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Should I get a service dog certification for my dog?
I have tmj chronic pain for the last 17 years. There are some days I just do not want to get out of bed. My dog helps me very much when I am home. Do you think I could get a service authorization for her, and if so do you advise I persue this?
I would pursue it I were you. The dog is helpful, but if the dog becomes a certified therapy dog, his care and feeding becomes tax deductible.
A therapy dog is completely unrelated to a service dog and this discussion. A service dog provides services that help its disabled (whether partially or "fully") handler. A therapy dog provides services that help people OTHER thand its handler.
A service dog is appropriate when you have been diagnosed with a disability that can be helped by a trained service dog. I recommend getting a prescription from your doctor for a service dog to assist with your disability before doing anything like choosing a dog or taking it out in public. Aside from that recommendation (which is not required by law, it is my personal recommendation only), no certification is necessary, required by federal law (which trumps state laws), or worth spending your money on. Save your money for working with professional trainers to build a set of 1-3 (I recommend 3) tasks that your dog can assist you with directly related to your disability. Go to the ADA website for details on the requirements, and don't pay any money to the crooks who try to convince disabled people that they require a special certification or registration (beyond a normal dog license)--the materials you get may look official but they have no clout since they are not required by law: only a documented disability with a documented list of training you have performed with your dog to ensure that it helps with your disability (so I've heard from people who've been to court).
--Laura, co-founder of a service dog support group in the Twin Cities.
It isn't necessary to get your dog certified, but you need to be prepared to say how the dog helps you in public. What specific tasks has the dog been trained to do to assist you with your disability? Also, your dog must be in good control in public, and if anyone should question you, having taken the public access test as outlined by the ADI may be helpful. It's purely a personal choice.
Excellent points! I agree with you, too!
You don't have to say what your disability is, but you need to be able to say 1-3 ways the dog has been trained to help you. The test is optional but desired. PSDS has a similar public access test..
I know this topic is old, and some of the answers are out dated. Now by Federal law, which Laura is correct, trumps state and local laws, have changed. No longer are you required to even vest your service animal, although personal choice for me is I do (I do as I have pocketed vests that help me carry important items like my ID), you do not even have to have them certified.
As a handler of a service dog, I do recommend you that you do consider these options. Even though it is isn't required by Federal law, it will help you in the use of your service animal. As well as the confidence of your animal with the general public. Even though you are not required by law to have these steps, you should know the laws covering use of a service animal. Such as public behavior, health maintenance, and similar.
For instance my guy has a collar badge and a vest. Due to these two I have far less general public stop me and ask me if he is a service dog, and less problems with general people who are not accustomed to public presence of an animal. Far less problems then I did when he was three months old and training with out clear visible identification.
You can train your own service animal as well. You do not have to have a trainer help you. I for instance trained my own. I was raised training dogs, so had a natural environmental knowledge. I have learned not all people have this. Really you need to judge for yourself.
The best advice I have seen is to find your local office run under the ADA, and ask your local federal representative. This is where I send people who stop me in public inquiring to service dog use. Since I would prefer they get the correct information, and not the possibility that I would forget something important. I even try to carry with me the phone number and the name of the local representative to offer them in their journey. A journey I might add is very worth it. My life has improved beyond words due to my choice to become a animal handler for my limitations.
Accumulate America, I agree with 99% of what you say. However, using a certification badge or anything of the sort may get you into an establishment easier but makes it harder for the next team who comes: either with no card or a different style.
Laura for the last three years in August as one of those different styles. Not all are the same, but where we can live in consideration of them, they to can us. It is a personal choice. Thank you for the support. These comment returns are tiny.
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