Service dogs provide a unique set of skills to people with disabilities. Service dogs are specifically trained to perform tasks that the person with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. Examples of these tasks include retrieving objects, guiding people, alerting people to sounds, reminding people of appointments or just being a constant companion. Service dogs can also be trained to perform tasks that are not service dog related but make life easier for their handler.
If you have a disability and are interested in getting a service dog, you may be wondering what it takes to register your dog. Read through this article to find out.
Difference Between Service Dogs and ESAs
The first thing we need to get straight is that a service dog is not an ESA.
Service dogs are specifically trained to perform tasks that the person with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. They are also individually trained to meet the needs of their handler. This means that each dog has their own unique training and skill set. The task performed by the service dog is not a learned behavior but rather a natural one.
An ESA can be any animal (other than a service dog) that provides emotional support or comfort to a person with a disability. An ESA does not have to be trained to perform tasks that the person with a disability cannot perform for him or herself.
How to Register a US Service Dog
Registration itself is not obligatory for service dog owners. As long as your dog has gone through the appropriate training and certification program, you can simply be acknowledged as someone who owns a service dog.
However, putting your dog in a registry can help cut back time in case you’re in a public space and you’re asked to provide proof that your dog is a service dog. If you are in a situation where you’re not allowed to be with your dog because you’re in a public space, having a service dog registration proof will help cut back time and help the authorities know that you have a legitimate assistance animal. Fortunately, the process is quite easy; simply search for an online registry and fill in a quick form.
Service Dog Rights and Benefits
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), public places such as airports, government buildings and hotels must allow service dogs to accompany their handlers if they are properly harnessed and leashed. This rule may apply even if the area is normally off-limits for regular pets.
In order for a business or other entity covered by the ADA to legally deny someone’s right to bring their service dog into its establishment, it must provide an “undue hardship” on its operations.
Undue hardship is defined as any significant difficulty or expense that would result from trying to accommodate an owner and their service dog. If your service dog is aggressive and is seen as a threat to nearby patrons, then you may be asked to vacate the premises along with your animal.