. They simply provide comfort and companionship. A service dog must be thoroughly trained to aid their owner’s life.
Is Service Dog Registration Necessary?
Many people assume that you need to register their service dog with the state, but this is not true. In fact, registration is not necessary at all! The requirements that you need to fulfill is that your dog is trained and certified thoroughly per your needs. This training can be done by a professional organization, or it can be done by yourself.
Furthermore, you may need to put your service dog in some clothes that will easily set them apart from other dogs. This is especially true if you plan on using your dog in public. You can even put a vest on them, which will let people know that they are working. You also need a letter by a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) or a healthcare provider stating that you have a disability and that your dog is meant to help you.
What to Watch Out for in Fake Registrations
There are many ways that you can spot a fake service dog registration. Note that registration is not mandatory at all by federal laws. If you find an online website offering to have your service dog registered for a fee, you should be wary that this is likely a scam.
It is important to note that if you have any questions about the legitimacy of a service dog registration, you should speak with your doctor or a mental health professional.