Service dogs are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. These are not pets, they are career animals and as such are formally classified as “medical equipment” under the ADA giving these dogs access to areas where pets are not permitted.
We specialize in training Psychiatric Service Dogs. These dogs perform tasks such as interruption of anxiety attacks, deep pressure therapy, reflective biofeedback, identifying hallucinations, and more. PSDs are not the same as emotional support animals which require no special training and are not permitted public access, they are also not therapy dogs. Before getting started with a Service Dog training program it is important to understand the legal definitions and parameters of a service animal.
There is no formally recognized licensure or registration database for Service Dogs. Be wary of websites and organizations which charge a fee to “register” your dog as a service dog and provide you with a vest. This is a fraudulent service. Training a Service Dog is a serious commitment to time and effort. Before instituting a training program, a dog must begin with an appropriate temperament to succeed and enjoy this career. We suggest that you consult with us prior to obtaining a puppy or dog that you intend to use as a service animal, however in all circumstances this training program should begin with an evaluation.
Not only do Service Dogs have to perform tasks that intervene and aid a disabled person, they must be able to behave appropriately in a variety of distracting and novel settings. The dog must be well socialized and have a solid foundation of obedience and manners before public access should ever be considered. A very basic outline of what is required of a Psychiatric Service Dog is: