A service dog is defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as any dog that has been trained to perform tasks that helps a person with a disability. This disability can be physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or emotional. Any dog can become a service dog to help you with whatever disability you might have. Here are four service animal registration steps you can take to make your dog a service dog.
Understand Your Dog
There are no breed or weight restrictions on service dogs so any dog is able to be registered as a service animal. However, you will need to know the breed of your dog in order to register them. If you are unsure of the breed, you can complete a DNA test which will provide that information. This might also provide information on the behavioral patterns of that specific breed so you can understand if they are more suited for your needs.
While a service dog must be trained to help you with your disability, there are no restrictions on who should train the dog. This leaves you with a variety of options. You could obtain a dog that has previously been trained, have your dog trained by a trusted trainer, or train the dog yourself. Under the laws to become ADA certified, all of these would make your dog eligible to be registered as a service animal.
Training the Dog
Similar to who is allowed to train the dog, there are no requirements in the United States about how long the dog must be trained. However, international standards recommend that the dog is trained for at least 120 hours or six months. It’s also a good idea to have about 30 of those hours be in public so that the dog is used to being around others while helping with your disability.
Testing Your Dog
Once you feel that your dog has been appropriately trained, you might want to take them in public to test how they will handle it. There are a variety of things that you should look out for to ensure that your dog is ready to handle the job at hand, such as aggressive behavior, sniffing behaviors, need for attention, and hyperactivity. If your dog passes these tests, they are ready to serve as your service dog.
If you are considering service animal registration for your dog, there are some tasks that you should complete first to ensure they are ready. Once completed, your dog will be prepared to help you in public with your disability.