Dogs bring so much joy to people’s lives, but they can do more than that when trained as service animals. For persons afflicted with disabilities, these happyhelpers can serve as their eyes, ears, and a whole lot of other roles.
However, turning your pet into an ever-reliable assistant comes with certain responsibilities, before and after registration. Find out what they are before heading to the service animal registry.
Before: Training Is Everything
What sets service animals and ordinary pets apart is training. Before it can qualify for the service animal registration, a dog must be able to performspecific tasks to assist someone with a disability. As the owner, you can handle the training yourself or have a professional teach your dog.
If you choose to train your dog, shaping foundational skills is a good starting point. You can begin with something simple like how to go potty on command and proceed to more complicated ones such as proofing or the ability for themto tune out distractions and always stay.
It’s also necessary to knowyour pet’s personality. Before the training program, spend some time with your furry friend and test its temperament, whether it’s aggressive or submissive or something in between. Take note of its behavior when you’re in public and whenever a command is given. This getting-to-know-them stage will help you identify points of improvement and the appropriate approach to address them.
Are you done with the training? It’s now time to put your dog to thetest. See if it can meet basic expectations for service animals, including curbed excitement and hyperactivity, responsiveness to obedience cues, and absence of aggressive behavior. Once you’re confident enough with its skills, then that’s the time to head to the service animal registry.
After: Know Your Dog’s Rights
Since service animals play a huge role in their handler’s safety and comfort, they’re allowed in public places where pets are usually prohibited, including restaurants, malls, hotels, and even airplanes.
IDs and vests for service animals aren’t required by law,but they prove very practical. Establishments can quickly identify your dog’s unique skillsand let it in right away.
Take note that, even with an ID and vest on your dog, you might still be asked about the tasks it does for you. That’s fine. What’s not okay are inquiries about the handler’s disability. If you feel uncomfortable replying to such questions, you may refuse to do soand still demand admittance.
Unleash your faithful companion’s service animal potential. The reminders above are intended to advise you of what to expect before and after service animal registration.