How to Get Your Dog to Be a Service Dog with No Hassle or Stress


Did you know that it’s possible to take your pet with you wherever you go? By making your dog a service animal, you have the legal right to take your dog to all public places in the United States. Service dogs are very special canines who have undergone specific training to help their owners while they are suffering from a mental or physical disability or disorder. If you have been diagnosed with a qualifying disability, you can get your dog to be a service dog and enjoy unrestricted access to retail stores, restaurants, cafes, hotels, apartment buildings, and even onto public transport and airplanes.


Service Dog Access Rights in the United States

Although the majority of Americans are pet friendly (more than 60% of US households own a pet), the majority of American business are not pet friendly. Many have established strict “no dogs allowed” policies, not because they dislike all dogs but because a small percentage of the animals that come onto their premises are disruptive, out of control, and clearly not trained in how to behave politely in public.

Usually there is no way around this, except for a federal law called the Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA). Established in 1990, the law states that service animals are allowed complete and unrestricted access to all public places in the US. Service dogs are also allowed free and complete access to all apartments, condos, hotels, resorts, and onto all domestic airlines without being charged a fee of any kind.

In order to make your dog a service dog you need to have a qualifying disability. There are a diverse range of disabilities and disorders that would qualify you for an assistance animal, and many people are unaware that they in fact do qualify. Service dogs are given to people with autism, mobility issues, blindness, deafness, chronic depression and anxiety, as well as people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and many other mental and physical conditions. For a disability to qualify, it must impede a major part of your life and limit your ability to perform normal everyday tasks in some way.

Most people think of service dogs as medium-size breeds of dogs such as golden retrievers and labradors working as a guide dog for a blind person, but any size, breed, age or sex of dog can become a service canine. Small dog breeds such as jack russell terriers and beagles make excellent medical alert dogs and also provide emotional support for their owners with physiological disorders.


how to register a service dog online

A service animal waits patiently for it’s handler in a dental office.


The Registration Process for a Service Dog

The process to get your dog certified as a service animal is very simple. Most people go to one of the various online businesses that sell service canine kits and get their own pet certified as a service dog to take him or her with them wherever they go. This is a quick and easy process, and after filling out an online information form, you’re service dog kit will arrive in the mail within a few days or weeks. A complete service dog kit usually cost between $50 and $200, depending on the options and accessories that are included. Usually, a service dog harness and certification papers are provided to make your new assistance dog easy to identify in public (although it isn’t legally required to carry or display any kind of identification or paperwork for a service animal in the US).

service dog with bracing harnessThe ADA provides no guidelines or requirements for what a service dog is required to be able to do in order to be considered a service animal. The service animal industry in the US is essentially self-regulated, and individual companies and organizations provide their own training requirements for the service dogs that they breed, train and place with families who need them. Nevertheless, most service animals go through at least six months of intensive training from a professional trainer, and are required to be patient and disciplined enough to not only perform the complex tasks their handlers need them for but to be able to remain in control at all times in all places. The entire training process can be very costly, in some cases more than $10,000.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of pet dogs simply don’t have the right temperament to become service animals. Most dogs intended for service are breed specifically for that purpose and trained from puppyhood. Service dogs are working dogs, and they are can be called upon to provide life-saving help for their handlers. Common tasks that service dogs get trained for include: pulling wheelchairs, providing warnings about food products that their owner is allergic to, providing warnings of seizures and helping to restrain their handler when having a seizure to prevent injury, helping the elderly with everyday tasks by picking up and moving objects and opening doors, and many other tasks. These are very special canines and can provide help and support that goes far beyond what any current technology is able to do.



service dog with vestIf you believe you have a disability that would qualify you for a service dog, and you think your dog has the right personality and disposition to become a service dog, investing in training with an experienced trainer is the first step. We don’t recommend attempting to train your pet yourself, as the training process is long and complicated, and can be very frustrating and oftentimes it isn’t possible for an amateur to complete.

Every service animal is required to perform different tasks and jobs, and before you decide to start training it’s a good idea to speak with an organization experienced at working with assistance animals to get an idea of what the whole process involves, what exactly you will need to do and an accurate idea of the overall cost. If you decide to go through with training and your dog is successfully able to complete all the required work, you can look into service dog registration and buying the necessary accessories.

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