Service Dog Puppy Raising

Service Dog Puppy TrainingMy last newsletter addressed Pet Therapy and all the information you need to know before venturing into that world with your dog.

This week, I’d like to address “puppy raising” for a service dog organization. (Thank you Pam English, Sylmar Puppy Leader for Guide Dogs of America for checking my facts here!)

Many people have inquired as to how they can become involved as a puppy raiser for a dog being groomed for performing “physical tasks” for a person with a disability.

First, you need to have PATIENCE! You will be given a puppy of approximately 8 weeks of age to take home and blend into your home and, and for some, work life. From the get-go, it’s feeding and relieving and getting some basic obedience skills nailed down early in this process. Also required, are monthly meetings and obedience classes. Your puppy will be evaluated by the staff on a continuing basis to make sure it’s on track with their socialization, health issues and obedience.

You are required to give your puppy basic obedience skills, socialization and house manners. Socialization is key. Taking your dog with you to all environments is essential and required. You will be stopped continually so give yourself more time to run your errands. Your dog will be given a bib, then a “big dog” jacket/vest. This identifies the dog as a “Puppy In Training” in public and also gives the dog the idea that when the jacket is on, they have to be good little canines outside their home…obedient and quiet in all settings. One such example would be laying under a table in a restaurant quietly. The best pups in training are those that other patrons have no clue that a dog in their midst. [Read more…]

Flying Turkeys

Turkey on PlaneAs you can imagine, I have a LOT say about the turkey, yes, like the one on your Thanksgiving table, that recently boarded a domestic airline as an “emotional support” animal accompanying a passenger. I seriously did not believe this absurd story to be real, until I researched and found it to be true.

This flies in the face of being completely and “flutterly” ridiculous because it really pushes all boundaries, and personally, I feel it mocks the entire Emotional Support animal system. I can see a cat, dog or even a bunny, but the mere fact the airline was bound by the Air Carrier Act to have to allow that bird in the passenger cabin is really beyond my comprehension.

So, let me once again state the law as it pertains to “emotional support” animals relating to modes of transportation. They are not “service” animals nor are they bound by the regulations of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

When on an airplane, governed by the Department of Transportation Air Carrier Act, not the Department of Justice, Emotional Support Animals can accompany passengers, who have a note from their doctor, that this animal (of questionable species) is required for the comfort of said person. They do NOT perform any physical tasks to mitigate a disability like a true “service” dog or miniature horse (both legal service animals under the law). They serve one purpose, and that is emotional support for anxiety in public. [Read more…]

Service Dogs & Canine Good Citizen Title (CGC): The Importance of Respecting the Rights of Disabled People

Service Dogs & Canine Good CitizenHopefully this article will help educate dog lovers – perhaps knowing what it takes to become a service dog will stop some people from turning themselves and their dogs into imposters.

Passing the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test is a worthy goal and a significant accomplishment for pet owners. Well-socialized dogs with basic obedience training are more apt to live out their lives in loving homes, and are less likely to be re-homed or surrendered to shelters.

Guide dogs, passing the CGC test, does not give dogs the right to go into places of public accommodation (restaurants, public transportation, stores, hospitals, etc.) where pets are not allowed. Having an AKC (American Kennel Club) Canine Good Citizen Title does not qualify a pet to be a service dog.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a service dog as a dog that has been “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities”. Per the ADA, a disability is defined as: a condition that causes “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities” of a disabled person. To be a service dog, the animal must perform skills or assist with tasks that mitigate some aspect of the person’s disability. [Read more…]

Part III – Emotional Support Dogs and Airline Transportation

Part III - Emotional Support Dogs and Airline TransportationThe U.S. Department of Transportation regulations are different than those pertaining to the U.S. Department of Justice “Americans With Disabilities Act” regulations.

In summary, per the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners:

“There are new, more detailed procedures for the carriage of emotional support and psychiatric service animals. The carrier may require the passenger to provide current documentation from a mental health professional caring for the passenger that the passenger has a specific, recognized mental or emotional disability and that the passenger needs to be accompanied by the specific, emotional support of psychiatric service animal in question, either on the flight or at the passenger’s destination.”

“Foreign carriers are not required to carry service animals other than dogs.”

“If you are traveling with an emotional support or psychiatric service animal, you may be required by the airline to provide 48 hours’ advance notice.”

Naturally, contact your airline for their specific rules on service animals and seating. All service dogs will need a current health certificate as well. Most of the time, you won’t need to show it, but there may be a situation where it is required to board. Make sure you have it on you, not packed in your checked luggage.

Part II – Emotional Support Dogs

Training dog in vestIf you missed part one, Service Dog 101, you can read it here.

Continuing the discussion…

It was brought to my attention that I forgot to also mention emotional support dogs need to do physical tasks or “work” to mitigate a medical condition. I will repeat that just having a dog in your lap for emotional “comfort” is not a legitimate service dog in “public” settings. Service dogs must be trained to provide “physical” work or tasks to mitigate a disability.

Here is the link to my website with the Federal Housing Act regarding emotional support dogs. This document will give you the complete information on housing and emotional support dog rights. 

Part III – Emotional Support Dogs and modes of transportation – next installment!!

Service Dog 101 – Part 1

Golden Retriever - Training Page PhotoWelcome to my new monthly series: Service Dog 101

a) Let’s start with…What is a disability?

An individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

“Major life activities” include functions such as caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking and breathing, learning and working.

You must meet these criteria before you will be considered to be a potential service dog handler. There is extensive and intensive training – both for the person (with the disability) and the dog.

b) What is a service dog? [Read more…]

Howladay Happiness… Is It Right to Gift a Dog & Veteran Mentorship

Nemo_&_RoccoHappy howladays! Wow, it’s chilly here in Southern California, and it finally feels like Christmas! I know…we are wimps here because when the temperature reaches a frigid 45 degrees, that’s springtime for many parts of the U.S. We just have to be careful of frost because our citrus trees don’t do well in low temps. Frozen orange juice is fine in the store, but not hanging on the tree. 

[Read more…]

Service Dog Attacks and How We Can Protect Those Heroes on 4 Paws

2 Service DogsSo I’m sitting here a bit idle today as the tree trimmers do a monumental job with a huge group of fichus trees that overwhelm our yard every year. So, this is the day for a major tree haircut and a good creative-writing blog day!

What came to mind this morning (and many of my waking moments) was thoughts about my yellow Lab, Rocco. He is my logo pup that has grown to be a beautiful, sweet and well-mannered dog.

He greeted the tree trimmers this morning with his usual butt wiggle and smile…no jumping (or “marking” their tools…whew!), and I just had to “rescue” the tree trimmers from being supervised by him a few minutes ago.  Yup, right underfoot with tree branches falling everywhere. He has no fear. Ha! When they question his “friendliness” I answer with my usual, “You’re ok as long as I’m ok.”  Straight to the point, he is going to be your best buddy as long as he knows I’m out of harms’ way. Does that mean he has been trained to “protect?” No, but does he have that “instinct” to protect me…I’m sure it’s in there somewhere. I’m very glad I have not had to test that ability (or perhaps inability) in him, nor do I ever hope to.

[Read more…]

Time to Grab that Leash on “Fake” Service Dogs!

Let’s all grab a leash and lead those “fake” service dogs back home where they belong!

As we close out September, (National Service Dog Month), education will always be the key to getting the message out about legitimate service dogs and their place in society helping those with disabilities…from civilians to our military veterans. Take a moment to watch my video blog and learn the 4 main differences between a legitimate service dog and a FAKE!!!  So…one last time….. 

Time to grab that leash (Video snapshot)