What is a service animal? A service animal is any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disabilty, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.
SERVICE ANIMAL REQUIREMENTS
Step 1: Disability Certification
The first step to register your animal is simple and requires you to confirm that you qualify as a person with some type of disability based on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Many if not most disabilities are invisible and may appear occasionally.
You do not need to specify your particular disability, you are confirming that you qualify by registering your animal as a service animal.
Step 2: Public Access Test
You do not have to take your animal anywhere for the test but you have to agree that your animal meets most of the criteria listed below. The purpose of the Public Access Test is to ensure that animals registered are stable, well-behaved, and unobtrusive to the public. You must have control over the animal at all times and confirm that as a team you do not pose a public hazard.
Dismissal: Any dog that displays aggressive behavior (growling, biting, raising hackles, showing teeth, etc.) or exhibits otherwise unmanageable behavior will not qualify as a Service Animal.
Note: We acknowledge that some service and emotional support animals are not “on-leash” and are either carried with or without a cage, crate, or other housing.
THE FOLLOWING COMMANDS AND CONTROLS ARE FOR “ON-LEASH” SERVICE ANIMALS ONLY:
Commands may be given to the animal verbally, via hand signals, or a combination of both.
- CONTROLLED UNLOAD OUT OF A VEHICLE: The service animal must wait until released before coming out of the vehicle. Once outside, it must wait quietly unless otherwise instructed by the Individual. The service dog may not run around, be off lead, or ignore commands. Essentially, the animal should be unobtrusive and unloaded in the safest manner possible.
- APPROACHING A BUILDING: After unloading, the service dog should stay in a relative heel position and not forge ahead or lag behind. The service dog should not display a fear of cars or traffic noises and must display a relaxed attitude. When you stop for any reason, the service dog should also stop.
- CONTROLLED ENTRY THROUGH A DOORWAY: Upon entering a building, the dog should not wander off or seek attention from the public. The service animal should wait quietly until you are fully inside, then should calmly walk beside you. The service dog must not pull or strain against the lead or try to push its way past the individual but should wait patiently while entry is completed.
- HEELING THROUGH A BUILDING: Once inside a building, you and your service animal should be able to walk through the area in a controlled manner. The service dog should always be within touching distance where applicable or no greater than a foot away from you. The service dog should not seek public attention or strain against the lead (except in cases where the service dog may be pulling your wheelchair, if applicable). The service animal should readily adjust to speed changes, turn corners promptly, and travel through a crowded area without interacting with the public. In tight quarters, such as store aisles, the service dog must be able to get out of the way of obstacles and not destroy merchandise by knocking it over or by playing with it.
- SIX FOOT RECALL ON LEAD: You should be able to sit your dog, leave it, travel six feet, then turn and call the service dog to you. The service animal should respond promptly and not stop to solicit attention from the public or ignore the command. The service animal should come close enough to you to be readily touched. The recall should be smooth and deliberate without your animal trudging to you or taking any detours along the way.
- SITS ON COMMAND: Your service dog must respond promptly each time you give it a sit command, with no more than two commands with no extraordinary gestures.
- DOWNS ON COMMAND: After your service animal follows the down command, food should be dropped on the floor. Your service animal should not break the down to go for the food or sniff at the food. You may give verbal and physical corrections to maintain the down, but without any extraordinary gestures. The second down will be executed, and then an adult and child should approach your dog. The service dog should maintain the down and not solicit attention. If the child pets the animal, the service animal must behave appropriately and not break the stay. The individual may give verbal and physical corrections if the service dog begins to break the stay.
- NOISE DISTRACTION: Your service dog may acknowledge nearby noises, but may not in any way show aggression or fear. A normal startle reaction is fine (the service dog may jump and or turn), but the service dog should quickly recover and continue along on the heel. The service dog should not become aggressive, begin shaking, etc.
- RESTAURANT: While seated at a dining table (restaurant or other suitably alternative location), your service dog should go under the table or, if size prevents that, stay close by the individual. If the service animal is a very small breed and is placed on the seat beside you, it must lie down. The service dog must sit or lie down and may move a bit for comfort during the meal, but should not be up and down a lot or need a lot of correction or reminding.
- OFF LEAD: While your service animal is on the leash, drop the leash while moving so it is apparent to the animal. You should be able to maintain control of the service animal and get the leash back in its appropriate position. This exercise will vary greatly depending on your disability. The main concern is that the service animal be aware that the leash is dropped and that the person is able to maintain control of the animal and get the leash back into proper position.
- CONTROLLED UNIT: When you leave a building with your service dog on leash, the animal should be in appropriate heel position and not display any fear of vehicle or traffic sounds.
If you meet above requirements, you can register your service animal with us at registermyserviceanimal.com or call us at (805) 439-2229.