HOW TO GET A SERVICE DOG
How To Get A Service Dog
Superdog places assistance animals with disabled children and adults throughout the United States and is providing consumers with the latest up-to-date vital information and new alternatives regarding how to get a service dog and how to make my dog a service dog. Superdog is not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or agency with volunteers training service dogs.
The following explains the process of getting a service dog, the waiting time, and the handler training process.
`The Story of Two People Who Learn How To Get A Service Dog`
HOW TO GET A SERVICE DOG
HOW TO MAKE MY DOG A SERVICE DOG
SERVICE DOG QUALIFICATION INFORMATION
For a person to legally qualify to have a service dog, he/she must have a disability that substantially limits his/her ability to perform at least one major life task without assistance. To qualify as a service dog, the dog must be individually trained to perform that major life task.
A psychiatric service dog (PSD) is a specific type of service animal trained to assist those with psychiatric or mental disabilities such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and Bipolar Disorder. For example, a dog may assist someone with PTSD in doing room searches or turning on lights, or help someone in a dissociative episode from wandering into danger. The work a dog has been trained to do must specifically relate to one’s disability. We are used to people asking “How can I get a service dog for anxiety.” Only PSDs are covered under ADA for entry into public places that do not allow pets. Having a vest or harness is common, but not legally required, particularly if it interferes with the dog’s ability to complete tasks. Providing companionship, calming anxiety, comforting or providing a sense of safety merely by its presence are not all legally considered “tasks” and the dog would not qualify as a PSD. If it sounds like you need an animal that helps you with these activities, you might consider getting an emotional support animal.
An emotional support animal (ESA) is any domestic animal whose presence mitigates the emotional or psychological symptoms associated with a handler’s condition or disorder. They do not need to be trained to perform a specific task and generally require little training, so long as they are well-behaved by pet standards. ESAs are covered under the Fair Housing Act. This allows people with an ESA to have their pet in their home even if there is a “no pet” policy. The law also prohibits the charging of additional security deposits and pet fees for ESAs. ESAs are also permitted to travel in the cabin of airplanes with their handlers free of charge. Most airlines have a pre-approval process that will include documentation from the individual’s healthcare provider.
To be eligible for a Superdog Service Dog, an individual must:
- Have a physical disability, debilitating chronic illness or neurological disorder affecting one or more limbs
- Be physically and cognitively capable of participating in the training process, up to one hour a day
- Be able to independently command and handle their Assistance Dog
- Be able to meet the emotional, physical and financial needs of the Assistance Dog
- Be in a stable home environment
- Actively improve their quality of life and pursue independence with their Assistance Dog
While Superdog has established eligibility criterion for the types of Assistance Dogs we get and provide, we do not discriminate against any applicant based on race, color, creed, gender, religion, marital status, age, nationality, physical or mental disability, medical condition, sexual orientation, citizenship status, military service status or any other consideration as indicated by federal, state or local laws.
- Medical Alert: A dog can also be trained to sense the changes in a person’s body when they are beginning to have a panic attack, flash back, anxiety attack, or other psychiatric conditions. The dog can be trained to paw at the leg of their disabled recipient and interrupt what would otherwise be a debilitating and destructive behavior for the individual. This helps the handler to refocus on their dog and work through the problem.
- Deep Pressure Therapy: Just as medical wraps are used to alleviate anxiety in persons with psychiatric conditions, dogs can be trained to put the pressure of their body weight on their handler’s lap and abdomen to physically, and then mentally, relieve anxiety and induce a sense of calm.
- Non-Protective Boundary Control: When the individual suffers from anxiety due to the close proximity of others, or due to the claustrophobia in a crowded room, the dog can be trained to stand in between their handler and others to gain more personal space. The dog is not being protective, but is simply following a simple cue from their handler to move their body into the space surrounding their handler, in a down-stay position.
- Checking Around Corners: A frequent problem for those suffering from PTSD is the fear of what is waiting on the other side of corners. Our dogs can be trained to go around corners in front of their handler and the alert their handler if there is someone waiting on the other side. Over time this form of therapy can assist the disabled recipient when becoming more comfortable with going into public.
- Signal Alert: There are many situations when a recipient will need to excuse themselves from a classroom or meeting due to person psychiatric concerns. With a discrete signal to the dog, the handler can command his dog to paw at the leg, making it look like the dog is seeking attention. The handler is then able to comfortably leave the situation wit the excuse that his dog needs to relieve itself.
- Companionship: It goes without saying that any service dog’s greatest assistance is the emotional support they can offer their handler. Most disabilities present trials that can be relieved on a mental level simply by the dog’s presence. A well behaved dog can help to lower blood pressure and give a sense of ease to anyone who is near.
Emotional support animals and service animals do NOT have to be registered or certified!
Anyone asking for your hard earned money in exchange for having your service dog “registered” or “certified” is a fraud. The privileges that service animals enjoy in public places work on an honor system, not a documentation system.
There are laws in place to ensure the privacy of people with disabilities. You may only ask someone with a service dog two questions:
- Is this a service dog that is required because of a disability?
- What tasks has it been trained to perform?
A service dog owner does not have to provide any documentation as proof that their dog is a service dog. For an ESA owner, an ESA letter serves as proof. But again, the ESA letter can only be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional, and like service animals, ESAs do not need any form of registration or certification!
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What age does the recipient have to be in order to receive a dog?
A: Superdog places Psychiatric Service and Mobility dogs to assist children and adults. Disabled recipients who are not able to be consistent in reinforcing the dog’s training will require a handler (facilitator) to care for the dog and issue commands to the dog for the assistance of the disabled party. Because of this, there is not necessarily an age requirement for the disabled party.
Q: Can the dog attend school with my child?
A: There are certain situations where service dogs can attend school with a child. If the child cannot safely control the dog on their own, there is no legal advocacy for the dog to attend. However, some schools will voluntarily allow the dog to attend school when a staff member volunteers to handle the dog between classes.
Q: What can the dog do?
A: While our dogs are highly trained, they are not robots. Our recipients and handlers receive very detailed instruction on how to properly reinforce the training their dog has received. Our dogs respond to commands, but they are not responsible. They cannot be relied on to protect or guide individuals away from harm. They care for their recipients, but they are not caregivers. It is the handler’s responsibility to care for the dog, and in return the dog will perform tasks to assist the recipient. Our dogs are trained for each individual’s needs. We train dogs to assist with seizures, autism, PTSD, extreme anxiety disorders, and mobility for those with or without a wheelchair. Some of these tasks include retrieving items, opening/closing doors, bracing for balance while walking/transferring/getting up off the floor, providing boundary control, going around corners in advance of the recipient, clearing buildings, alerting to specific sounds, tether training for autism assistance, and providing deep pressure therapy.
Q: Is there a cost that recipients need to pay for applying?
A: There is no application fee. You just need to call us on the telephone.
Q: Do you require clients fundraise money?
A: No. People write a check or they bring an envelope with cash in it.
Q: How long is the waiting list?
A: Less than 12 months, but maybe no wait and you can start right away. You never know. Definitely call the office for how to get a dog or service dog training.
Q: What about travel and expenses?
A: The costs for travel expenses are separate from the amount raised for the service dog itself. Recipients who do not live close to one of our facilities will need to travel and stay near us for handler training. Travel expenses vary and are the responsibility of the recipient.
Q: What will the dog be like?
A: Superdog has a breeding program consisting of Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles. We also rescue suitable dogs whenever possible, or purchase quality puppies from outside of our own breeding program such as Poodles, doodles, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Maltese or German Shepherds. Rescued dogs are often Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Shepherds, Poodles or mixes of any of these breeds. All dogs are fully medically screened for good hip and elbow joints, spine, good vision, heart and other medical concerns associated with that specific breed. Most service tasks require a larger breed dog weighing an average of 60 pounds, but some assistance tasks would allow a 10 pound dog to be suitable. If there are any dog allergies within the recipient’s home, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic dog, but some breeds such as a Poodle, doodle, Bichon Frise or Coton de Tulear. are more easily tolerated by people sensitive to dog dander. Poodles and doodles come in all sizes, some of which are even larger than Labradors. Our Maltese are closer to 8 pounds. All of our dogs have their own individual personalities. Some are laid back, while others are playful. All of our dogs understand the difference between work and play. When they are not working they relax and play just like other dogs. We place each dog to match the personality of the recipient.
Q: What are the requirements to get a service dog?
A: Applications are reviewed on an individual basis by qualified staff to determine the recipient will not be hindered by the dog, the dog will be properly cared for, and the dog will be able to assist the recipient appropriately. All applicants are considered regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, or creed.
Call the office for more information about how to get a service dog, how to make your dog a service dog, how to make my dog a service dog, how to make a dog a service dog,how do I make my dog a service dog, how can I make my dog a service dog, and how do you make your dog a service dog for anxiety.