Certified Service Dog Scams

by Spot on July 29, 2009

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Nothing ticks me off more than the scum-bag companies that have popped up to “Certify” your pet as a service dog. I makes me mad for several reasons:

  • They “Register” your pet by taking your money. There is no training, no verification, no one even sees your dog, all you need is an open wallet.
  • The amount they charge to “Certify” your dog can be as much as $250 – and what do you get for that money – a certificate they print on an inkjet printer, a cheap laminated tag that they also print on their inkjet printer, a cheap vest worth at most $20 and a couple of patches worth less than $10 that aren’t even sewn on the vest.
  • These scum-bag companies will ruin the credibility of real service dog owners. Eventually the airlines and businesses will get sick of seeing these purse pets with vest and tell everyone to take a hike.

I know I’m ranting but these companies are just out to make a buck at the expense of real service dog owners. What’s worse is they go out of their way to make themselves sound official and as though they are somehow a government agency.

You’ve noticed that I haven’t named any of these registration services directly here. The reason is because people are inadvertently promoting these companies, here’s how – if you do a search for the names of these registration services on the internet what you will find is that what comes up is people complaining about what these companies are doing. The problem is that Google and the other search engines aren’t smart enough to know that those post are complaints. Google only know that link is talking about certified service dogs and moves that companies site up in the rankings. If you are going to complain about a company never include a direct link back to them, it’s just free publicity.

I’ll step down off my soapbox for now. If you agree or disagree with me then let me know you’re alive and post a comment below. The more comments we get then the better Google likes it and others may avoid this scam.

Update:

It get’s worse, check out this other site I just found

  • A Lifetime Service Dog Identification Card (renewal fee of $50 per year for yearly picture update of your service animal)
  • Service animal vest
  • Service animal “Please don’t pet me I’m working” and “Ask to pet me I’m friendly” patches (we do not sew patches to vest)
  • “Service Animal” patch (we do not sew patches to vest)
  • “Critical Information Everyone Should Know About Service Animals” brochure
  • A referral for a consultation with a licensed physician (done through teleconferencing)
  • Support from Beverly Hills law firm against any instance of discrimination against you or your service animal
  • US Service Dogs refer a friend brochures ($50 paid for every referral)


This identification package is available for $365.

I guess they didn’t feel like $250 would be be enough :mad:

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{ 128 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Keisha 07.29.09 at 3:52 pm

It really is disgusting. And it gives the general public the impression that service dogs have to be certified or even registered and that you have to show those papers to get into a place. It makes those of us SD users do just that much more education everytime we step out of the house. Just as PT Barnum said “There is a sucker born every minute.”

2 Michele 07.29.09 at 8:37 pm

We do talk about this online at sites such as Dogster. I have stopped naming then but just refer to them collectively as the bogus SD scammers. Any place willing to send you “certification” for a dog they have never seen before for a price of up to $250 is bogus and are selling to law-breakers and those who don’t know better. When out with my dog people ask me where I got my dog’s vest or ID card. I never tell, too many people just want to bring there dog everywhere these “certification” scams helps them do that.

3 HearingDog 07.30.09 at 8:42 am

Here is the problem. Anyone can say their dog is a service dog. Whether they are fully trained or not. Whether they are certified or not. Whether they bought an ID card from the Service Dog Blog or not.

And contrary to what Anonymous may think, the public doesn’t expect it because they have been “taught” to expect it. Most often the public hasn’t been taught *anything* which is the problem. People just naturally expect to see something. That’s why people get ID badges. That’s why dogs wear vests. That’s why people register their dogs.

And I’m sorry, I don’t like announcing to the world I’m deaf. My lab does not wear the bright blue vest I got from Canine Companions for Independence. I just want to live my life. So being registered and having an ID card or badge like this website sells is a really good option for me. I can pull it out when I need it. Because you know what? I really don’t feel like explaining the law to everybody.

HOWEVER, I do think the service dog ID place that runs this blog is making money just like the places that claim to certify your dog. They sell these ID cards and then talk out of both sides of their mouth about fake service dogs and scams. It’s pretty disingenuous. Cut it out.

4 Spot 07.30.09 at 9:21 am

Yes, this site is sponsored by Service Dog Tags as is clearly indicated. Service dog tags does not mislead people into believing that they register or certify any animal and they clearly state that ID is not required by the law. If you have a problem with their sponsorship then you would have a problem with any sponsor selling service dog supplies as there isn’t a single service dog supplier that doesn’t sell patches, vest, IDs or capes. Also Service Dog Tags doesn’t charge $250 for a bunch of worthless crap. This site provides up-to-date news about service dogs to the community. If you have a problem with the sponsorship then you don’t have to visit this site.

5 Spot 07.30.09 at 9:35 am

Also I want to point out that we have encouraged our readers to recommend others selling service dog supplies that are reputable in this article http://www.servicedogblog.com/2009/07/service-dog-supplies-who-do-you-recommend-for-service-dog-supplies/.

6 HearingDog 07.30.09 at 10:19 am

I’m cool with you selling ID cards. I think they’re great. My issue wasn’t with your cards. It was with the argument you are trying to make. The same arguments you make against those certification places that charge $250 could be made against you – that you sell a card to someone without ever seeing them.

You’re confusing terms too. Certification and registration are two different things. Certification means you’ve been tested – like my CCI dog. But my lab is *also* registered – which I did for free on another website. That is really the perfect solution, especially if someone trains their own dog.

I think it would be better if SD teams did use cards like yours. It indicates that the person is serious about themselves and is at least trying to be professional.

I also am a little upset with your slander of small service dogs by calling them “purse pets.” Service dogs come in all sizes. I have a 74 pound lab. But dogs that can indicate on blood sugar drops, seizures and psychological disorders are really important too and what better dog than a small lap-type dog.

Good for you that you’re allowing other places to plug their businesses. I think that’s fine. It doesn’t change the fact that your belligerent arguments don’t hold water. Loose the attitude and be helpful.

7 Spot 07.30.09 at 10:33 am

With regards to “purse pets” – that’s exactly what they are “pets” not service dogs. I’m quite aware that service dogs come in all sizes and that those with small service dogs have a bigger battle to tackle than those with large service dogs.

The reality vendors selling any supplies for service dogs is that there is no way for them to really be able to verify that the buyer and animal are truly qualified. Most places don’t even make any effort. At least some vendors try by stating that it is illegal to represent your pet as a service animal and provide links to sites with more information to educate their customers.

8 John 07.31.09 at 8:27 pm

My question I work in a grocery store. I have a customer who says her little poodle is a service dog and places him in the baby seat of the shopping cart, other customers a complaining of sanitary isuues

9 Michele 07.31.09 at 9:45 pm

Small dogs can be service dogs. My SD weighs 25 lbs. But I would never put him in a grocery cart. He knows how to walk and I know how to look out for him. And I don’t want fur in my food neither! I don’t approve of this at all. A business may be able to say something to that person because it could cause sanitation problems. An unsanitary SD such as why that leaves muddy pawprints on the floor or defecates/urinates may be asked to leave. While I am obviously a dog person, I would not want to use a cart after a dog was in it until it was cleaned. My food goes there! I wouldn’t eat off of my dog’s bed either. I do know people who keep their SD close to them because of size issues or the dog works better when against the person. Smalls pouches/slings are made for such purposes. I know someone who carries their small SD in a sling with the SD patches on the sling. That seems like a better idea to me then putting the dog in the cart! And it gives the rest of us a bad rep.

10 Pat 08.01.09 at 3:36 pm

I own a 7 pound papillon and as a victim of panic disorder this little guy is a great help to me. His presence calms me and makes it possible for me to go places I had previously been nervous about going and the nerves seem to bring on a panic attack. I would love to be able to go to the grocery or restaurant but saying he is a service dog when he hasn’t been certified really makes me uneasy. I do fly and buy him a ticket which works out fine and I don’t mind doing that but there is something wrong with having to pay more for him to fly than for me when he has to stay in a bag under the seat the entire time. How do I handle this and would the person who had their dog trained and certified please tell me how they do that?

11 Keisha 08.01.09 at 5:37 pm

Your dog does NOT and I repeat NOT have to be certified here in the US. By Certifying your dog you are just wasting money on something not needed, as well as making it THAT MUCH MORE DIFFICULT to the people with SDs that come behind you.

12 Michele 08.01.09 at 5:58 pm

While your dog does not have to be certified you do have to be disabled according the limitations in the ADA and your dog must be trained to do tasks/work that mitigate your disability. Just being there does not count and many people think it does so they buy a “certification” online and start hauling Fluffy around with them. While the ADA does not mandate public access training it does allow businesses to kick out ill-behaved service dogs.
You could fly with your dog as an emotional support animal with the proper paperwork from your doctor/therapist. Then your dog would fly free.

13 Judy Neese 08.02.09 at 10:34 am

:smile: I have a service dog I trained myself. She instinctively is my medical alert dog and my doctor recommended I take her out in public. I would like to see a way that the ADA would set up an organization to register our service dogs to help legitimize the process . This would help avoid things happening like what is happening around here where someone takes a puppy into a business and calls it a service dog in training and the business can’t do anything about it. It puts a bad name on the rest of us. BTW, I do place my medical alert dog (a Bichon) in the child area of a grocery buggy to keep people from running over her because they are always looking up. I place a go to mat in the seat which seems to satisfy the grocery stores.

14 Pat 08.02.09 at 8:57 pm

Michelle, “fluffy” is probably better trained than most service dogs and by the way, his name is Smokey. He has both a CD and CDX and is working on his Utility title. He is certainly much better behaved than most children and he does walk on the floor! According to my therapist and physician as well as a gentleman from the Department of Justice, Disability Division, Panic Disorder does qualify as a disability and Smokey does qualify as a Service Dog even though he isn’t actually preforming a service such as picking up items (although he can do that) or alerting me to sounds. His service is in keeping me calm and seemingly to understand when I’m beginning to lose it and making his presence known so I will calm back down.

15 Michele 08.02.09 at 10:18 pm

I have panic disorder also. It is one of my disabilities. And I was just using fluffy as a generic term as an alternate to fido.
As for the rest of your comment, I don’t care to discuss as this is not the proper forum for it. This forum is about fake certification. And we all know now the certification for a SD is not required in the US. Canada and the UK have different laws and it is required there.
If you want to talk about tasks/real work, try a Dogster forum or a Yahoo Group.

16 Wendy 08.04.09 at 2:06 pm

I have a SD and she is self learned . she helps with my Depression, diabetes, and asthma. She alerts to all . She now took it a step higher on Friday last. I started to have chest pains and she came to me and layed on my chest and growled until I got help. She would not let me up. i also take her with me. I have trouble with a few places yet but will let them they are wrong in this. She’s good in public and is good with people. She’s also just a small dog. She walks good on the leash and will sit and does keep me calm in places I would rather not be. I wish I would had her when I was in College I may of finished with good grades. I just couldn’t handle being with so many people. Yes she is certified. I did my research before I did it.

17 Kris 08.05.09 at 11:25 pm

We have an 8 year old labrador that is “self taught” for my son with autism. We could not make it through the day without her. When my son has his “meltdowns” and becomes physical etc with us we can put Sasha near him and in 5 minutes or less he has changed his whole behavior where before it would take hours. We tried to get a “Service Dog” for him and lots of places were willing to let us buy one for $12,000-$25,000. We don’t have that kind of money. My son is more social having his dog around because he loves to tell people about her. Sorry that we are screwing up the “real Service Dog” but others with medical disorders need them too and there are people make a whole lot of money off of it. She is registered but not certified. What else could I do. All I know is it makes my son bearable and my life better.

18 Michele 08.06.09 at 7:31 am

Kris, you’re not ruining it for the rest of us. The people that ruin it for us are a few types: those with real SDs who pull out a “certification” or a doctor’s letter to gain entrance to a business, those who buy a “certitification” just to bring their pooch where ever they go, people who use dogs that are not suitable or not ready for SD work, and people who say that their protection dogs and comfort dogs are SDs. These people ruin it for us. There is nothing wrong with owner-training your dog. As long as the dog does their job and is well-behaved in public.

19 Wendy 08.06.09 at 8:40 am

Michele,
I agree that if you need a SD that you could train it. I looked for one I could afford and found none. So, I worked with my dog on the skills she was showing me. I hope I’m not ruining it for others that I trained my own dog to help me.
She has alerted on others also. I just wish we could of helped the friend. She passed away 1 1/2 years ago now. She had heart failure. Belle was there for that.
Thank you alot. I learn more and more from this site.

20 Melissa Mitchell 08.06.09 at 6:17 pm

To those of you worried if you are “ruining it for others”: There is nothing wrong with training your own service dog. I, myself, have had both an owner trained dog and a dog for a program. Many of the people using the registration sites discussed in the article are:
1. Not disabled as defined by the ADA and other federal laws like 504.
2. Bring dogs in public that are dangerous.
3. Have disabilities and bring dogs in public that do not even have basic obedience let alone the advance training a service should and needs to have.
Some simple things owner trainers can and should do to ensure they do not have access problem and do not leave a poor impression that might make things difficult for other teams who follow you are:
1. Ensure your dog is clean and properly house broken before taking them in public.
2. Ensure the dog you have has no fear or aggression issues with other dogs, small animals, or people of any age or sex.
3. Ensure your dog knows how to be unobtrusive in its work.

21 Don 08.08.09 at 2:53 pm

If people spent their time working with animal shelters they wouldn’t have the time to blog about service dog ID’s. People have the right to do whatever as long as they don’t infringe on others, especially the ones who complain. Who is to say which dogs are legal. Some do emotional or other service for a person. My wife in particular suffers from cancer and need her “SERVICE DOG”! ………………….

22 Michele 08.08.09 at 11:30 pm

Don, the people who buy certifications and flash them at gatekeepers are hurting the rest of us! Employees start to expect ID from all of us and harass us if we don’t produce something to show them!

I believe we are all quite aware that some dogs help with psychiatric disabilities. But not everybody who has mental health problems is disabled and not every dog that helps a disabled person is a service dog. I have come across plenty of people who are in great health but buy certifications/vests to sneak their pets in. These people hurt us. Non-disabled people who claim they need a SD hurt us, people who bring emotional support animals in hurt us. People who bring poorly trained dogs into businesses hurt us.

And just so you know, I am the first volunteer at our local no-kill shelter to have a service dog with as I volunteer. And I do all my volunteer work in the community with my dog. So get off your high horse and don’t think the ten minutes we spend blogging is taking away from volunteer time. You are commenting on this thread too.

23 Pat 08.09.09 at 6:04 am

Don, I’m glad your wife has a dog to get there through these tough times. I have seen many service dogs, some well trained and some that are an accident waiting to happen. Of course that applies to all dogs. And the training you get from professionals runs the full range of those who do a terrific job to those who do little or nothing. My daughter has a pit bull/lab cross that is a wonderful dog but the people who got her as an alert dog for their daughter couldn’t control her in public and had to return her. My daughter adopted her rather than see her put down. She also volunteers at the local animal shelter.

Michelle, I don’t see Don or anyone else in here on their “high horse” except perhaps you. You have insulted the intelligence and honesty of Don and of me and since you have no idea of what we deal with just as we don’t know what it is you have to deal with in your day to day life I don’t think you have a right to belittle us just as we don’t have a right to belittle your thoughts except when you begin being directly hurtful and I think with Don you’ve crossed the line. Take your dog and go to church, it might change your prospective! God Bless everyone and happy Lord’s day!

24 Michele 08.09.09 at 10:35 am

This is not the right place to preach about religion and I feel that it is completely disconnected from the thread topic. My dog was the first allowed in my house of worship and they wanted me to have one of these stupid certifications from someplace online. Then someone researched them and found out how fake they are.

It felt that Don was on his high horse because he told us all that we should have been volunteering instead of blogging. But he was on here too and I do volunteer with my dog. That feels like some guy shaking his finger at me and telling me what to do.

I love doing volunteer work with my dog and we are given the chance to educate many people. I am also the first AmeriCorps member in my county to serve with a service dog. At least they didn’t ask to see certification. They were very open-minded and understanding.

25 Don 08.09.09 at 1:34 pm

Michele< My high horse and I have worked with children as young as 9 with life threatening illnesses for the past 20 years. I have seen first hand the unbelievable positive emotional effects dogs have on children and adults dealing with health issues. My mention of working at Dog Shelters was only example of time better spent.
Back to the issue of ID’s…Should one be required to be certified as having a handicap before they can have a service dog, if so by whom?

26 Michele 08.09.09 at 3:30 pm

There are some that go to a doctor to get a prescription for a service dog. We hope that the doctor would know the laws and the person would have to be disabled before a doctor would write a prescription. At least around here, I have found that not be true. I have come across people who tell me they are not disabled and their “service dog” provides comfort. Doctors in my area are writing prescriptions for service dogs instead of emotional support animal. Many people including doctors don’t know the difference.
If a beaurocratic body is going to decide who is disabled and who is not; then this will take a lot of research, many experts, and a hell of a lot of controversy. I don’t know if it’s possible.

27 Lex 08.10.09 at 4:14 pm

I understand that this blurb was originally dedicated to discussing the appropriateness of ‘certification’ and registration of service dogs but I really would like some help. I’m in the very beginning stages of setting up a private service dog training program (dogs are bred, trained and placed. I do not train outside dogs). I’d really like any feedback or suggestions that current sd owners have ie tasks you would like your dog to perform outside the normal realm, extraordinary stories (good or bad), things you find valuable within the sd community (or things you don’t), etc… Or give me a shout if you are just interested in talking about sd related stuff. If there is another place you’d like me to post my plea for help please say so! Other wise email me at cypressfarm@gmail.com.

28 Michele 08.10.09 at 6:11 pm

Lex, try posting the in Service and Therapy Dog forum on Dogster. We talk about tasks a lot and many people have extensive lists.

29 Andrew 08.21.09 at 8:30 am

I am in the process of training my dog as a service dog. He does wonderful things for me. When my leg swells to the point of not being able to walk well due to my disability, he is there to help me keep my balance and not face plant into the ground. So I am now traning him to perform other helpful things for me as well. He has recieved his CGC from a professional AKC trainer as well. I most likely will get him a vest just to let people know he is working and to ask to pet him and maybe to ease the hassle that a business might put up, but as far as paying one of these online certifiication places … nooooo way. I personaly feel a working dog is just a “furry person” and really do you go around petting other people when you are out in public, I sure don’t.

30 Kathryn 09.25.09 at 3:04 pm

I’m a senior citizen, 66 years of age. Due to being rear-ended, I was bed ridden for two years and wanted to give up due to the pain. My kids got together and bought me a little Chihuahua. I have never even tried to train him for anything, but when he was 3 years of age, he started barking at me and trying to jump on my legs. I knew I was feeling weak, but thought nothing about it. My little bit wouldn’t leave me alone. I sat down and tested my blood sugar. It had dropped to 50. My little bit has alerted me many times before it was too late. Service dog? Yes. Pet? Yes. Won’t leave my side? Yes. I thought about asking my doctor if he would write a script for him, but I was afraid he would think I’d gone nuts. My little bit gets a little disturbed when my heart starts skipping beats. I have many health problems, but thus far, my little bit has helped me through them all. I don’t know if this helps anyone or not. I’ve never written on a blog before. P.S If anyone would like to communicate with me, write me via my email address. If you’re into playing games, don’t bother me. Kathryn

31 Joan 09.26.09 at 5:46 pm

I had a lab for my blood pressure disorder. However, when she passed away. I talked to a trainer about a small dog and ended up with a 4 pounder! I rarely had any questions about my lab, but I am questioned almost everywhere I go with my little guy. I did not carry any type of certification until I got him. I was asked to leave a gas station even with an ID card. I don’t think the problem is the ID cards; the problem is a lack of public education. Traveling with a small dog is substantially easier. He can sit right on my lap rather than finding space for an 80 pound dog to sit. I typically carry him in a sling with and ID card on the outside and people rarely notice him. When they do though, I get a million questions about how a dog this small could do anything. It’s SO frustrating!

32 Pam 10.27.09 at 3:13 pm

I too saw the 250.00 site, but worst than that I made many phone calls prior to training my own dog and many sites on the computer. There was one site that wanted 8000.00 yes the zero’s are correct. They then wanted us to come to their facility for 2 weeks for training & would not guarantee the dog. They say the $8 thousand dollars is a donation. I had a puppy that was a dalmation & was told he was not the right kind of dog so now I would have to get rid of him & my 14 year old dal before I could get a service dog. I was appauled & began my own training, I have had help with a local trainer & he has graduated 5 eight week training classes including good citizens & is a wonderful service dog. And no I didn’t get rid of mt 14 year old. My companion also works with me at the fire station & in our local schools helping me teach fire safety so he has 2 roles & plays them both well. He allerts me when my husband sugar gets low including waking me in the nite time & he loves to show off for the kids with his stop drop & roll routine. He is great with the kids with disabilities and is actually in one of our kids bio’s for his colleage admission. So if you want to put the work into it animals can be an asset to your life.

33 Doc 11.01.09 at 9:01 am

These blogs about certification are all very interesting. It is almost as interesting as watching drivers get out of thier cars parked in Handicap spaces. or the best one, off of a motorcycle (lots of parking permits are given because the MD can’t say no or is passed down from an eldery parent and left in the car)! Why would anyone object to certification ? I you really have a medical problem that requires or is helped by a service dog, than there is no reason to fear certification. How many people dess thier dogs up in vests just to save the $150 on the airplane? That prevents an truly required dog from gaining access. I realize that dog and caats can really help with emotional issues….our pets make us happy. I think dogs ahave a natural ability to realize when we are sad or hurt….but that does not make them Service Dogs. The SD class that pull chairs,open door, pick up objects etc are performing a vital necessity. I don’t have to comment of Seeing Eye Dogs. Alert dogs also perform a service…Diabetic dogs alert low sugar, allergy dogs keep kids away from peanut butter, siezure alert dogs can save lives by alerting an individual to sit down or stop driving! There are also many other diseases that are similar to siezures that SD can benefit. If you truley have a medical problem that a SD can assist in or afvise of than why would you be afraid to have your dog certified ? I don’t get It. Yes I have a SD Dog…an Alert Dog…very well trained….and she has never been in a restaurant, movie, store, or airplane (1st flight will be early next year) because I have my wife of a friend with me. To say that a dog is needed to calm someone on a plane…well that is pushing a bit…that is why they make medications to help calm you.

So, I would love to have certification of some kind. I am not afraid and I encourage it

34 Shardea 11.02.09 at 4:59 am

To Doc. medications dont always work and for some of us takinga medication might be worse. if the flight is short and the meds knock us out for x hours depending on the meds we might not be able to wake up. I take my dog with me yes a service dog 8lbs papillon for mental health issues severe PTSD & anxiety and another i wont mention. i could not fly with a family member or friend if i wanted to my PTSD is very easily triggered and they could not help me control it and the meds ha no help unless i want to be there in the chair drooling falling out of the seat. and truthfully a 2 hour flight with meds that last 6-8 hours is no joke. especially when you have allergic reactions to most medications. some people do need ESA to fly because a flight buddy is not an option and neither are meds. but yes i have a self trained service dog that i take with me almost every where, he alerts when an episode is started can alert my family when i black out can retrieve my cell phone get my attention so i leave the situation and most important alert me when someone is comming up in my blind spot or behind me. i dont carry extra certification other than his vest and thats only since someone picked him up and tried to walk away. but please people quit saying thats what medication is for. unless you have taken those meds and know the feeling you cant say that is what it is for not to mention being zombied out or having a full on attack on a air plane full of people is much more embarassing than showing a letter for a ESA or explaining what your dog is for.

35 poe 12.27.09 at 12:45 am

So what are some good credible websites to get a service dog certified? We can all complain about this one or that one… but i’d like to hear about more positive sites to visit. :wink:

36 Michele 12.27.09 at 9:04 am

To be honest, I don’t think there are any. No site that I have found requires to see proof of training, tasks/work, and paperwork from your doctor and vet. Without all of these, a certification is pretty worthless. If you brought a “certification” from SARA or any other scammer to court if you were having access problem or something, the case would be thrown out. I could make a certificate like that on my computer. If your trainer certified your dog, that may actually hold up in court. But since certification is not required in this country, I’m not going worry myself over not having a certification for my dog. It’s mostly useless and helps scammers make money.

ID cards are different. Someone yelled at me for having one, saying it would be harder for the next team that came through. Since no sort of ID is required (but helpful) in this country, a dog wearing any ID could make it harder on the next team. My dog wears his vest even though it’s not required. My dog has an ID card that I made, it has the ADA Business Brief on the back. Something like this could be great for dogs in hot climates, wearing a vest could overheat them. And it’s not like a I show gatekeepers the letter from my doctor. That would be ridiculous, an invasion of privacy, and would really be hard on the next team. At least most of the sites that sell SD vests really are all about dogs and aren’t saying that the vest garantees access and don’t offer you the services of a Beverly Hills lawyer.

37 Pat Schmidt 12.27.09 at 4:21 pm

None of the certification sites are legitimate. They are all a scam. I carry a letter from our trainer and I also have a vest for him just because it makes it easier and I don’t have to give an explanation every time I go anywhere. The airlines only require a letter from the trainer but I also carry his shot record with me everywhere I go since you never know when someone is going to ask for it. For example, a friend took me to visit a friend in a nursing home and Smokey went with us. The nursing home requires a record from the vet for any dog going into their building so I was glad I had that with me. I have never been denied access to any building and he does not have a certification.

38 Michele 12.28.09 at 8:36 am

You are right Pat, they are all scams. I even have instructions for DIY certification, why pay someone else? But how valid is it a

The airlines may or may not require paperwork. According to the current ACAA regulations, if you have a psychiatric service dog the airline are allowed to require a letter from your doctor or mental health professional less than a year old saying that you have a DSM-IV diagnosis and your PSD is necessary for your health. Not all airlines require it. But if you do have a PSD and travel by air, might as well have the letter. You don’t want to be forced to put your dog in cargo or not take your flight. I have one, never been asked for it. But I will have it with me when I travel in February.

39 sally 12.29.09 at 6:41 pm

Do to a medical disorder it’s getting harder and harder for me to fly, I would like to get my dog certified to be able to fly with me in the cabin. Do I go to my vet to ask how this is done, go to the org. my dog came from……I need some direction as I’ll be flying in 4 mo.

40 Michele 12.30.09 at 8:35 am

Sally, if you had read the article and comments above you would know that there is NO certification in this country. Most so-called certification are sold online and are absolutely worthless! They are a complete scam and a rip off. If you would like your dog to fly with you for emotional support, check out your airline’s website to see their paperwork requirements for Emotional Support Animals(ESAs). And while the Air Carrier Access Act(ACAA) may view ESAs as Service Animals, the ADA does NOT.

41 Jack D. 01.12.10 at 2:39 pm

Very out of the blue question, but I was wondering if there was a REAL and HONEST site I could go to to register my dog. That is if someone wouldn’t mind pointing me in the right direction. I trained her myself and the expenses of purchasing a service dog is not covered by my insurance. Thank you.

42 HumSD 01.12.10 at 2:50 pm

There are places to register your SD. But what good will it do? It’s just another place online where anyone could register their dog.

A place that may actually be decent is the Foundation for Service Dog Support.

43 Tiffany 04.12.10 at 12:41 pm

No such thing as a legally certified SD here in the US. I wish people would just cut the crap already. I make SD ID tags on a small scale and I have been asked to design them to read “certified” and “registered” and I refuse to print such. You may “regisiter” your SD (who fully meats the creiteria previously posted) as part of the USSDR census project, but it doesnt mean diddily in legalities.

44 SDFL 04.12.10 at 12:45 pm

There are a few legit certifications, mostly through actual service dog schools and private trainers. Any service dog trainer or school can certify but it must state what standards it has met to have any value.

ADI (Assistance Dogs International) is the organization that created a code of ethics and minimum standards that all service dogs need to adhere to. Most schools and trainers, are either members or use their guidelines for their certification, this offers a uniform test of what is and is not a service dog. The certificate just states that the dog meets the ADA definition and met or exceeded the minimum standards of the ADI.

All legit certifications will require lengthy and documented testing which will push the dog and handler to their limits. Most certifications that have any legal weight are tied to non-profit organizations who do the testing or training. Those organizations will defend the certification in court through training and testing records.

45 ken howard 06.21.10 at 12:01 pm

WOW, certify this, register that ? ? ? I think I have the solution but some may like like THE HARD TRUTH.

I am NOT trying to stur the pot here but this is my take and my experience. I am a disabled Veteran. I have a service dog. A German Shepherd, which SOME trainers say is not a good breed for service dog work for XYZ number of reasons. INTERESTING, YES? SO, this proves the point that everyone has DIFFERENT OPINIONS on everything from training to breed to ID cards, vests ect.

FOR ME, this is the test. Am I disabled by definition of the VA and Social Security? YES. Is my dog properly trained? YES. Is she certified? DEPENDS on the definition. Did the organization that trained her ¨Certify¨ her? YES. But that is also like getting a used car from a Ford dealer who CERTIFIES it as being pre-owned. Kind of self serving for ANYONE or any GROUP who sells or donates their ¨Service Dogs¨ to certify them. In fact, WHO would pay or want a service dog from an organization that DID NOT say the dog was properly trained, or in other terms, CERTIFIED? And what agency or trainer would be stupid enough to market a dog they refused to ¨CERTIFY¨ as properly trained? Do you see where I am going with this?

ON ID CARDS. Unfortunatly, we have become a society where we are asked for OUR ID every day, be it a drivers license, passport, membership card ect..I have to show my VA ID CARD to get treatment at the VA hospital and my SAMS card to shop there. So in one sence, the general public expects to see SOMETHING regarding your service dog, regardless of the law, people want to see SOMETHING. . So for those with REAL SERVICE DOGS AND REAL DISABILITIES, why be offended if someone wants to see an ID?

My dog has a mobility harness with the patches on it. I have the nice plastic ID card with her face on it saying she is a service dog. BUT MOST IMPORTANT, I have my Medicare card and my Veterans Administration Hospital ID card. BOTH being proof I have a medical disability. I have NEVER been asked to produce any paperwork for my SD. I have been asked a few times about my SD and as soon as I show them my VA Hospital card, they say OK and no further problems.

If I DID NOT have my VA card, I personally would WANT a LETTER from my doctor on his stationary stating I am disabled as defined by the ADA and that my condition was perminant. THAT should be enough, along with a WELL TRAINED DOG and some form of ID for your dog to identify him/her as a service dog, if for no other reason to prove you are not taking your neighbors dog of a walk.

NOW FOR THE SOLUTION. In stead of certifying the DOG, I think the PERSON should be certified as DISABLED using the ADA guidelines. This would STOP most fake SD´s because the OWNER would need to prove THEY are honestly disabled. Why would a person who could not PROVE they are disabled need a SD? Same thing as getting handicapped license plates. The State doesn´t certify the CAR, they certify the DRIVER / OWNER as being disabled.

Now before you get your shorts in a knot over this suggestion, let me offer this for consideration. In my city, we have Metro Rail Lines. Tickets for DISABLED PASSANGERS are only $1.00. The transit police often ride the train asking people to show their ticket. I have been asked many times for my ticket and when I show it, since it is the discounted handicapped ticket, they as to see PROOF that I am disbaled. I show my VA Hospital card and my Medicare card and they say thank you. I have NEVER been asked by the transit police to see my DOGS ID. So having a Service Dog is like walking with a cane or being in a wheel chair. It is A TOOL and as far as the transit police are concerned, anyone can buy a cane, wheelchair, dog, dog vest, dog ID ect. They what to make sure I am disabled.

One other point to consider, since it is a FEDERAL CRIME to pass your dog off as a SD if in fact it is not, if the owner is challenged and can´t PROVE THEY ARE DISABLED, then authorities have a case for a criminal complaint against them.

I know some here might disagree and say they are not required to show a letter or proof they are disabled ect, but WE as disabled people are the one´s complaining about the FAKE SD´s and while it might be a pain in the rear end to have to pull that letter out or show that disability card, it would sure help stop the FAKES and I think it is a small price to pay to start stopping these FAKERS in their tracks and seeing them get fined.
Just my thoughts. Have a great day and my God Bless America !

46 Robin B 06.22.10 at 10:10 am

That would work and the SD groups that owner train do certify your dog, thats good. That would take care of the FAKE disabled person and FAKE SD.

But I do think that some type of Certification will need to be used not just for the FAKE SD but unfortunately their are some disabled people that have a DR’s note, Medicare card and VA card that have dogs that are not trained and do not have the temperament for SD work.

I am going to give two example….BUT FIRST let me say I think any
breed can be a SD if it is TRAINED and has the correct TEMPERAMENT.

First example– My oldest son is the manager at a Coffee Shop, A person came in using a walker. while in the Shop his dog snapped and barked at people walking by. My son asked him to leave due to the dogs behavior, the man yelled his dog was a SD. My son told him that I (his mother) has a SD and it does not act that way. the man left. The dog was a large mixed breed some type of wired haired dog.

Second example— My husband is a Ranger at a campground. If people come into the park with a dog there is a fee per night. A man came in with a dog he said the dog was his SD—SHOWED A NOTE FROM HIS DR AND HE ALSO SHOWED HIS MEDICARE CARD. No fee was charged for the dog. These two man went to their campsite (THERE ARE LEASH LAWS IN THE PARK FOR ALL DOGS) they turned the dog loose, they were told to keep the dog on leash. Once again they let the dog loose, it ran over to another camp site and ATTACKED AND KILLED two small dogs that were on a leash. The dog was a Pit bull. This dog was not a SD and NOT BECAUSE it was a Pit bull, but because of the temperament and no training—–FAKE SERVICE DOG.

Some people who are disable can also cause a problem for others IF they do not have a TRAINED dog. There should never be a fee to get a SD Certification– some type of form that you take to a trainer and have them check out the dog–like a Good Canine Citizenship test or something like that could be filled out sent into a register along with (like you said) proof the person is disabled. Handled Something like the handicapped car stickers.
I think that is what it will take to make all people and SD safe and legal..no fake SD. Just my experience. Everyone have a good day!

47 ken howard 06.22.10 at 8:29 pm

ROBIN,

I see your point and it is well taken. The one big question that remains is WHO is actually authroized or licensed to ¨Certify¨your dog? It may eventually come down to having to take your dog to a licensed certifying agency and in order to be licensed to certify a Sd, they will be required to meet some specific standards. Only example that comes to mind is a licensed CPR instructor. They must be certified to teach the course and PASS or FAIL the student. In the two cases you mentioned, my question is (and I know this is Monday morning Q-backing here) why was law enforcement not notified? If the handler was given at least a ticket for DOG AT LARGE or even referred to the local U.S. Attorneys office, then the burden would shift to the handler to prove his dog was a real service dog. ESPECIALLY with the pit bull example in the park ! I think the owner should have been arrested.

What I would LOVE TO SEE is a well publisized criminal prosecution of someone passing off a pet as a Service Dog to get on an aircraft. I think that would shut down many of the fakes for fear of actually be held accountable.

Eventually, I hope the SD community can come to some type of agreement where we can police ourselves and put forward a set of standards / certifications that would be accepted and RECOGNIZED nationwide, similar to the way everyone recognizes the Red Cross as being a certifing agency for CPR.

On a side note, I had a man approach me in a store and he told me he was a ¨Trainer¨. He asked me WHY I was using a German Shepherd as a SD. My SD is balance assistance. When I told him that is what I requested as a prefered breed if it was available, he told me German Shepherds were not good for service work because they were to aggressive / protective and they had problems with SEPERATION ANXIETY. I told him I had never had a problem with her and walked off. I thought about what he had said and my though was, she is with me 24 hours a day so why is seperation anxiety a concern and as far as aggressive / protective, she is a very sweet dog, has never so much as growled at anyone, and only barks when the doorbell rings which I don´t mind.

If you are wondering, I requested a German Shepherd because I had one as a child and I love the breed. My second choice was a LAB. I asked specifically not to be placed with a Golden. I waited almost TWO YEARS to get my dog.

48 Robin B 06.23.10 at 7:54 pm

Ken,

Yeah, if the SD community could come up with something like the Red Cross that would be good.

And the Pit bull, oh yeah it was a big deal! the Sheriff came out and the dog was removed and put down. A big investigation,the guy had to pay a fine and was banned from the park. It was bad, the attack happened in front of two little kids in their own camp site. And I think the people of the two dogs that were killed, filed a law suit against the Pit bull owner.

I know what you mean about people coming up to you in the store saying that they have trained SD (yeah right) and then giving you their opinion. I had a women come up to me and ask me how she could buy a harness like my dog has and how much does it cost. Then she kept asking training questions about my dog ( Standard Poodle) saying that she didn’t think a Standard Poodle was good for balance. After all that she tells me she has trained SD for years, which was so funny because by all her questions you could tell she didn’t know any thing about SD
Some people are just odd/funny.
And we I went throught training with my SD there was two German Shepherds in the class and they did great.

Have a good day, smiles

49 SDFL 08.04.10 at 2:13 pm

ken howard & Robin
You both have a point. The US is behind Europe on id’s for the legally disabled.

The HIPPA laws protect privacy, which is why it’s illegal to ask a person what their disability actually is. It would be great if each state added a box on the drivers licenses that had ‘legally disabled’.

As far as standards, they do exist and many states regulate service dog schools and trainers of the dogs through their business license. Just like an electrician has to follow the NEC, some states require trainers to follow ADI.

ADI (http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org) is the defacto standards group for service dog training. And the IGDF for guide dogs (http://www.ifgdsb.org.uk). Trouble is many Owner-Trainers don’t follow these orgs standards for training resulting in lower quality ‘service dogs’. When a member certifies a dog, it is certifing that it meets the industry standard. So a CCI, Paws or Seeing Eye dog have the same standards (same cert standards), and roughly same quality.

BTW: A person claiming to be disabled in public must have something to legally back it up, as it’s criminal fraud in most states. The ADA says they don’t have to have the paperwork with them, but if they ever go to court, the federal judge has the authority and duty to ensure the person really is disabled and the dog is trained.

Ken Lyons
Service Dog Trainer
Service Dogs of Florida, Inc.

50 Aticus 09.08.10 at 7:45 pm

Except for those incidents when dogs need height or particular strength, I wonder why more service dogs – such as seizure dogs – aren’t smaller breeds. Smaller breeds nearly always have longer life spans than large dogs, which would cut down on the training and emotional upheaval of getting new dogs. In addition, large dogs must fly in the less than ideal conditions of cargo and can take a lot of space just sitting in a public space. I have nothing against large dogs, they just seem less practicle in many situations. My service dog Scout is a rat terrier, smart as a whip and loyal as can be. BTW, she does not ride in grocery store carts.

51 B. 10.30.10 at 11:39 pm

I find it very frustrating, and the people that fake their pets off to ber service dogs don’t even realize how much harder they are making it for those of who need out SD’s to be there with us just to make it through the day… an example… I was at a craft show today and my sd(in vest) was laying quietly at my feet and a lady passed us with a dog (looked like a schnauzer) in a pupstroller(cage on wheels). Her dog growled at my service dog, and someone asked her to leave, that pets wern’t allowed she made a huge fuss he is a service dog and you can’t make us leave… Me and my big mouth said to her, “really, what does he do for you” her answer, ummmmmm…. you can’t ask that. I showed her the ADA law card that my dog has, that says “you cas ask what task does the dog preform”… this dog had no collar/leash/ or manners… people and learning to much and this is turning out to be a bad thing in my opinion. infront of the craft show(at a school) was a sign that said “service dogs ONLY, no pets” i think this is asking for trouble… Maybe this is just me… that is my soap box.. I am a service dog user, and service dog trainer in texas.

52 bogus service tags 11.04.10 at 6:01 pm

The most annoying thing is the entitled person who screams at you if you question their ‘disability’ lie. In California, all you need is to sign a piece of paper to get a service dog tag. The animal control knows how much of a scam this is. The woman at the desk told me fully intact, male pitbulls are being registered so people can take them on the bus with them. It makes me sick that so many people take advantage of the loophole. Ther’re also the ones with the handicap plates running into the store.

Personally, I’ve contacted the local county supervisors to re-visit the law and crack down on violators. These people only make it harder for all the people with actual needs. Time to get rid of the bad apples!

53 Darlene 11.16.10 at 8:44 pm

My 4 lb. Yorkshire Terrier is my Service and Emotional Support Animal. I have all the supporting evidence from specialists in both areas. I carry my info. at all times (shrunk and laminated) in my purse. I’m a trainer who trains all dogs in different areas. However, I have purchased a key chain carrier with service dog and the ADA regulations (which I am disabled by Federal Law). My question is where or do I need to have a CD, CDX or Utility papers or registered? Like Pat has with Smokey. If Pat reads this (sorry, I know this isn’t the forum and I agree with everything everyone has sad), I would be indebted to her if she would email me with her information so she and I could consult. Thanks and what a great forum. Darlene Boyd, Tennessee

54 Ralph 11.19.10 at 2:16 am

My wife has a Boston Terrier that rides on her scooter between her legs. she is trained to notify me or someone in the house when the wife has a sugar low. She comes a running when the wife sugar drops she barks, growls, jumps on me, and will not take no for a answer. I sleep with a sleep mask and ear plugs, I wake up right a way.
i rely on her to monitor the wife’s conditions to notify me.

55 MyRocky 01.29.11 at 12:47 pm

I agree with everything you said. I think people who try to pass off their pets as service animals should be fined !

56 Dog lover 01.30.11 at 8:11 pm

I have two small dogs and I am a professional mental health specialist. My dogs are PETS. They are not service animals and very few dogs are. A service animal must DO SOMETHING. It is not sufficient to just BE SOMETHING. Emotional support is not an action and these dogs or their owners have no right to impose them on the public, legal or moral. As to dogs detecting seizures or diabetes, sounds like junk science to me. I look forward to the day when I can ask some tough questions of an individual attempting to prevail on my space because of their self-entitled attitude.

You have a right to ask what the dog does. If the answer is that it provides support, you have the right to show the dog the door. We need to have some decent court cases to better define the limits of this.

57 Kim & Duke 02.10.11 at 4:19 pm

Companies like these make me sick! In the end these companies and people who decide to pretend their pets are “service animals” just to they can bring them everywhere with no training are only making it even harder for legitimate guide and service dog owners, like myself and many others to gain access to public places. Pet owners are not loosing anything by not being able to take their pet with them by lying and saying they are a service animal, but if a guide or service animal owner can’t take their working animals into public places then we are the ones who are getting punished. When are people going to start to understand this?

I guess there are always people out there who will prey on other people…

58 concerned neighbor 02.15.11 at 5:47 pm

I live in an apartment complex in CA. One of my neighbors is indeed disabled, he has severe back problems and is in a lot of pain. He recently obtained a pitbull at the local pound–which he claims is a service animal. This pitbull appears to have no training whatsoever and it is extremely aggressive. Everyone is so afraid of it that we are nervous about checking out mailboxes and getting our trash. He claims that he will train it eventually–but it seems to be an accident waiting to happen. Is there any recourse for us–or do we have to wait until this dog harms someone?

I do know that this man lied to his insurance carrier in order to have the dog. He is a pit bull lover–but his insurance carrier would not allow him to have one here. However, he found that if he claimed it was a service animal–then they could not discriminate (and he is legitimately severely disabled). He proudly told me about pulling one over on the insurance company by falsely claiming to his carrier that this dog (taken from the pound with no training whatsoever at this point) is a service dog.

Can anything be done?

59 Kimberly Ryan 04.13.11 at 2:46 pm

This subject really heats me up!

I have Fibromyalgia and CFID/ME which runs stystemically through my body. I suffer every day of my life. I have an Amercian Blck Cocker “Hayliegh.” I don’t look disabled, so I have had people come up to me in public and say “where can I get a vest, so I can take my dog out too.”
I look at them and say “You have to be disabled” and they look at me stunded because they think I am faking it because I don’t look disabled. I then share w/ them that it is illegal and would hurt those of us who are disbled and don’t look like we are. Becuase the person faking it will not have learned the does and don’t of how service dog edict.
Not sure what can be done? This is a real double wammy.
Before posting I saw the last reply to this post and it is about the aggressive pitbull. Sevice dogs are not suppose to be aggressive unlees it is beeing attacked. I once knwe this man who was at my gym he had service dog and he kept it tied in the back of the gym and told me not to go near it he may bit. One day he took his dog off the leach hwile i had mine w/ me and the dog went after my dog and over course she had to defend her self. Well, i jumps in w/ my left hand to grab my dog out of the attack and felt a tear go through my shoulder. I had no way of having him pay for my medical bills he didn’t have anything to stand on.
That my 2cents!

60 Terri Newton 09.01.11 at 10:59 pm

I get ticked off by this also!!!

I really wish they did require some type of test for a service dog. A test was required for my service dog to become a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) through the AKC. It was modestly priced at $10, she passed with flying colors. In fact the tester commented that she wished all dogs were as good as she was. We then received a CGC certificate and patches (paid for the patches) in the mail. I scanned and reduced the size of the certificate so I could laminate it and easily carry it with me.

Don’t really understand why the AKC doesn’t pick up on this and test for general service dogs. It would just be a few steps more than the CGC dog.

61 Barbara Cueter 09.04.11 at 12:57 pm

What group is working hardest and most successfully to stop pit bulls or any dog from being dressed up in service gear and presented as a service dog? My wheelchair bound husband was attacked in a hospital meeting room by a pit bull presented as a seizure dog. After six weeks, he is finally recovering from his wounds, but not without scars. The owner of that dog had no control over that dog – no muzzle, leash not tied to anything, and dog did not respond to “stop” command. Google PawsAbility4disabiolities. It says: OUR VISION FOR DOGS is Zero-Kill 2025 by giving millions of dogs a job serving some of the 45 million Americans with disabilities.
OUR VISION FOR HUMAN HEALTH is transforming the standard of care for people with affective disorders to include the “dog cocktail” as a standard treatment option as an alternative medicine to neuroleptic drugs, which disturb normal neural pathways & cause cognitive impairmentow … Trainers say geared up untrained pit bulls is a meanacing problem. I agree.

62 sable lynn 09.06.11 at 5:41 pm

I happen to be hearing impaired and use one of the small service dogs called “purse pets” in this posting. Let me tell you one thing….my dog is fully trained and has gone through extensive training for both public access and to learn to signal for me both in my home and in public. I would be much less functional without her. It saddens me to hear small dogs such as mine refered to as “purse pets”. I spent three years searching through loads of small dog candidates to find a trainable small dog and two years in training with her to ensure her reliability. She has shown amazing aptitude in all areas of her work. She often times was far ahead of the large dogs in her training classes. She is truely on of the hardest working dogs I have met in my journey to this point. Shame on all of you that discount these small super dogs as “purse pets”.

63 Concerned Dad 09.07.11 at 8:32 pm

I found this blog while searching for a way to get my 16 year old daughter’s dog certified. Let me fill you in and I would love to have some feedback as I find myself concerned by both sides of arguments presented on this blog/thread.

My daughter and her brother were both given a vaccine (DTP) when they were younger, as most children are. Unfortunately they immediately lost a sizable portion of their hearing bilaterally and my son (now 14) also has a number of autistic type behaviors and functions at about a Kindergarten level academically. My daughter, is a junior in High School and is well on her way to entering university with the intention of going to either veterinary or med school. She wears bright purple hearing aides in both ears and is very reliant upon them for communicating throughout the day. She generally only takes them out for sleep, shower/beach, or ear infections. When at home studying (or whatever) she does not hear doorbells, door knocks, or generally most attention gaining noises that the rest of us normally hear and don’t even give second thought to. This even with her hearing aides in. She generally has to be focused on a speaker or noise in order to hear it. At night she has never heard a smoke alarm go off nor does she wake to an alarm clock.

I have been planning ahead for her upcoming transition to independent adult life when she leaves my house for college. She and I went through the application process for her to have a hearing dog which I had hoped would be provided right about the time she left home for college in Fall 2013. She was turned down with the reason stated that it was too early to tell if she would be able to maintain the level of care/training necessary for a certified hearing dog and to apply again after a year or so in college. Well if that didn’t just defeat the purpose of having a hearing dog I don’t know what does. All along she has been informally training her own dog to be able to meet the standards of a service dog that could work with children in hospitals undergoing long term care.
(Before anyone points out the fact that service dogs are not usually placed in a home with a “pet” I will mention that in the application I indicated that I would be keeping her trained “pet” with me when she left for college)

An additional issue is one of finding a place to rent which allows a dog. A rare occurrence seemingly here where I live. She and I are looking for a house as the one we have been in for the last two years is being sold. The owner graciously had allowed us to have the dog there as it had 4 acres and he was in a financial bind enough that he really needed somebody in the house. We paid huge rent however.
I put an ad on Craigslist for a house last week which stated…”including my daughter’s dog which functions as a sort of service dog”. Not a single landlord responded even though the rental market is wide open. Nobody seems to want to rent to a dog owner.

The only response I received was from a single mom(also looking for a house) with toddler and dog who was interested in a “pooled resources” situation with an offer to show me how to get my daughter’s dog certified. Red flag went off for me. How could any one person just show me how to do it? I did a Google search for “certifying a service dog” and to my amazement plenty of sites came up. Including this blog.

I’m torn. Truly. I have no desire to get a fake certification but I have a true need here which I cannot seem to solve. I don’t want free airline tickets for the dog, nor do we bring the dog into public buildings or other “pet” restricted areas. I do however want to not be out on the street with my straight A honor student by the end of this month. The dog meets almost any of the seeming required skills necessary to be a well behaved dog in almost every circumstance I read about on any of the above blog posts (other than the dog does not like other dogs). My daughter still considers this dog her pet and mainly only takes it with her on hikes or her daily exercise run in the neighborhood…on a leash and under full voice control. The dog has never damaged any property and basically lives for my daughter’s love and attention. The dog is completely mellow with every single human she has ever come across and has never growled at any person. She alerts my daughter while they run in the neighborhood of vehicles, bikes, or other faster runners coming from behind that my daughter cannot hear. She alerts my daughter when a car pulls into the driveway at the house or if an unexpected guest shows at the house…not with a bark but an agitation that is different from any other regular action. My daughter has learned over the years the signals that the dog provides

So…before I secure a “fake” certificate I would enjoy some feedback and possible direction. I don’t have even close to the money it would take to purchase a legitimately trained hearing dog and the application process, even if I found a place to agree to providing a dog, seems to be a few years out from even a possibility.

Anyone??? Ideas???

64 Cindy Morgan 11.06.11 at 12:13 pm

I have seen a lot of dogs “passed” off as legit SD and are no better trained than a pet and some not trained at all. The LAW states that one MUST be disabled legally that means that the US Gov through the SS department or your DR must deem you disabled before you can use a SD. The other part of that LAW is that SD MUST be individually TRAINED to mitigate your disability, and emotional support dogs do NOT count as a SD, sorry. If the two parts of the LAW exist than by all means take your SD in public, but if not I hope you go to jail for fraud, so that those of us that do have a legit SD do not get the privilege of having one taken away! If any out there ARE disabled then there are ways to get your dog trained to mitigate your disability, I am a trainer and would be glad to help, look me up on serviceanimalsforempowerment Org and I would be glad to stere you in the right direction.

65 Cindy Morgan 11.06.11 at 12:19 pm

To concerned dad,
Look up my web site and find my email and contact me and I may be able to help
Serviceanimalsforempowerment org
I have a deaf daughter that uses a hearing dog and it sounds to me like you may be getting the shaft from the org that you went to. Give me a email and we can talk! Hope this helps.

66 FRAN 12.08.11 at 3:17 pm

I was so glad to come across this blog and would love to be a part of it.I am a now disabled retired dog trainer.When I after being badly mangled by a drunk driver started to walk with the help of a walker,I left a shopping center (my husband was looking at some things so I went on to the car) as I headed towards our car 3 punks on skateboards started to taunr me -then attack me as my husband came out the door and ran them off.I realized I would never feel safe again.I turned my well trained rottweiler into a service dog and it was amazing what a great job he did to promote my breed with his deeds.When he was 8, I started my next pup.We moved to Nevada and before they would allow us to rent a apartment my rott had to be certified.I called around found a place ,called them they wanted $82.oo I said ok and asked how to go about setting up a appointment so they could check him out =silly me.All they wanted was my money a picture of my dog and they didn’t even care or ask how well trained he was or his temperment=just send picture and money.I did.Now my pup is turning 8 and I get my new pup in april.I cannot afford the $82 to certifi this new pup what do I do?Thanks

67 FRAN 12.08.11 at 3:23 pm

so sorry I did not state my dogs are trained to pick up any thing I drop,since my back and neck don’t work so well,they also sit and watch my back as I load my scooter on or off my car rack.

68 me 01.04.12 at 7:22 pm

Simply, mind your own business! I treat and respect my dog just as I would any human, probably even better and if bias backward control mongers like yourself ever woke up and realized all you are doing is feeding the same system you complain so dearly about, maybe you would climb off that bubble cloud you live in, and fall flat on your face! Maybe then and only then you maybe actually see things a little clearer. I actually stumbled on your little rant while searching for a Service Dog harness with patches, two to be exact. My disability is dealing and having to live on the same planet as you people, and my dog keeps me sane, so I don’t have to let every single one of you know what I think about you, you self righteous ego obsessed citizens of this infested planet! Nice dog btw…Now back to you Bob…

69 me again 01.04.12 at 7:40 pm

Oh, and one more thing, for you people who keep saying “these people only make it harder for us”, honestly, I think you have more to worry about, than my dog walking in the grocery store. Uncle Sam has taken upon himself to invade our privacy, so now everyone thinks they have the right to do the same. If, so many people are doing it then guess what? The law should not exist! When laws are not obeyed by society, the rulers themselves look like jokes, and it only shows real people don’t care about anything, but their own self interests. laws exist because weak minded people fear controlling their own lives, so they always want someone else to protect them, and the more fear they instill in your hearts and minds, the more you need them. Like I said before, mind your own business! There are much more important things in this world than ranting about whether or not someone is lying about their dog. Get a life! To the rest of you who get ticked off seeing some guy “run into the store, parked in Handicapped”, you’re just ticked off that someone else is “getting away with it.” We have enough wannabe Zeus like impersonators, so please just….you guessed it MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS! If, only our leaders could follow that simple rule. The apple does not fall far from the tree, but if it rolls, watch out! I am done…

70 MrNobody 01.17.12 at 1:47 pm

We can argue until the cows come home with airline employees about how there is no official “certification” for guide/service dogs, however it doesn’t do us much good if we’re trying to get on a flight and an airline has a posted policy stating that only “Certified Guide Dogs” are allowed inside the cabin. Look at the bottom of the “Carry-on” section of United Airlines Pet Policy regarding travel to Hawaii.

71 SD Handler 01.18.12 at 12:16 am

Me Again….
“Oh, and one more thing, for you people who keep saying “these people only make it harder for us”, honestly, I think you have more to worry about, than my dog walking in the grocery store.”

No Actually, that is a big problem for me. Why? Because I am disabled and I have a service dog. If your dog distracted or attacked my dog, then you put me in very real danger. Why? Because without my dog, its not safe for me to leave my house.

“Like I said before, mind your own business! There are much more important things in this world than ranting about whether or not someone is lying about their dog.”

Like I said, it IS my business when what you are doing has the real potential to harm me. It is because of people like YOU that our dogs get attacked, we get more access challenges, and the law could one day get changed so that it becomes more difficult for a disabled person to have a service dog.

“To the rest of you who get ticked off seeing some guy “run into the store, parked in Handicapped”, you’re just ticked off that someone else is “getting away with it.””

NO! I get ticked off because when “some guy” does that, they are taking a parking space away from someone who needs it, someone who has a legitimate disability and can not walk from a regular spot. I get ticked off because in more than one occasion that person has been ME!

Oh, and by the way, its a felony to say your dog is a service dog when they are not in most states. You can go to jail and face heavy fines. On the federal level, you can lose your rights to social security when you would other wise be eligible. And if your dog causes harm to me or my dog, you are liable for the damage.

Yes, I have a service dog and I have a handicapped placard. Why? Because I’m DISABLED! As much as I love my dog, I would retire him to pet status and never take him into a non pet friendly place again if I could also lose this disability. We (the disabled) are members of a club we didn’t join by choice and of a club we have no desire to be in, but we are doing the best with the hand we are dealt.

72 SD Handler 01.18.12 at 12:17 am

Mr. Nobody….

That’s because HI apparently thinks its not part of the US. The state has all kinds of regs that are against the ADA regarding service dogs.

73 Shadow Eyes 02.10.12 at 2:42 pm

I’ve been looking into emotional service dogs since my friend’s little sister adopted one for her mental disorders. At age 20 I’m still deathly afraid of being alone or in the dark. I can NOT remain in a house without people or dogs. I see things I know are not there and over time get the creeping sensation it will “get” me. I pet-sit houses but if there are no dogs and only cats, fish, what have you, I can remain inside for no more than 30 minutes. Even in my home with my boyfriend I can sometimes have panic-attacks via freezing up if I stay in a room alone too long, even if it’s for a bath. I shake in the car when it’s dark and I’m alone and I take as little time in empty public restrooms as I can. I’ve thoguht it’d be wonderful to just be able to bring one of my old dogs with me in situations that I think I may be alone, but I’m afraid that if I go to a therapist they’ll just try to give me medications or sell more therapy sessions rather than tell me if I can have one of my rescue dogs signed up as an emotional support animal. Help?

74 CORT 02.24.12 at 1:25 pm

I am extremely sympathetic with those angry over not really having a certified disability but using their dog as a service dog to reap the benefits. The question I have is….what do you do when you know someone has qualified their dog as a SD in order to fly on a plane – avoiding extra costs and allowing the dog on the plane with them – and they do NOT have a disability? In fact, the dog is being handled and is flying around with someone that is not even the owner! The purpose of the flights….to compete in sporting dog competitions. Any advice?

75 Cindy Ludwig,M.A., KPA-CTP 03.05.12 at 11:34 pm

I have been getting so many requests for service dog certification lately that I decided to write an article: http://dubuquedogtrainer.hubpages.com/hub/servicedogcertification

76 Rachel 03.13.12 at 1:23 am

Okay all these are confusing me more, it part of my learning delay it trouble process information, it make me more confuse than I need to be. I want to make sure I am not breaking laws. I grew up being hard of hearing, having learning disabilty. I attend Special Ed classes in school, even attend counesling many years, still have counselor now. I been diagnose having depression, plus panic, anxiety, asthma. By law under ADA I read. Some not all dog are license ore certify. Some but not all dog are register. It not require under the ADA to show proof that you have disabilties, that it your service dog. Do I read that right? I also read you can trained your own dog to be your service dog before you take the dog out in public places. Some people do trained their own dog, it saved money, easier for them. You do not have to go through progams to get a service dog, you do not have to go through programs to trained your dog you can trained your own dog. Those are what I read. So let say for example if I get a dog that already know basic trained, take to places to work on how to act in public places, trained the dog to alert me to sounds because of my hearing loss, etc. I do all this, then the dog is fully trained to be in public places. What I am confuse is what do I need to bring and show in public places? Do I need to get proof and go to court or have my doctor signing papers say I have disabilties and are hard of hearing, need service dog? If so I will get all the proof so I don’t get in trouble. I wear hearing aids too, maybe I need to get my hearing test result as proof too. I don’t want to go to jail for having a true disabilties, I don’t have papers or proof? Please help me be less confusing.

77 Tristan Richards 03.27.12 at 9:49 am

I am currently training my 9 week old akita to be a service/therapy dog this is my first time training a service dog and it is time consuming. That being said I agree, these companies should be stopped because the hard work on both the dogs and the trainers end should be honored, and these companies are undermining this process. If society gets flooded with phony service dogs, right and regulations will take the hit because business owners will not know when to step in with out violating ADA guidelines. I will be a proud owner of a service dog when training and testing is done and I do not want this to be discredited by lazy phonies that want to abuse this honored system.

78 ERIC CHRISTENSEN 04.21.12 at 4:00 pm

ALL I KNOW IS THAT MY CERTIFIED 107 LB. BORDER COLLIE/ST. BERNARD IS A FIXED MALE WITH A GENTLE DISPOSITION AND HAS BEEN ATTACKED 3 TIMES BY PIT BULLS THAT WERE UNLEASHED, ONCE TO THE TUNE OF $250 DOLLARS. HE HAS ALSO BEEN ATTACKED MORE TIMES THAN I CAN COUNT BY SO CALLED PURSE DOGS THAT WERE LOOSE AND OFF LEASH. THEIR OWNERS AND OTHERS IN THE AREA THOUGHT IT WAS CUTE AND FUNNY. MY DOG JUST DANCED AROUND TRYING TO AVOID THEM. AS FOR THE BIGGER AGRESSIVE DOGS HE JUST WON’T FIGHT THEM. SO HE RAN 30 FT. WITH THE PIT BULLS TEETH IMBEDDED IN HIS NECK TILL I ( WHO AM DISABLED ) COULD KICK THE PIT BULL IN THE STOMACHE. HIS SWEET DISPOSITION REMAINS IN TACT EXCEPT HE HATES PIT BULLS AND BARKS AT THEM. AND I HAVE NO USE FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN’T CONTROL THEIR ANIMALS CERTFIED OR NOT, BIG, MEDIUM OR SMALL. I CARRY PEPPER SPRAY EVERYWHERE. I AM LOATHE TO USE IT, BUT I WILL.

79 Cooke Osborn 05.02.12 at 7:43 pm

While I agree with the post, I think the intentions of the websites in question are poor. Especially when they use a .org domain, and use America in the title. I’ve dont a lot of research into the top site for this keyword and when you look around you will find a lot of people posting their URL on sites like Yahoo Answers, thinking that since it’s the first site that came up when they did a search it must be legit. So some of the blame should also be put on people who don’t do the proper research before dishing out that kinds of cash. But I do think the real problem is with the ambiguous way the ADA has set its guidelines. I’m in favor of a National Certification Program that would put these sites out of business, and take all questions off the table regarding who really needs the service dog and who does not.

80 Dee Mongiello 05.29.12 at 9:36 am

there is a company out there charging $600!!!

81 I forget things 05.29.12 at 11:15 pm

I thought I would add my two cents on the issue. First of all if you are traveling with any type of animal whether in the cabin or the cargo hold the airlines have the right to ask for a health certificate. So if you are traveling with a service dog (SD) you will need a health certificate for your SD or the airline can deny access for the dog until you get one. To get a health certificate merely go to your vet and ask for the health certificate. Mainly the health certificate shows certain shots and the dates received. Also, the health certificates are only good for a certain time frame – I can’t remember but I think they are only good for three or four months.

Yes I have a SD and he is only 2.5 pounds. No, according to the ADA he is not required to have any type of certification or registration and in fact the sites that offer these services are only out to make money. There are also some sites where you can PURCHASE service dogs for astronomical amounts. You should never pay for a service dog. There are numerous non-profit agencies that train service dogs and provide them for free.

Do not fall into the trap of paying for a service dog. There are also lots of bogus sites that offer to train your dog, provide a certificate of training for your SD and they will even register your dog into a national certification list for all SD’s. BULL SH** These sites are all frauds. If you want you can pay to have someone provide basic behavior training or you can train your dog yourself but there is no national data base, there is no one or two national SD training sites but there are a lot of scammers that make it hard for a real service dog.

Since Peanut is so small I am always asked if he is a real service dog.
Twice I have been denied access to public places and one government building because I did not have prove of SD certification. I contacted a lawyer that specializes in ADA law suits and we settled out of court – three times!!!

So I can speak with true experience there is no such thing as a certification or registration number for service dogs. I also have access to another SD that helps me with balance issues, walking and seeing. No one ever questions he is a service dog. But because of Peanut’s size people always question me. By law if asked you can to tell what the SD does to help/warn you but you do not need to disclose any medical issues – consider what HIPPA does for you. Even though HIPPA is only an act at this point, it has not yet passed as a law, but our medical privacy does not need to be disclosed to anyone.

My Peanut and other dogs like him that are seizure, heart attack, diabetic etc type of dogs can’t really be trained to detect medical incidents before they get bad. So my animal has great manners and was trained by a professional trainer but not by a scammer saying they train SDs for a price.

It is sad to thing general public has the attitude the can use “fake” SDs to carry their animals with them. These same people get “proof” they need to substantiate their lie. But a real SD owner with a real SD only does the rest of us a disservice by providing a SD ID, to provide some sort of certification or to disclose their medical issues. But sometimes people with disabilities just give in and give the general public the so called proof they want. Again this is a disservice to anyone with a service dog, but it does make it easier for the general public.

Also important to note is that if your insurance does not pay for supplies for your service dog you can actually claim expenses on your taxes. Any costs for the care and grooming of a SD is deductible. This includes food, training treats (we should always work with and provide training to our SD to make sure they behave in public), training costs and medical expenses. Be sure to check with your tax adviser but basically if you are disabled and have a SD you can deduct all of these costs. Call the IRS and they will confirm this for you.

The real question is being given to the general public regarding our plight? This include ADA requirements, rules and laws pertaining to SD. All the general public, government officials and business owners need some sort of training but what do they receive?

82 Tink55 06.04.12 at 8:51 am

My SD is registared with the County in which we live as our state requiers us to do, we have a full check list of things that we need to send in for her. I know that all states do not requier this, but ours does. We are also given a state issued tag for her once all the paper work is completed, this way we don’t have to show her papers when going places, since she has the state tag at all times.

83 I forget things 06.07.12 at 12:18 pm

Odd, because ADA does not stipulate any of what tink55 posted. But my guess is that since it is only an act and not a law, states can mandate their own requirements. This seems to be the root of the problem and hence no standardized policy or enforcement. Gy the way, did you know that some states won’t recognize dogs that help soldiers with PTSD as SD; does your? As far as the papers for travel, it is not a requirement of the state but is a requirement of the airlines. I travel a lot and use a variety of airlines and they all ask for the health certificate.

84 you 06.08.12 at 4:36 pm

“me” … You are an idiot.

85 Anonymous 06.10.12 at 4:57 pm

Dear sir,
I don’t want to use my name but I got taken for over $18,000 for people saying there puppys will learn to be a service dog on there own. Lie, lie, one was a grown dog sold by an ex police officer. I am on disability and they really took me on 11 different dogs. I hope they all can sleep at night. My doctor says I need a service dog and I get filed off like this. Those dogs latter I found out came from puppy mills, andback yard breeders. How low can people get? Now there are 2 companys selling dog toys and saying they are Kong dog toys and they are counterfit dog toys they even advertise them as Kong. How low will they go yet to take advantage of the disabled?

86 Danny Giles 06.20.12 at 4:24 pm

Okay, Everyone, please lay off the small servicedogs. I have PTSD & Anxiety, and my “little girl”, GYPSY, is the best thing that has happened to me since my wife helped me get off drugs. She is an 11-pound Shit Tzu, and means the world to me! She senses when I’m having nightmares, and comes to cuddle & give me lile kisses; then, when I wake up, she goes really crazy with the kisses. She has helped save my life, and my marriage (my wife was tired of getting kicked, etc., in the midle of the night.
Also, Spot & the crew @ Service Dog Tags deserve HUGE thanks. Having the “ESA” tag has been a blessing to me, and now I will be ordering (full-fledged) SERVICE DOG equipment for her. THANKS SPOT, SUSSIE, and everyone else affilitated with thier wonderful program! I owe you all for helping save my life & marriage! THANKS

87 Danny Giles 06.20.12 at 4:38 pm

Hey, SD Handler
BRAVO for you. I, too, am disabled & really get ticked when I see people without disabled plates or placard parked in OUR space! I have 4 ruptured discs in my back, a flat spot on my right hip (from jumping out of good airplanes), PTSD, & High Anxiety. If given the chance, I tell these people that I spent 8 months in a war zone, & 4 months in the hospital, to get my placard – how did they get theirs! It is amazing how quickly they move their car; I guess being a “Crazy old G.I.” does come in handy sometimes. Hang in there, Brother!

88 Tracie 07.23.12 at 11:00 am

Hi I am posting this because I have a GSD I am training myself for my 9 year old who has multiple diagnosis of mental and learning disabilities. And I myself have physical and ptsd. He is doing very well in his training and don’t feel I should have to pay someone to train my own dog just for the certificate. I feel it is better to be trained in the home environment beginning to end. But durring his training savilians for instance a park ranger was very rude and hounding me due to my dog bei.g in the water with us. I tried to explain to him what I was doing and that he signals when needing to potty. Long story short due to him being agravated I recieved a ticked for parking in a non parking even though the sticker said remove within 24 hrs. He is 5 months and has skyrocketed in his training. Is there a legit place to get a certificate so that I can continue to train him without the hassle of rude peopl? Thank you for your time.

89 chuck 08.10.12 at 2:34 pm

I came to this site looking for information on service dogs and found just another argumentative blog. Thank you to the ones that are trying to give out good info. The rest of you need to go argue in a chat room,you’re distracting people that are truly trying to either find or give good advice.
chuck

90 Anonymous 08.16.12 at 10:48 am

I want to make my dog a service dog because I travel a lot. My dog can not handle being away from me for that long. And you people believe I would be wrong?

91 Ellen 08.16.12 at 10:58 pm

My service animal has gone thru 2 1/2 yrs training. He is a German Shepherd and is a great seizure alert and mobility dog, I’m really tired of people putting shepherds down, they are very strong and task oriented, not to mention extremely smart. I refuse to put seizure alert on his vest because of peoples reactions, he is listed as a medical assist.
He is the best I could of asked for, vest or no vest! He goes everywhere with me, he acts as my left leg.

92 Tim 09.02.12 at 7:07 pm

Wow, what a string…I’ll add my two cents and add a different perspective:

I own restaurants and have to deal with the other side of the coin. I LIKE the stupid little certification ID badges. No not because “I” care… I don’t. I love dogs and think that service dog or not, providing that behaved, they should be allowed pretty much everywhere… I also live in France 3-4 months a year and find along with healthcare they seem to be a functioning country despite allowing dogs virtually everywhere. Okay so why do I like the ID badges… Well in my restaurants people come in with dogs… I don’t care and don’t want to bother them. But here is the catch 22 – It is agains health code to have an animal in a restaurant UNLESS its a service dog. So while I don’t care I also have to worry about the health inspector and other bitchy people who might report a problem… even if there is not one. So I like the “cards” because it make everyone chill out and say “oh, its a service dog. ” No one complains to me, no one calls the county health inspector I don’t get the county up my tush and everyone is happy.

Now we have the guys who say thats not right and its an issue of needing to educate the public… yeah when I deal with reality and the reality is SD’s and the owners of SD’s make up less than 1% of the population… and this “education” is not gonna happen any time soon… And then if you had a mass education and everyone learned that you don’t need IDs and don’t by law have to prove your dog is an SD an that its illegal in a lot of states to be asked for proof… well… then you’d have more people with NON SD dogs taking advantage of the system than you would have actual SD dogs out in stores and restaurants etc…

If people want to pay $250 for an ID so what… its their choice.

I more bothered by smokers, chemicals in genetically modified foods and the crap reported on fox news than a SD with a bogus id card.

93 judi lee 09.02.12 at 9:50 pm

I WAS RECENTLY @ SCHOOL INTHE BOOK STORE AND WAS STOPPED BY A CAMPUS POLCICEMAN WHO TOLD ME THAT I
HAD TO LEAVE THE CAMPUS UNTIL I COULD SHOW AN ID FOR MY DOG. HE IS A MINI PIN. HE RIDES ON MY BACK OR SITS AT MY SIDE IN MY POWER CHAIR. HE IS VERY WELL TRAINED .S QUIET. HE ALERTS FOR SIEZURES AND LOW BLOOD SUGAR. HE
WAS GIVEN TO ME BY THE BRAIN INJURY ASSOCATION 3 YEARS AGO. I NO LONGER HAVE THE LETTER I WAS GIVEN
WHEN I GOT HIM. THE ACCESSIBILITY PEOPLE ON CAMPUS
WENT TO BAT FOR ME. I HAD PROVIDED THEM WITH A LETTER FROM MY DOCTOR TAT STATED MY HEALTH ISSUES
AND MY USE OF A SD. I ALSO HAVE HIS HEALTH CERT FROM
MY VET. I THINK THAT ANY DOG THAT IS A LARGE ENOUGH
TO BE A THREAT SHOULD BE MUZZLED. PEOPLE ARE SO SILLY
THAT THEY JUST WALK OVER AND PET HIM WITHOUT ASKING AT TIMES. HE HANDLES IT WELL,BUT HE HAS
GROWLED ONCEWHEN A WOMAN JUST SUDDENLY KISSED
HIM ON HIS HEAD. I MAY GET A MUZZLE JUST TO PROTECT
HIM FROM HARM.

94 Anonymous 09.09.12 at 1:50 am

I am tired of this chick who brings her dog to the gym and leaves him lying in a doggy bed in the middle of the workout floor. She has no disabilities. She walks, talks and socializes just fine. but her dog wears a service vest so it is ok!

95 Nikki 09.10.12 at 4:01 pm

Hello,
I am interested in training my dog to become a SD (e.g. kids with Autism, hospice visits, etc…). However, everything I’m seeing online just SCREAMS scam to me! What I’m looking for is something to the effect of I go to a class, they train me and give me behavioral objectives to achieve with my dog, I go back with my dog, demonstrate our skill acquisition, I get feedback and a new set of behavioral objectives, and rinse/lather/repeat until I meet that organization’s criteria for “certification.” (sorry to use that term…I can tell from previous posts that it’s a hot button word but I don’t know what else to call it! Please pardon my ignorance, I’m new to this!) I live in El Dorado County, CA and would GREATLY appreciate any insight! Thank you in advance!

96 John 09.11.12 at 1:08 am

This post is in response to Nikki’s request of how to get her dog trained to work with kids with Autism, and make hospice visits, and other types of visits.

Hi Nikki,
You state that you want to train your dog to be a service dog, but from the rest of your post it appears that you want to train your dog to be a therapy dog–there is a big difference! A service dog will focus on just one person–its handler–which is a disabled person. So if you want your dog to be a service dog for a child with Autism, that means that once your dog is trained, the dog will go and live with that child and no longer will be your dog! If, however, you want to make visits with your dog to brighten and enhance the lives of others–such as children with Autism, but after the visit the dog is going home with you, then you are talking about a therapy dog. The two most known therapy dog organizations are Therapy Dogs International and Pet Partners (formally know as Delta Society). Also, some hospitals have their own “pet therapy” groups. There will be training fees, testing fees, and dues involved with any group you try to join. Each therapy dog organization has their own specific rules. Contact a few, find out where they’re going to visit and go there (without your dog). See what they do, talk to some of the members to see if it’s a fit. There is a way to go solo! Just contact an assisted living facility. Ask if you can visit with your dog. But make sure your dog is well groomed, well behaved, and absolutely won’t bite! Your dog must enjoy the experience and not show any stress. Once you find an assisted living facility that will accept you, then start making regular visits. Then ask the assisted living director if you can use her/him as a reference. Remember, you can take your dog anywhere that you two have been invited by an authorized agent! My dog is not a certified therapy dog, but yet the two of us make assisted living visits to senior adults, classroom visits to special ed students, conduct dog safety classes, and library “read to a dog” activities. We have accumulated many references. If you go solo, you save all the fees and dues, but your on your own.

97 John 09.11.12 at 1:37 am

For all you English majors…

Yes, after I read my post I realized my misspelling. The last line should have ended with …but YOU’RE on your own.

98 Jennifer 09.13.12 at 8:14 am

I have fibromyalgia. I am training a 11 week old yorkie to assist me and be alert when I am having an extreme tired spell or pain spell. Especially for driving purposes. I am at the beginning stages and have had her since just before 8 weeks. She is already starting to pick up when I am in pain. Yes she sits in my purse. She is a very small dog but already is picking up on what she is there for. With that people think she is just a pet. Many look at me all upset because I won’t let them hold her she is in training. She doesn’t have a vest or patches. I have been looking into them although right now most are to big for her. I would like good advice on legitimate places to provide supplies and advice on training.

99 Jennifer 09.13.12 at 8:18 am

I also think for those that want to take there dogs place try going to a nursing home and brightening their day. I used to take my two dogs with me to visit my grandma. The others in the nursing home enjoyed seeing them and the nurses had me go around with them to the different activity rooms and social rooms so they could visit. When my grandma passed they wanted me to continue to visit with the dogs but it was just to hard on me and my one dog. He knew my grandma and went straight to her room. Even when we arrived and they had moved her room he bypassed her old room and went right to her new room on his own.

100 Susan 09.17.12 at 7:32 pm

I just happened upon this site and have learned lots of new things about SDs. Thanks to everyone. I am disabled and had a trained bracing dog to see what they do first hand, what a godsend! He was a beautiful Doberman with great instincts for service. He went back and I had to move and when I asked my new landlord about obtaining a SD he was adamant that I could not have a “pet”. I know I could raise legal issues but then wouldn’t he just find another way to get me out? The problem isn’t in the law, I am in legal disability. Anyway thanks again for all the info, godbless

101 Denise 10.02.12 at 9:06 pm

HERE IS ANOTHER TAKE ON THIS. THERE ARE MANY CAPABLE WELL MEANING PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT CAN TRAIN THERE OWN DOGS AND NEED THIS ANIMAL TO BE ABLE TO MOVE AMONG SOCIETY. THESE DOGS WOULD OTHER WISE BE UNAVAILABLE TO THEM. THEY CAN HAVE THE INFO THEY NEED TO MOVE AROUND IN THE WORLD WITH THEIR VERY WELL TRAINED ANIMALS AND BE HAPPY AND HEALTHY CITIZENS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. WHAT ABOUT THOSE PEOPLE, SHOULD THEY BE PUNISHED BY MONEY BECAUSE THEY CAN’T AFFORD A 28 THOUSAND DOLLAR DOG AND SO THEY TRAIN THEIR OWN. SO WHAT ABOUT THOSE PEOPLE.

102 Mary 10.06.12 at 4:59 am

if you need a patch for you service dog they have them at http://www.sitandstay.com look around the page and you will see where they have all kinds of great stuff to help you and your SD…

103 Angel Cauffman 10.09.12 at 12:14 am

I have a had quite a few people that want to owner train Siberians and ask me if i wil SELL THEM one of my vests and IDs!!! I tell them that if they want to pay me to go through testing and Certify their dog, that I would be happy to do so… But that I will absolutely NOT just sell my vests or IDs….. Then … The last guy that asked said “There are plenty of places that you can just buy them, i will just put money in their pockets!”… WTH??? I mean,… you can just make fake ones I guess…. but don’t they think that someone will notice if tehir dog doesn’t have the correct manners???

104 Anonymous 10.09.12 at 11:14 am

I have a service dog and I also got the I.D and all I know by law I dont need it but some times its hard to get in to places with out it I went though that so i was happy I did it yes it was a little more money but it saved a lot of trubble for me toi just have it

105 Service Dogs 10.10.12 at 8:52 pm

I agree with HearingDog, the slander on this “article” is incredibly insulting. Regardless of what you believe is and is not a service dog, the point is that you should be socially blind to whoever might have it with them. It is helpful to carry around the card because of people like the author of this “article” who seem to be skeptical not of the service dogs themselves but of the people who have them being immoral. The last time I saw a diabetic in a wheelchair with a small service dog I did not scream “FRAUD! PURSE PET!” I simply kept my mind focused on the fact that this is a human being who has some need for their service animal. When someone asks to see the card it is a social stigma that has been created not because of these supposed “bogus” service dog sites but because people don’t actual believe in the heroism of a service dog itself no matter who’s carrying it, what kind of dog it is, or how it is behaving, you shouldn’t even be focusing on the animal, you should be focusing on the human being it is helping to lead an everyday life. That’s service dog information 101 and by not recognizing that in your embarrassing rant, I doubt the credibility of this entire site and the information you seem to so passionately put across to a general public.

106 brett baker 10.15.12 at 11:07 am

Stay away from http://www.Certifymydog.com
It’s a scam. I paid money and never received anything. Tried calling/emailing several times and never heard back.
I should have noticed that they don’t have an address or terms on their website….it’s my fault.

107 Courtney 11.19.12 at 10:55 am

well im a 17 year old high school student and im doing my senior project on whether or not service dog supplies such as the vest and the certification should be sold online with such easy access for people to fake a service dog is there anyone who can help me? is there any one for this or should it still be allowed i need to know if there is any real argument for this thanks – courtney

108 Eliz 12.01.12 at 1:17 pm

I’ve sewn on service dog patches for a friend who’s 2 year old son has diabetes. Their $15,000 service dog alerts when he is low about 30 minutes before his mom even notices. It wonderful. I don’t know why you say that sewn on patches are wrong. This dog could very well save the life of such a small child.

109 Rita Z. 12.03.12 at 6:14 pm

hi, my friend has this dog named missy who is a black lab/pit bull. This dog is unbelievably trained. she knows left and right, stoplight, picks up trash/trows it away, brings you a tissue when you sneezes, breaks up dog fights, wont eat food unless directly given and told to eat, brings in groceries, carries anything, and pretty much anything you can thin of plus is calm and sweet.Her owner also has crohns, which is a disability, because she could have attacks at any moment. Shes twelve years old, and trained this dog completely on her own, and has a very special connection with her dog that I have never seen before. With this dog she can always feel safe, so for her birthday me and two of my friends wanted to get her certified as a service dog. I found hundreds of websites, but could not tell which were real, or fake. Ive been told hundreds of times to just buy a jacket or badge off ebay, but I want this to be official. She is willing to go through any testing. If you know who I can call, or where I can go to get her certified, please email me at
lovemissy123@aol.com
P.S. I live in california

110 Anonymous 12.03.12 at 6:24 pm

If anyone knows a place to get a dog who meets every requirement certified for real in CA to a girl with crohns, a disease where in the simplest terms possible, it like little volcanoes in your stomach, please email me the phone number, or website at: lovemissy123@aol.com

thank you so much if you are willing to help, everyone keeps telling me to get a fake one off ebay because the dog is so well behaved, but I want it done for real.

111 Anonymous 12.03.12 at 6:26 pm

um actually ignore the last one, because my computer made me retype it 3 times, so i gave up on the full thing, sorry

112 Harry 01.21.13 at 7:52 am

OK I’m finally going to speak up. It makes me angry to see supposed disabled people out there saying someone who uses this or that is a scam. Disabled should not try to hurt each other! When you say the place I get my ID from is a scam you are saying I am a scam, and that my service dog is a scam. You are doing more damage to the disabled than any ID company is.

I agree there are a bunch of new id business popping up and I don’t think they are all created equal. I registered my service dog and cat with Service Animal Registry of America about 8 years ago after meeting one if their registered service dog owners who was in a wheelchair at the mall. She had ms and recommended them to me, she was not a scam and neither was her dog. I have never had an access problem with their identification but I sure did beforehand. Almost everywhere i went. They have been at this almost as long as the ada has existed. I’m happy the service is available. Yes, I paid for my ID. So what, that was my money to spend and my choice to make. I was not ripped off.

There are some fraud people out there pretending to be disabled but that’s a problem with those bad people and I don’t see how that can be avoided 100% without making life a whole lot harder on all of us. I don’t want my life any harder than it already is for gods sake!

I don’t think it’s so much the few that slip through that are as much of a problem as the people who keep complaining about them over and over everywhere. Trying to force their opinions down everyone’s throats. They make people think the situation is much worse than it really is IMO. I think a lot of the grippers just need attention and something to gripe about because that seems to be all they do.

I may be disabled but I’m not stupid and I don’t need anyone else telling me what I should or should not do. You don’t want to use ID then don’t, you don’t want to certify then don’t, you don’t want to register then don’t. But don’t think you speak for the rest of us who are legitimately disabled who must use a service dog. Because you don’t.

113 Harry 01.21.13 at 8:00 am

Oh and you really want to talk about the biggest rackets in service dogs then look at these people living the good life off of non-profit dollars who sell service dogs for $50000. Good God! Now that’s a racket. 50 grand for a dog? Unbelievable!

114 SD partner 02.09.13 at 12:34 pm

I am on my 3rd service dog. I have a trainer assist me with the parts of training I cannot do for myself due to my disabilities.
Am I legally disabled? Yes, the fact that the federal government took me to court and granted me SSDI should prove that.
Do my dogs meet any of the definitions of service dogs? Yes. they have been tested and videotaped doing the ADI’s public access test and will preform their trained tasks whenever necessary. On my next SD I am CHOOSING to go though Top Dog USA’s (http://www.topdogusa.org/) certification program because I have to actually go through rigorous testing at their facility to pass. But that is my choice, and not required by law. For me it is a matter of pride that my dog has the correct behaviors and is a shining example for the next SD team on down the line. I do not have to, but I sure as heck want to. I want to be that positive example of SD team that people will think of when they meet another SD team.
Fake teams and scams are everywhere. We as legit handlers, should think of how we can improve our community instead of QQing about it. Educate instead of screaming about the wrongs that are done.

Just my 2c…

And for those that scream breed hate-
My 1st SD was a Rott mix
My 2nd SD was a Pitt/ American bulldog mix (both from shelters)
My 3rd SD is a Mastifff

115 Ashley 02.21.13 at 12:43 pm

Are you aware that these service dog tag companies are advertising on your very blog here, and you are making money from their advertisements? Just a thought…

116 Ashley 02.21.13 at 12:50 pm

Disregard my comment. I see that you are actually running the business for service dog tags and like a few here, I agree with you doing this. A person who self-trains their animal should also be able to identify their animal in order to minimize public ignorance, even if they do not have to do this by law.

I agree with the poster who is offended by your remarks about “purse pets.” My service animal remains in a carrier. I do this because I am trying to mind my own business and I do not need the public humiliation of someone badgering me about the matter. The animal is still able to perform her trained service while in a bag. Like a traditional service dog, she is obedient, quiet and respectful. Most people do not even know she is with me.

Please remember that not all disabilities look the same. Those of us with small service dogs are in just as much need as those with large service dogs. I think the point here is to teach the world to be more tolerant and to reserve judgement. We can do that by starting here with our conversations amongst our fellow service dog handlers.

117 alberto torres 02.27.13 at 2:08 pm

my adress si 819 fdr drive new york city ny zip 10009 apt 2-i and i would like for you to please send a application so i could regerster my dog as a servies dog. thank you for taking your time reading this.

118 cheryl 05.01.13 at 10:08 am

I am disabled .so is my son.we bought to dogs.My daughter who is a Veterinary person” trained them for us. along with two other people. then we found this website… to get the vests. because we couldn’t get a dog on our own before. I think we just got scammed!!!! Oh no is this one of them???? servicedogregistration.org . I hope not. Our dogs were well trained. we just didnt have access to the vests and didnt know how.we are disabled. what now??? we just lost our bill money this month to do this.I am crushed.

119 Sussie Due 05.02.13 at 9:20 am

ANY company that claims to “register” your service dog is a scam. As Service Dogs are not required by law to be registered.

Our company will never claim to register or certify.

120 Ken 09.27.13 at 4:52 pm

I am disabled according to SSA and the VA. I spent about a week at the humane shelter searching for a dog.. I found a pug and lab mix that seemed very intelligent and adopted him. He trained easily. I chose my dog according to intelligence and yes sometimes I can get it wrong but I have had good success. I have trained him as is a balance assist SD(walking next to me with leg touch) since I have peripheral neuropathy and walk like a drunken person unless I have a third point of reference for feel. I have no problem with anyone asking for proof. I laminated a copy of my SSA disability letter and a copy of my MD letter and am never offended or angry that someone asks for them. He either wears a SD harness or one of the cards stating that he is a service dog. I am proud of my dog and glad to show that he is a dedicated SD. If you are offended or trying to pass off a fake then I guess you would be angry..If my SD pooped in a store or caused a disturbance then I would be totally embarrassed for ;my SD and myself since it would be my fault for the incidence and I would not blame anyone for asking us to leave. I do not understand why people are offended to be asked for proof. What had the store owner rather have, me staggering from side to side of the aisles or me walking straight with my SD.

121 Sussie Due 09.30.13 at 10:44 am

I think the main reason some are offended when asked for proof is because it’s against the law to do so.

122 tabitha 10.13.13 at 5:25 pm

Question qhat do i need to do to be able to take my great dane qith me i am disabled and she taught her self how to keep me balanced. My doctor also qrote a note stating she needs to be with me because of my severe balance issues advice would be appreciated thanks

123 tina neff 01.27.14 at 5:34 pm

i have a ? i have seizures and my dog let me know when one of my spoil comeing . what i would like to know is how can i make my dog a service dog. i am in a low come . and i have to move but most a permert only alow seivice dog becaused of my disabled

124 America 07.24.14 at 1:39 pm

FINALLY!! I have been searching for days, weeks even, for someone to talk to about this topic, but all I get are sites that want me to “buy” a service dog from them. Here is my dilemma: my son(who is 10) has PTSD, and at times it will hit him in public or when he is sleeping(comes out in the form of “night terrors”). Since my cousin’s dog had puppies he has grown an immediate bond with one of them(the runt, which he helped birth), and I have noticed a SIGNIFICANT change in him when he is near her. She already knows his heartbeat and will start to whine(she is 5 weeks) when he starts to have an attack. Because of their bond, I got my son’s doctor to approve him for a service dog(the only way we can have her in our home), but I need to know how I can train her for this and register her at home, without having to send her away for months of training, or pay an arm and leg. Any suggestions?

125 Sue 07.25.14 at 4:48 pm

The ADA/DOJ states the following…

ADA will not impose any type of formal training requirements, registration or certification process. While some groups have urged the Department to modify this position, the Department has determined that such a modification would not serve the full array of individuals with disabilities who use service animals, since individuals with disabilities may be capable of training, and some have trained, their service animal to perform tasks or do work to accommodate their disability. A training, registration or certification requirement would increase the expense of acquiring a service animal and might limit access to service animals. Especially for individuals with limited financial resources.

126 Tim 07.27.14 at 4:04 pm

It took five years for someone to finally post the ADA/DOJ position. As an M.D. I’m a full believer in the need for service dogs and would be happy to prescribe one to many of my patients, especially those patients with severely debilitating mental disorders. However, it does not take a dog to recognize when your glucose is low in diabetes. I have two golden retrievers and I know that they would definitely know if I was having a heart attack. Yet, could they actually do anything to prevent it. No. However, if I know that same dog is getting that same diabetic patient out exercising twice a day then I’m 100% in favor of that dog being a considered a service animal because there is a nearly absolute decrease in the mortality of that patient. Whether it is diabetes, depression, or epilepsy, every disease is devastating in it’s own way. So please do not put down the needs of other simply because your annoyed that you have a to why your dog is accompanying you to the salon. I would be happy to explain why my wife needs to take her dog with her and we are also very considerate to not take him into the grocery store (seriously?!?!) or a fancy restaurant and find dog friendly places as often as possible. As far as flying and housing goes…every dog is an ESA and should fly for free. Find me a person that has a pet that doesn’t qualify under that title. And if you can…you might want to tell that person to find a new pet. SORRY for that rant, but I really wish some people would consider the offensive nature of there comments on here towards patients that cannot always defend themselves.

P.S. – If you’ve spent $15,000+ on a service dog…pay the extra $70 to get a stupid certificate. That certificate company is no different that the dog training company that says your dog has to be certified in order to be a service dog. Buddd-dump chhhhhhh!!!

127 David 07.30.14 at 4:14 pm

I have a question. I am a veteran and I have PTSD, diagnosed with the VA, and my doctor told me that a service dog would be great for me. The reason why she said this is because when I am out in public with out my dog, I can not do normal things as other people do, ie socializing, being in enclosed spaces like a supermarket or shops. When I do have my dog with me I feel more safe and he can tell when I am getting an attack and tries to get my attention on him. I was about to by one of those certificates and ID’s online but I decided to do some research and came across a bunch of threads about scams. Should I be worried going to public places with my dog? I think it would just add more actions to my PTSD.

128 Sue 08.01.14 at 11:14 am

That is correct. While there are many websites out there that claim to “register” or “certify” a Service Dog. We know that it is not required by law so we refuse to scam the disabled.

The Department of Justice states the following…

“ADA will not impose any type of formal training requirements, registration or certification process. While some groups have urged the Department to modify this position, the Department has determined that such a modification would not serve the full array of individuals with disabilities who use service animals, since individuals with disabilities may be capable of training, and some have trained, their service animal to perform tasks or do work to accommodate their disability. A training, registration or certification requirement would increase the expense of acquiring a service animal and might limit access to service animals. Especially for individuals with limited financial resources”

Here is also a video that explains it a bit more…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5ca53MH1R4

It also talks about it on our website…

http://www.servicedogtag.com/the-service-dog-registration-certification-scam/

The ADA states that you do not have to have your dog ID’s as a service dog. However they highly suggest it as it reduces conflicts. I personally never take my PTSD service dog out without his vest and tags.

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