In the world of canines, the title of service dog is synonymous with commitment and loyalty. However, adjusting to everyday tasks can be difficult, especially in public places. At USA Service Dogs, we aim to make this transition easier by guiding you through the certification process and preparing you for the road ahead.

One of the most common problems people run into is how to use a public restroom with a service dog. Whether you travel frequently or only on occasion, it is important to establish a routine so your dog knows what to do in this situation. To get you started, we have compiled a list of helpful tips for training and documentation.

Certifying Your Dog

In order to bypass the restrictions that apply to canines in public establishments, you must be willing to obtain a service dog certification for your pet. By definition, a service dog is an animal that is trained to assist with specific tasks. While a service dog certificate is not required by law, it is recommended that you complete at least 120 hours of training on your own or with a professional. This includes basic commands like sit and stay as well as more complicated tasks like fetching medication and opening drawers. By registering with USA Service Dogs, you are essentially claiming that your pet complies with these standards and will behave accordingly in a public setting.

Learning to Adapt

Once you are confident that you can maintain total control over your service dog, you can begin practicing alternative commands so you can adapt to different circumstances. Using a public restroom, for example, can present a challenge if you are unable to wait for a handicapped stall. Although this is obviously the most comfortable solution, you can also try:

•Entering the stall together

If you decide to use a regular stall, your service dog can be trained to stand next to the toilet. This allows you to keep your companion close despite a limited amount of space. When you are finished, simply open the door and give your dog the cue to exit.

•Commanding your dog to stay outside

For those who have difficulty sharing a standard sized stall, many handlers ask their dogs to wait patiently outside the stall. When your dog is laying in the down position it will be easier to hold onto the leash while you are inside the stall.

Exercising Caution

Above all else, do not entrust the care of your canine to a stranger for any length of time. Unfortunately, service dogs have a higher risk of being stolen, leaving you unprotected as well. This is where training truly comes into play. If you spend enough time working with your service dog, you will not be forced to rely on the integrity of others. Practice with your pet so you can guarantee excellent behavior and tasks such as using a public restroom will become less intimidating as well. Exercise your right to be accompanied by a service animal rather than handing off the leash to someone you don't know.

Gearing Up

When you register your pet with USA Service Dogs, you will be asked if you qualify as an individual with a disability and provided with the registration kit of your choice. No further documentation is required to process your order online and have it shipped to your door. We also provide leashes, dog tags and vests to distinguish your companion from other pets. Our products are designed to make your life more convenient while educating others about service dogs and accessibility. With a lifetime registration from USA Service Dogs, there will be little doubt that your canine is certified to support your needs.