service dog information Alaska dog works

Why Can’t My Dog Be a Service Dog?

While your sweet dog provides you with many beneficial components they may not be suited to provide you with the service tasks you require day-in and day-out. The rigors of a working dog take their toll on dogs physically and mentally. There are specific breeds that have been developed to do this work. They have been selected for their soundness of temperament, mind and physicality to perform over and over again for you for years.

One of the most asked questions, when someone inquires about our Lead Dog Service Dog Program at Dog Works Training Co., is can my dog get certified as my psychiatric service dog? 

Many people have the desire to have their dog with them at all times, and while this is a fabulous idea it’s just not conducive to how our communities are designed.

When Psychiatric service dogs were first defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, they were given the broadest definition of all other types of service dogs. Providing individuals that suffer from anxiety and depression at any level meant that they could now have their dog with them anywhere anytime.  This began to cause problems in restaurants and on airplanes.  Eventually, the ADA updated the definition and created a new section called Emotional Support Animal. These included other animals besides the typical service dog. However, the biggest issue with this is that the ADA has never put any requirements as to what or how the animal is trained. It is extremely broad. Basically, it says that the animal should not defecate in public spaces and should not bare teeth, growl, or lunge at other people.  The ADA does not have a requirement for Service Animals to be professionally trained.

Eventually, people caught on and began taking all sorts of animals with them when traveling especially by plane to avoid the costly fees of placing their pets in cargo spaces. Many people have not to crate trained their pets and could not bear the thought of them being placed in the cargo section of the plane. Again this began causing problems, especially for other people that needed their service dogs. People abusing the policies infringed on the rights of the truly disabled.

The ADA along with the Department of Transportation recently revamped the definitions and banned ESAs on all flights. There is now a process by which any individual flying with a service dog must register that dog with the DOT, it is assigned a lifetime number, like a social security number, and is then allowed to fly with that individual. The registration does require that the individual provide a doctor’s referral for the need and use of a service dog while flying and it provides for the individual’s professional training company to be added. While the ADA and the DOT still have not required any specific training guidelines for service dogs they are moving in the right direction.

If you are considering using your dog as your service dog, we highly suggest that you get that dog evaluated by a professional service dog trainer, have it at minimum training at the Canine Good Citizen levels with certificates showing as much, and develop your dog’s social skills.


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