Service Dogs

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Service Dog – Active Task

A service dog is a well behaved, non-aggressive dog trained specifically to mitigate a disability.  A service dog must be “task trained”, which means that the dog is an active participant in mitigating a disability of its effects.  For example, a dog can be specifically trained to alert a person when their blood sugar is high or low and then stabilize their handler physically or behaviorally.  Another example includes a child or adult with autism has a tendency to run and the dog can be trained to physically prevent them from running by perhaps laying down across their lap to reduce their cortisol or ward off a meltdown.  The dog could also be trained to track their owner.  The key is that the dog performs a trained task as communicated by their owner through verbal commands or hand signals or they do the task automatically.

Service dogs undergo one to two years of training in order to perform the tasks and to ensure adequate public access exposure so that they’re non-reactive to their surroundings and can be in any venue.  Aggression of any type is unacceptable.

The dog should be between 3-6 feet of the handler and needs to be able to move independently in case they need to retrieve an item or open a door.  They should does not need to be restrained on a leash and should not be approached or pet by anyone other than their handler while the dog is working and wearing a vest.

The rights of a trained service dog are protected by the ADA provided they are with their trainer.

Psychiatric Service Dog 

A psychiatric service dog is a specific type of service dog who mitigates the effects of a psychiatric disability.  These dogs are “task trained” and are active participants.  Typical tasks include guiding a distraught owner during a panic attack to a safe location, applying deep pressure by laying across the owner’s lap or blocking other people from approaching the owner.  No aggression or excessive vocalization should be permitted, except as required to mitigate the owners disability.


Recent Articles

Hearing Dogs

Hearing dogs typically alert their handlers that there is a sound, such as a telephone ring or siren.  They also alert to other potential danger and keeps the handler from being harmed or surprised.  Hearing dogs are typically on the larger side so that they can get the attention of their handler and successfully alert

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Medical alert dogs

Medical alert dogs range from dogs who can detect diabetic ups and downs in blood sugar, severe hypoglycemia, seizures, ticks and other physical and neurological incidents. Each dog should be trained for the individual needs of the recipient, which can take 12-18 months.  Medical alert dogs may sometimes appear to be sleeping or resting, but

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Physical and Mobility Assistance Dogs

Physical and mobility assistance dogs are by very definition larger dogs who can brace or even lift a person who may have physical limitations including handlers with MS, CP, CRPS, vertigo and many other conditions. These dogs may provide physical balance and support, which if distracted by a well-meaning bystander can cause the dog to

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Does a service dog have to be professionally trained?

If you’re wondering whether a service dog must be professionally trained, the answer is no. Many legitimate service dogs are trained by experts by reputable organizations with decades of experience.  Some dogs are trained by a local dog trainer or self-trained by owners.  Behavior is key, not method or origination of training. A professionally trained

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Emotional support dog for passive support

An emotional support dog is a dog who provides emotional comfort for its owner.  The dog doesn’t need to receive any specialized task training according to current definitions of emotional support dog.  The dog does not perform any tasks to mitigate the disability, however, the owner feels emotional comforted by petting the dog or by

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Emotional support dog training

Emotional support dog training maybe professional or self-taught. Some individuals are able to train their own dogs, with or without the help of an organization or individual.  It is not necessarily important who trained the dog, but rather that the dog is properly trained and performs tasks specifically designed to mitigate the disability.  If a

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