Generally speaking Service Animals are categorized as follows:
- Guide Dogs
- Hearing Dogs
- Seizure Alert/Response Dogs
- Diabetic Alert/Response Dogs
- Psychiatric Service Dogs
- Mobility Assistant Service Dogs
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Service Dogs are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Security and the crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute recognized work or tasks of a service animal.
Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. Public Access granted to individuals training a Service Dog varies from state to state.
Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless the individual’s disability prevents using these devices.
A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken
For complete information on Service Dogs as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act as it pertains to Service Dogs contact the Therapetics office or call the ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY) or visit www.ada.gov.
Service Dog Etiquette
Here are some tips to follow when meeting or approaching a working assistance dog and his or her partner (as well as a service dog in training):
Don't touch the dog without asking permission first! This is a distraction and may prevent the dog from tending to the human partner. Be sensitive to the fact the dog is working and may be in the middle of a command or direction from its human partner. Most dogs need to be told to be “released” from work mode to interact with someone.
Never feed the dog. It may be on a special diet. Canine Companions for Independence dogs are generally on a feeding schedule as well. Food is the ultimate distraction to the working dog and can jeopardize the working assistance dog team.
Speak to the person, not the assistance dog. Most handlers do not mind talking about assistance dogs and their dog specifically if they have the time.
Do not whistle or make sounds to the dog as this again may provide a dangerous distraction.
Never make assumptions about the individual's intelligence, feelings or capabilities. Offers of help are appreciated, but ask first. Usually, the human/dog team can get the task done by themselves.
Don't be afraid of the dog. Our dogs are carefully tested and selected for appropriate temperament. They have been professionally trained to have excellent manners. Always approach an assistance dog calmly and speak to their human partner before touching or addressing the dog.