Whether you have a traditional service dog, an emotional support dog or one who acts as both, it is important for him or her to be well-trained and professional in public situations. Before deciding if your dog is ready to be a support animal, consider his or her behavior in certain situations.
A Support Dog Cannot Go Public Until Housebroken
It is one thing to teach a dog not to urinate or defecate in the house or inside stores or restaurants, but it’s another thing entirely to teach it that not every outdoor venue is a bathroom. A good service animal cannot urinate or defecate anywhere outside of designated areas. This means he or she cannot use public sidewalks, outdoor concert venues or sports arenas or other outdoor areas where animals aren’t normally permitted to “do business.”
A Service Animal Cannot Engage With People or Animals
A well-trained service dog must not engage with other humans or animals without permission, even if it is friendly interaction. If a child or someone with a friendly dog asks to greet your service animal, you are welcome to permit it if you are okay with the situation, but your dog should never initiate contact on its own.
A Service Dog Cannot React Vocally
Your service dog will be expected not to make any noise in public. This means he or she cannot bark, whine or growl. Other patrons in the establishment must be able to go about their day with as much peace as if there were no animal present. The exception is if your animal is trained to vocalize for a task such as alerting you to low blood sugar or other oncoming physical problems.
Support Animals Cannot React Physically
Many dogs are prone to becoming alert to distractions or to showing aggression or fear when in unknown situations. Service dogs cannot do any of this. Yours must receive extensive training regarding different types of people, places, situations and sounds before going public.
Your Service Animal Cannot Skip Leash Training
If your dog does not sit, stay and walk well when on a leash, he or she is not ready to provide public assistance and receive an emotional support dog certificate. Your dog must never pull on the leash, circle you, lag behind you or do anything other than walk or stay beside you while in public, no matter what distractions arise. Anything other than shifting position for comfort reasons is considered a discipline problem.
Service Dogs Cannot Sniff Without Reason
It sounds silly, but it is a very important part of service dog training. Service animals are not permitted to sniff foods, objects, people or other animals while working, as this proves they have been distracted and could miss a vital part of their jobs. This rule exempts dogs who are trained to sniff allergens in foods or to otherwise use their noses for work.
Service Dogs Cannot Skip Out on the Job
We all want to tune our bosses out from time to time, but if your dog tunes you out, he or she will likely not be permitted in any establishments. Even though you are not required to show written documentation to bring a service animal into a business with you, the owner reserves the right to ask any disruptive or untrained animals be removed. For this reason, it is vital for your service companion to listen to and obey all commands right away.
Emotional support dogs are not currently protected under federal law, but they have been acknowledged as a vital part of healing for people who suffer from anxiety, PTSD or other emotional problems, so many business owners are accepting of them as long as they are well-behaved. Some people choose to obtain emotional support dog registration such as the ID tags and documentation provided by USA Service Dog Registry.