The ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act states that people who have a disability are allowed to utilize the help of a service dog. Disabilities are defined as mental or physical impairments that limit at least one major life activity. According to the ADA, the service dog definition is individually trained to perform tasks that benefit their owner or someone who has a physical, psychiatric, sensory, mental, or intellectual disability. If you have an impairment and would like to register your service dog, you may be able to do this. However, there are some steps that you will need to take before doing so.
Getting Help with a Disability
If you are thinking about getting a service animal certification, you may need to have one of the following impairments:
After reading these impairments, you may decide that a service dog is right for you. If so, it is time to learn about the steps to take to register your service dog.
1. Training Your Dog to Complete Specific Service Dog Tasks
Generally, if you are going to register your service dog, they will need to be trained very well. You will need to make sure they can follow all basic service dog tasks such as the following:
Once your dog is trained properly with these basic skills, then you will need to train them to do a specific task such as getting help if you have a seizure, bringing you a remote, etc. Teaching your dog to do specific tasks like these is going to take more time than teaching them basic tasks. You will need to be patient with them. If you are unsure of how to teach your dog to do these tasks, you might consider hiring a dog trainer to assist you in this process.
2. Registering Your Dog
After you have trained your dog completely, it would be a good idea to register them. This will allow you to get a service animal certification. While the ADA does not require you to do this, there are some public places that may require you to have service dog documentation. There are many places online that allow you to register your service dog.
With this being said, it is important that you know managers in public places can’t ask you what your disability is. You don’t, by law, have to give them any of that information. However, they can ask if you have a service dog and what task they are trained to help you with.
After you register your service dog and get service dog documentation, you may be able to take your dog to work with you, if needed. In this case, the employer should be willing to make any reasonable accommodations for you and the service dog.
3. Living with a Service Dog
As you may already know, there are many landlords that will not allow pets. However, if you have trained your dog to do certain tasks for you to assist with a disability and gotten a service animal certification, they are no longer a pet. Your dog is now a service dog. This means that landlords will need to make reasonable accommodations for you and your service dog. The Fair Housing Act states that people can live with a service dog even if:
Now that you know the rules of the Fair Housing Act in regard to service dogs, you should also know that your service dog will still need to maintain proper behavior all the time. They can’t be running off from their leash or barking at other people. They will be held to higher standards than pets would be. If the landlord can prove your service dog isn’t behaving well, they can stop them from having access to the house or apartment where you live.
4. Travelling with a Service Dog
It is important for you to know that you can travel with your service dog. Your service dog can fly on a plane, ride in a taxi, or go on public transportation. With this being said, you will need to make sure your service dog will behave on these different types of transportation. In order to do this, you will need to expose your service dog to various environments that might stress them out. Once they get comfortable in these environments and they can behave in them, they will be ready to travel with you.
Now that you know how to make your dog a service dog and what to do once you have gotten a service animal certification, you may have some other questions.