Service Dogs for you have input?

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Joined: 1 May 2006
Age: 29
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Location: Ohio

29 Aug 2009, 3:18 pm

OregonBecky wrote:
I read a lot about service dogs and discovered anyone can call any dog a service dog and then be allowed to go anywhere with the dog, at least, in a lot of states.

That's not true. To have a service dog, you have to have a disability, first and foremost. The dog must then be trained to perform tasks that help offset that disability; the number I've heard is that you must have at least three, but there's debate over what constititutes a task and what does not.

Is there some sort of test you must pass? No. You can train your own dog, not get one from a specific training facility. Service dogs are costly and take a lot of time to get; for some people, training their own or hiring a personal trainer is more effective than the alternatives. It's recommended that you do a public access test with a trainer, but it's not absolutely required. Does your dog have to be able to do those tasks? Yes. The dog should be able to go out into public and be impossible to distract and should still be able to perform all of the tasks required perfectly everytime.

Now, people can claim an animal as a service animal without actually doing any of that, but it's wrong. They do not have the same rights as someone with a trained service dog, because they do not actually have a service dog; they have a dog they're claiming as a service dog, but it's different.

Now, there is such a thing as a comfort or emotional support dog, and they have very little training. They're supposed to be able to go out into public without being distracted, and they should never be aggressive, but that's about the extent of their training. However, they have fewer rights, and those vary by states. With service dogs, the rights are uniform across the US because of the ADA. Comfort dogs are not the same.

"Nothing worth having is easy."

Three years!

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

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Joined: 4 May 2012
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24 Jan 2013, 10:39 pm

Tortuga wrote:
My son is also helping train the puppy and he really enjoys that role b/c he's a big fan of Cesar Milan and Victoria Stilwell from Animal Planet.

Cesar Milan methods are controversial and widely criticised for being unnecessarily cruel. So I would make sure a kid doesn't imitate what he has seen Cesar Millan do if he is a fan of the guy, especially if he tends to be literal and perhaps not so emotionally intuitive.

While anecdotically both service dogs and ordinary dogs can be incredible valuable to some autistic kids, (unintentional) abuse and wrong handling mustn't happen, so that means the parents of the kid either needs to be experienced with dogs and know how to train them, understand their psychological needs et.c. - or get professional help to training (AKA service dog training).

It sounds like a bad idea for anyone who does not have dog training experience or genuine interest in a dog to pick up a potentially traumatised puppy from the pound, give it to their autistic kid, and hope it will turn out just like in the success stories. It can, but without proper guidance it may turn bad, ruin the puppy's mental health and expose it to unacceptable handling.