Do you need some help managing a health condition, lowering your stress levels, or improving your overall health and well-being? If so, there are numerous ways that these things can be done. One of the options that you might be thinking about doing is getting a service animal. With that thought, you may have a bunch of questions. Learning more about service animal laws and what a service animal can do for you could be a big help.
Defining Service Animals
Service dogs are dogs that can help someone who has a disability. The dog will help this person to live their life more independently. The ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act states that service dogs are dogs that are trained specifically to do tasks or work for someone who has a disability. Disabilities under this Act are defined as mental or physical impairments that significantly limit at least one major life activity. For instance, a service dog can be trained as a guide dog to help someone who is visually impaired to get around better. A medical alert dog can be trained to get help if their owner is having a seizure. Psychiatric service dogs can help their owner if they have PTSD. These are just some examples of service dogs. Before getting a service dog, you will need to know all about the service animal laws and animal protective services.
Finding the Right Service Dog
If you have decided that you are going to get a service dog, there are numerous places where you can find the right dog. There are many different organizations that train service dogs. You can look into these organizations. These dogs are house trained and can be trained to help manage your specific health issues. They will also be trained to behave in public places, as well.
It is helpful to know that professional trainers for service dogs take what they do seriously. They make sure that the service dogs are completely trained. In fact, nearly half the dogs that they train don’t make it through the training because they aren’t learning quick enough or can’t do the tasks required. However, the service dog trainers will continue to train dogs until they find one that can complete the tasks that you need help with.
You can look into for-profit and nonprofit organizations when searching for a service dog. Training service dogs can cost more than $25,000. This is because the training is so intense. It is very important to make sure the owner and the service dog connect and understand one another. The service dog needs to be able to follow commands right away and follow all training when called upon to do so.
If you have a disability and you are looking to get a service animal, there are many great places that already train dogs to become service animals. With that being said, as long as you are aware of all the service animal laws and requirements, it might be possible for you to train a dog to become your service dog, as well.
Training a Service Dog
If you are going to register your service animal, the dog will first need to be trained. You don’t have to work with a professional trainer if you don’t wish to do so. You can train the service dog on your own. With this being said, some of the things that you will need to make sure of is that the dog is:
- Be very calm especially when they are in an unfamiliar environment
- Be alert but not too reactive
- Be willing to please their owner
- Be ready to learn
- Be able to retain new information
- Be able to adjust to various environments and situations
- Be able to complete repetitive tasks
If you would like to train your own service dog, you will start with basic dog training skills. From there, you will work up to having your service dog help with other tasks related to your disability. The American Kennel Club has great recommendations on training a service dog.
In order to register your dog as a service dog, they must be needed to help with some sort of a disability and they must be able to do tasks that help you with that disability.
There are numerous health issues that someone might need assistance with. Some of these include seizures, PTSD, chronic pain, anxiety disorders, and much more. If you have a health issue and are in need of a service animal, it is important to follow all service animal laws. You must have the dog trained and make sure they are able to help with tasks that are related to your disability. If you can get the training done and your dog is able to perform tasks to help with your disability, then you can get the dog registered as a service animal. Keep in mind that service animals need to continue to help you with your disability. If they aren’t able to do the tasks they were trained to do, they won’t qualify as a service animal any longer.