Thursday, March 28, 2013

Service Dogs Rock!!

Before we get down to business on service dogs, let's take a moment to reflect on how Truffle decided to thank me for her latest grooming.


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Modern Service Dogs - A Quick Primer On What to Know & Why They are Amazing!

What kind of jobs do service dogs do?

There are several different kinds of service dogs, including guide dogs, hearing dogs, mobility dogs, seizure alert/response dogs, psychiatric service dogs, and autism dogs. There are also other types of dogs with jobs that help people, including therapy dogs and emotional support animals.

Can I train my own dog to be a service animal?

One of the big challenges for people training service dogs is getting the dog adequately trained for public access. Not all dogs have the temperament to handle the stress of working in public. Remember that you must meet the ADA definition of having a "disability" and, to be considered a service dog, your dog must be trained to perform tasks directly related to your disability. The Minimum Standards for Service Dogs documents the recommended characteristics and minimum set of skills required of all service dogs. The Minimum Standards also address the health and safety of the public, handler, and dog. How does an dog/animal qualify to become a psychiatric service animal? The Americans with Disabilities Act, 1990, (ADA), defines service animal as: "any animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability." The ADA defines adisability as: "a mental or physical condition which substantially limits a major life activity such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and working." To be considered a service animal, the animalsmust be trained to perform tasks directly related to the person's disability. “Comforting" or "giving love", although clinically proven to be beneficial for people, would not be acknowledged as a trained "task" by the Department of Justice, which enforces the ADA. Examples of trained tasks performed by psychiatric service dogs can be found

How can I get my service animal/dog certified/registered?

The ADA does not require service animals to be "certified". This type of assessment and identification is not a legal requirement under the ADA and other federal non-discrimination laws, but is preferred by some handlers. Some service dog trainers and programs evaluate the dogs they train and provide the handlers with some type of identification card.

How can I identify if an animal is a service animal and not just a pet?

The simple answer is to ask the handler, “Is this a service dog?” You may also ask what tasks the dog has been trained to do for the handler. A service dog can be any breed or size. There is no Federal requirement that the dog wear any special gear or identification. Also, there is no requirement that the handler carry any certification papers showing that the dog has been trained as a service dog. You may not ask the person about the nature or extent of his or her disability.

How much does a service animal cost?

Trainer and acquisition fees may range from no cost to thousands of dollars. Each service animal trainer or training program sets their own fees. Some people choose to look for sponsorship for their service animal from local organizations such as businesses, churches, and civic groups. By helping sponsor a service animal, local organizations give back to their community.

Service dogs support our community and without them, we would miss out on many opportunities to interact with valuable individuals who also make a difference every day.

Take a peek at this informative and heart-warming video on how service animals are trained for humans in need @

There are so many wonderful, charitable organizations that connect positively-trained dogs with people.  Canine Assistants is an established not-for-profit organization that enhances life for persons with medical conditions and disabilities.

Warm Wags!
Misti Fry, M.S., C.P.D.T.-K.A.

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