Have you been dealing with a disability of some sort? Has your family been talking about you needing more help if you are going to keep living on your own? Do you struggle with doing a daily task and need help? If you have said yes to any or even all these questions, you may want to get a service dog. Service dogs can make amazing companions and even help you live more independently if you have a disability. Find out 10 things you didn’t know about service dogs today.
Service Dogs Are Different Than Emotional Support And Therapy Dogs
Service dogs are trained to help their handlers who have a disability of some sort. They can help their handler to live more independently. These dogs are protected by the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act. They are allowed to be in public places such as on public buses, in grocery stores, and even at restaurants.
Service dogs are not emotional support dogs. While they can emotionally connect with their loved ones, service dogs need to have training and emotional support dogs don’t. To have an emotional support animal, someone simply needs a note from a doctor or even a prescription wrote for an emotional support animal.
Service dogs are not therapy dogs. They do comfort their handlers in many settings. However, therapy dogs are meant to provide comfort during therapy sessions. Service dogs are helping their handlers to get something done, such as bring in the newspaper.
If you have a disability , you may want to talk to your doctor about getting a service dog.
No Certificate Needed
The American Disabilities Act does not require someone to have a certificate for their service dog. However, it is very clear on the differences between service and non-service dogs. A service dog is professionally trained , or their owner must teach them how to assist with their disability. A service dog needs to be trained to do a minimum of one specific task for their disabled handler or owner. They must behave well in public places. These dogs are seen as a type of medical equipment , something a person needs to have to help them manage their disability .
No Identification or Vest Needed
There are many service dogs you see that wear vests or even an identification tag on their collar. Service dogs do not need to have these. The American Disabilities Act does not require they do so. The majority of handlers do opt for their service dog to wear a vest, since getting their dog into public places is easier that way. Without seeing a service dog perform an act to help their handler , many business owners and workers in public places don‘t know right away what type of dog it is. The vest helps these people to distinguish a service dog from an emotiona l support animal, for instance.
No Weight Restrictions or Breed Restrictions
If you are going to get a service dog, you should know there are no weight or breed restricti ons. You can get any sized dog you want. There are going to be some dogs who are better at performing certain tasks for their owner than others. For instance, a Shih Tzu can‘t pull their handler’s wheelchair. However, a Shih Tzu could let their handler know if their phone is ringing. Many of the service dogs seen are German Shepherds or Golden Retrievers. However, other dogs could assist their owners with a disability as well.
Faking A Service Dog Could Be Dangerous
Service dogs can do some very incredible things. They are seen all around the world , helping their handler‘s to manage their disability better in some way or another. However, some people do fake their service dog. If someone doesn‘t have an actual disability and they have not trained their dog to do at least one specific task , it is not a qualified service dog.
There could be a great danger to others in the community if you fake a service dog. They could distract true service dogs from doing their trained tasks. They could even attack other service dogs or humans. Many people are still unsure of whether service dogs can even be helpful to their handlers. Faking a service dog can make this lack of belief or trust even worth . If someone fakes a service dog, they can receive a fine and even be charged federally with a crime.
It isn‘t just convenient for true service dogs to go places with their owner. Their handlers need them to help with certain tasks. A service dog is a tool, just like medical equipment. Some handlers wouldn‘t be independent if it weren‘t for their service dog. Keep this in mind.
Most Handlers Don’t Want You To Pet Their Service Dog
One thing many people don‘t know is that most handlers don‘t want you to pet their service dog. The dog is out in public with them to help with a task, not so they can be loved by strangers. By asking to pet someone‘s service dog, you are a distraction the dog from their tasks. The service
dog is trained to help their handler. Distracting them from their job is not what their handler needs or wants.
Questions Asked In Public About Service Dogs
While there is no certificate, vest, or identification required to have a service dog, there are some questions public shop owners or restaurant employees may ask about a service dog.
They may ask if the dog is needed to help with a disability. They may ask what tasks the service dog has been trained in doing. They can‘t make someone prove they are disabled . If the employee asks for the service dog to perform the task the handler mentioned, they must have their dog do it.
Dogs Are Only Allowed As Service Animals
People who need an emotional support animal could get a hamster, duck, macaw, dog, cat, or practically any animal. Dogs are only allowed as service animals. In some instances, miniature horses might be allowed, depending on the circumstances and their capability of performing a specific task.
Tasks Service Dogs Can Perform
Service dogs all around the world have been trained to do some pretty incredible tasks. Some service dogs help their owners who are visually impaired or blind get across the street. Service dogs can alert someone if their handler has a seizure. If the handler is hearing disabled , they may alert them of the phone ringing. Service dogs can give medication reminders to their handler. They can help their handler if they have an anxiety attack. They can pull wheelcha irs, alert their handler if blood sugar changes too much, and even more.
Service Dogs Can Help Someone Overcome Addiction
Some people who need to overcome an addiction, need to take medications to help manage their withdrawal symptoms. They also may need to be on depression or anxiety medications as well, after leaving alc o hol treatment. If someone doesn‘t take their medication , they could end up drinking or abusing drugs again. A service dog can remind their handler to take their
medication. They can even assist them and comfort them if they are dealing with a panic attack.
If you were misinformed before or didn‘t know about the capabilities of service dogs, hopefully , this gives you a better understanding of them.