How to Register Your Dog as a Service Dog

how to register your dog as a service dog

If you’re looking into how to make your dog a service dog, you can look no further. This article explains everything you need to know in order to get your pet registered as a service animal. Service dogs are remarkable canines, and they fill many roles in peoples’ lives: helper, companion, guardian, guide, even life-saver in some cases. Service dogs assist many people with mental and physical disorders and disabilities, including post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic depression and anxiety, autism, frequent seizures, as well as helping individuals who need mobility assistance and medical alerts.

Service Animal Laws in the US

Under US federal law, you are allowed to take a service animal into any public place, including into restaurants, cafes, libraries, onto airplanes (at no additional cost), and also into apartment buildings and hotels, even if they have a “no dogs allowed” policy. According to the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA), you have the legal right to take a service animal into any public place without having to carry or display any kind of ID or prove that your dog is a service animal, and you aren’t required to prove that your dog has been trained to do any specific jobs. Also, no one is allowed to inquire about what kind of disability you have or ask you to prove that you have a disability.

However, service dog status doesn’t always guarantee that your pet will be given free access to everywhere without dispute. If your service dog is out of control, behaving in a disruptive manner or is disturbing other people, the staff of the establishment can ask you to leave your dog outside. If the staff have a legitimate reason to ask you to leave your dog outside, you must comply with their request.

Additionally, a service animal must be securely leashed while out in public unless the handler is able to maintain control of the dog with voice commands, hand gestures or a dog whistle. Because most service animals are given extensive training in obedience and are able to concentrate on their handler even in busy places, this usually isn’t a problem.

service animals laws in usAny breed, age, size or sex of dog can become a service dog, and unlike therapy dogs and emotional support dogs, service animals get full protection under federal law. Many of the disabilities that might qualify someone for a service dog are not physical and therefore not always visible. Many service animals are guide dogs and mobility assistance dogs, and these dogs are easy to spot, but many more serve as medical alert dogs, help their owners with a mental disability, or even help to prevent children with frequent seizures from injuring themselves.

The service animal industry in the US is essentially self-regulated, and doesn’t state any requirements about how much training a dog has to undergo to become a service dog. However, most assistance dogs are put through at least six months of obedience training and instruction in the specific jobs they will be doing to help their disabled handler. Many service animals are given advanced training in performing complex jobs such as picking up and carrying objects, opening and closing doors, pulling wheelchairs, and many more tasks.

How to Register a Service Dog

There are many private online businesses that allow you to get your dog certified as a service dog. These companies usually have some kind of online form for you to get a service dog certification. For a reasonable cost they can provide you with a full package for a service animal, which includes a certificate, ID cards, a collar and leash, a labeled service dog vest, and a guidebook on the various laws and regulations on assistance animals.

None of these service dog registration companies are affiliated with or represent the ADA or any government organization. Because of the self-regulated nature of the assistance animal industry, the quality and value you get when purchasing any accessories from private companies varies. Also, it isn’t necessary to register or certify a service animal or to carry any kind of identification in order to gain the protection of the ADA.

Getting a Service Dog Harness and Vest

service dog harnessMost people choose to buy a service dog vest and harness to make sure their animal is always easy to identify as a working dog and not a pet. In most cases, the employees of businesses and members of the general public will not question or confront anyone who’s dog is wearing a clearly-labeled service dog vest.

Prices and quality vary for service animal accessories, and we recommend that you look into purchasing only products that have been hand-made in the USA or Europe. In our experience, you more or less get what you pay for, and if you decide to buy a cheap imported service dog harness or vest, you may find yourself having to buy another one a few months later when the first has broken. High-quality nylon or leather harnesses can be bough from e-commerce stores such as Active It’s definitely worth paying more for a good quality product that will last you for as long as you need it.


how to register a service dogIf you were wondering how to register your dog as a service dog, you may have been surprised to learn that it’s really a very simple process. Getting your dog certified as a service dog is the easy part, the hard part is training your dog to do whatever tasks and jobs are needed to assist you with your disability.

The truth is that very few dogs have the right temperament to become service animals; a dog needs to be extremely patient, observant, easy to train, and disciplined enough to remain focused on helping the disabled handler in all places at all times. It’s for this reason that most of the not-for-profit organizations that specialize in training assistance animals have their dogs specially breed and hand-chosen before they begin training. Because the full training program (including the cost of dog boarding, food, vet care, toys and accessories) can cost upwards of $15,000, they want to make sure the dogs they begin to train have had their personality and disposition tested to make sure they are good candidates to make it through the training process.

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