Service Dog Training Facts
What is a service dog?
Service dogs are dogs that have been specifically trained to help disabled people in all aspects of their lives. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are considered medical equipment. From completing daily tasks to detecting seizures before they happen, service dogs prove they truly are man’s best friend. To become a service dog, the dog must undergo dog training.
What are the different types of service dogs?
There are many different types of service dogs, but the more popular ones include:
- Guide Dogs
- Hearing Dogs
- Seizure Alert Dogs
- Diabetic Alert Dogs
- Mobility Dogs
- PTSD Dogs
Are dogs that provide emotional support considered service dogs?
No. Dogs that accompany their owners for emotional support are not considered service dogs. As a result, they’re not protected under the ADA.
What do service dogs do?
Service dogs are trained to provide a service to their owners. They perform work specific to the person’s disability. For instance, a guide dog assists a blind person walk whereas a diabetic dog reminds the person with diabetes his blood sugar is low. Interestingly, dogs that only provide comfort or emotional support are not considered service dogs under the ADA.
Where are service dogs allowed?
Service dogs are allowed to accompany people with disabilities in all public areas, including restaurants, hotels and airports. However, there are a few instances where service dogs may not be allowed, such as in an operating room or burn unit.
Which dog breeds can work as service dogs?
Can you train your own dog to be a service dog?
You may train your dog to be a service dog, but you may find it extremely difficult if you’re not already a professional dog trainer. Service dogs must undergo basic dog obedience training, which includes learning to obey verbal cues and not engaging in inappropriate behavior. Dogs should obey commands on the first command 90 percent of the time.
How can I become a certified service dog trainer?
The first step to becoming a certified service dog trainer is obtaining your dog training certification. A dog trainer certification proves you’ve studied dog behavior and learned various dog training techniques. You can receive your certification by enrolling in a dog trainer certification program. There are many schools available online, some of which even offer hands-on training as part of their program.
Once you become a certified dog trainer and gain volunteer experience, you can either train your dog to become a service dog or attend a service dog trainer school. If you choose the academic route, select a school that has experience placing service dogs with disabled people. Many assistance dog apprentice trainer programs take two to three years, according to Assistance Dogs International.
How long does it take to train a service dog?
Dogs training to become service dogs are trained for one to two hours every day for about six months. However, this amount of time can change depending on the dog’s drive and breed as well as the organization training service dogs. During this period, dogs are specifically trained to complete certain tasks and learn obedience.
Update: The article has been changed to reflect service dog requirements.