Frequently Asked Questions!

 

READ FIRST: So You Think You Want A Service Dog?

What is the difference between an Emotional Support Animal and a Service Dog?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act:

What is a service animal?

Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability.  The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.

What does “do work or perform tasks” mean?

The dog must be trained to take a specific action when needed to assist the person with a disability. For example, a person with diabetes may have a dog that is trained to alert him when his blood sugar reaches high or low levels. A person with depression may have a dog that is trained to remind her to take her medication. Or, a person who has epilepsy may have a dog that is trained to detect the onset of a seizure and then help the person remain safe during the seizure.

Are emotional support, therapy, comfort, or companion animals considered service animals under the ADA?

These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person.  Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.  However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places.  You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws.

What is the cost of getting my dog trained to be a service animal?

First things first, let us or another qualified Trainer evaluate your dog to see if he/she has what it takes. Most dogs do not have the right qualities to take on a demanding job as a Service Dog.

Assuming your dog has the right “stuff”, the cost to train him/her depends on many variables, including:

  1. Dog’s age at time of evaluation
  2. Dog’s training to date at time of evaluation
  3. How much training is needed for dog to pass Public Access & Task Training
  4. How much time YOU can spend working with your dog

Depending on the answers to the above questions, Service Dog Training almost always costs at minimum in the THOUSANDS of dollars range up to $25,000.

Some programs may be able to help you at little or no cost. Please contact us to see if you are eligible for any of our current programs!

What are my options to obtain a service animal if I cannot afford one?

Please contact us to see if you may be eligible for a discounted or free Service Dog.

What is the best age to start training my dog to be a service animal?

Yesterday! If you have a puppy, you should implement a training plan ASAP to take advantage of early socialization opportunities.

If you have an older dog, an evaluation should be done first, and a training plan then developed based on the strengths/weaknesses of that dog.

How long does it take to train a service animal?

Assuming your dog has the right “stuff”, the time to train him/her depends on many variables, including:

  1. Dog’s age at time of evaluation
  2. Dog’s training to date at time of evaluation
  3. How much training is needed for dog to pass Public Access & Task Training
  4. How much time YOU can spend working with your dog

Depending on the above answers, it can take many months at a minimum or 1-2 YEARS to train a Service Dog.

What are the steps to training my service animal?

In a nutshell:

  1. Get an initial evaluation of your dog first to make sure they have what it takes
  2. Start Basic Obedience Training
  3. Train in new places under increased levels of distraction
  4. Work towards passing the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test
  5. If dog is showing good progress and no concerning behavior, move on to task training pertinent to your disability.
  6. Work towards passing AKC Canine Good Citizen Test Urban
  7. If dog passes above tests and can perform at least one task to mitigate your disability, you now have a legitimate Service Dog!
I see you help Veterans; do you also help non-Veterans?

Sometimes. Contact us and we will try to help where we can, even if it’s a referral or some free advice!

I am not in your geographic area; can you still help me or refer me?

Contact us and we will do our best!

Where can I go to learn more about service dogs?

Right now, the most important and reliable information can be found on the Americans with Disabilities website.

I need to get my dog a certificate so that I can move into a new place to live; how much will that cost?

According to the Americans with Disabilities website:

Do apartments, mobile home parks, and other residential properties have to comply with the ADA?

The ADA applies to housing programs administered by state and local governments, such as public housing authorities, and by places of public accommodation, such as public and private universities.  In addition, the Fair Housing Act applies to virtually all types of housing, both public and privately-owned, including housing covered by the ADA.  Under the Fair Housing Act, housing providers are obligated to permit, as a reasonable accommodation, the use of animals that work, provide assistance, or perform tasks that benefit persons with a disabilities, or provide emotional support to alleviate a symptom or effect of a disability.  For information about these Fair Housing Act requirements see HUD’s Notice on Service Animals and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities in Housing and HUD-funded Programs.