Service Dog Information

Chester, Service Dog In Training

If you think you want to train your own service dog, please email with information. It’s a big job, but if you are committed to learning something new, I’ll be happy to talk to you about what’s involved in selecting a dog and training it for service dog work. Plan on a minimum of one year of continual training.

Service Dogs and Assistance Dogs are the same thing. They are not pets, but technically living pieces of medical equipment that help mitigate the effects of some disabilities on those who live with them. People with Disabilities (PWDs) have the legal right to public access with properly trained and qualified Service Dogs. Service Dogs have no rights whatsoever; People with Disabilities have the rights by law.

To legally use a Service Dog, you must be a person with a disability (PWD.) For a dog to be a Service Dog, he must be trained to perform a specific task related to your disability. For a PWD to have the right to take a Service Dog into public places, the dog must be trained to certain minimum standards to ensure the safety of the PWD, the dog, and the publi
A Service Dog can help a person with disabilities to 

  • Be more independent
  • Feel more confident
  • Complete daily tasks with ease

Tasks Service Dogs can do to help their human partners include:

  • Retrieving dropped objects
  • Opening and closing doors, cabinets, and refrigerators
  • Helping with sock and jacket removal
  • Turning light switches on and off
  • Providing tactile stimuli to alert partner to anxiety or medical issues

Terminology

Guide Dogs, Seeing Eye Dogs:  Dogs assisting visually impaired people.

Service or Assistance Dogs:  Dogs assisting people using wheelchairs or walkers, or people with other, often invisible disabilities like MS, Epilepsy, and many others.

Hearing Dogs:  Dogs assisting people with hearing impairment.

Psychiatric Service Dogs:  Dogs assisting people with Psychiatric Disabilities like Panic Disorder, PTSD, Depression and others. These dogs must be trained to perform a task to help the person with the disability, although they may also provide emotional support and companionship; emotional support is not enough by itself to transform a pet dog into a Service Dog.

Therapy Dogs: Therapy Dogs are not Service Dogs, but should be well-trained. Therapy Dogs are dogs used in visits to hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other places where they help their human partners educate, motivate, and lift the spirits of patients and students. Therapy Dog Handlers have no legal access rights for their dogs 

IAADP (International Association of Assistance Dog Partners) is a non-profit, cross-disability organization representing people partnered with guide, hearing and service dogs. One of their primary goals is to educate and provide information on service dogs to those who need it. You can access the information on their website here:  www.iaadp.org.

Assistance Dogs International is another good resource for service dog information. Click here for their website.