From the category archives:

fake service dog

Size does not matter!

by Sue on August 10, 2016

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I may open up a can of worms here but I wanted to bring up a problem that is becoming more and more common. Small dogs that are growly, nippy or just flat out bite and are still being used as service dogs. This is causing a problem for people that have well behaved small service dogs.

A LOT of people do not take my service dog seriously because of his size. They think I am trying to fake a service dog because he is not a German Shepherd, a Golden Retriever, a Labradoodle, or any of the other breeds that are usually thought of as the breeds used for Service Dogs. They stereotype him as one of those snarky little dogs they see. I usually don’t say anything, I just let people think that. Then, after they watch him work, they are usually amazed. Many stating “That is the most well behaved dachshund I have ever seen” or “I didn’t know they used dachshunds as service dogs” or “I didn’t think small dogs could be service dogs” That last remark is usually replied to by a small chuckle and my “Try telling HIM he’s small” while he sits or stands with this nonchalant look on his face. Actions speak louder than words.

Gunny is a very seasoned dog. In the equine world he would be called bomb proof. But then Gunny was my Narcotics detection dog before he became my service dog. He no longer does drug searches since the legalization of marijuana in the state of Oregon. Unfortunately he is subjected to that smell on a regular basis while we are “out and about” now. I had to keep telling him to “break” when he smelled it. To him “break” means leave it and move on. Now he just ignores the scent. Shame too. He was good at that. He still detects meth though.

But I’m getting off track again.

Small dogs tend to work harder at what they do or are trained to do. I think it’s because of the fact that they are small and feel the need to prove themselves. But, like with any breed of dog, not every small dog is cut out for the work of a service dog. All dogs, regardless of size, are individuals just like you or I are. Some people are leaders, some are followers, some are timid, some are easy going. It’s the same with dogs. The perfect candidate for a service dog is a dog that can: make choices in tight situations, remain calm, have been heavily socialized (but not overly friendly. In other words, you want the dog to accept people and allow people to touch them but not be an overly friendly dog), be very devoted to their owner, be house broken and, above all, show NO aggressive tendencies what so ever. If your small dog does not fit as a service dog, do not use the dog as one.

I have heard from customers “Well my dog is small so of course he/she is going to snarl or snap when they feel threatened or someone comes near me. But that is OK, they are still a service dog” Actually no. That is wrong. The ADA states that a service dog must be well behaved in public. If a service dog shows any aggressive tendencies then they can be asked to leave. The only time this can be overlooked is if the dog was provoked. And this does not mean simply reaching out to touch the dog or similar. This means pushing the dog to a breaking point. But that rarely happens as usually a well trained service dog will just try to get away rather that become aggressive if he or she feels threatened.

Size does not matter. Big dogs or little dogs. They are all dogs. They think like dogs and can all be trained the same no matter what the size. A dog’s size is no excuse for making excuses for poor training.


Update from posting of last week…

by Sue on July 27, 2016

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Last week I posted a…for lack of a better term…rant about how some service dog owners depict themselves in public when confronted by people uneducated about Service Dog rules. Honestly, I was expecting some negative feedback from the readers. In fact, and a pleasant surprise to me, the readers actually praised me or agreed with me….except for one foul mouth individual…but…you know the old saying…there is one in every crowd.


We here at Service Dog Tags are not your usual company. We do not advertise “Buy this and take your dog anywhere” We care about the rules and regulations and want to make sure our customers are aware of them so they can present their dog properly. Have we turned away customers we think are questionable?  Yes we have. We will turn away anyone that states to us…in so many words…that they have no disability but just want their dog to go anywhere. Or that they have an ESA and insist that they will be calling it a Service Dog even after we have tried our best to educate them on the differences and what ADA says about ESA’s . We are doing our best to stop people from faking service dogs. The only sad thing about that is the possibility that they will just go to another company that does not care.

We also do not claim to “certify” or “register” any dog as we know that it is not required by law nor recognized by any government agency. While many other websites out there will do that, we refuse to scam the disabled. Think about it…how can an online company “certify” a dog  if they have never seen the dog and watched it perform it’s duties? That is a clear indication that they are only out for your money.

Unfortunately the ADA clearly states that businesses cannot ask for proof that you need your service dog. In other words, they cannot ask for a letter from your Doctor. That puts us in a bind as we are a business. Until that particular section of the ADA is changed, that is an obstacle for us. Yes we can ask the two questions…Is that a service dog?…What does the dog do for you? (or similar). However…and I am sure you feel the same way when you see a fake service dog…allot of people are not honest. This puts us in a bind as well. This means that we have to sell our products on the honor system.

I guess this posting of mine got a little off track but at least you now know what kind of company we are. And if you hear anyone mentioning us as one of those companies that don’t care who they sell to, or allow people to fake a service dog, you can say that is not true and we are really trying to weed the “fakers” out.

I will wrap this up by saying thank you to all who handle themselves well in public and present Service Dog owners as upstanding citizens, not the foul mouthed ones that get posted on YouTube. If any of you ever need advice (not legal advice mind you. I can’t do that…sorry) on how to handle a situation, or need clarification of the ADA laws (which sometimes are about as clear as the Mississippi River) don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sussie and PTSD Service Dog “Gunny” the Dachshund.

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Pets posing as service dogs make life tough for people who really need animals’ help

by Sue on December 11, 2013

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From the time they’re puppies, service dogs are rigorously trained to help those who need them most. They can get into places where no pets are allowed.

The dogs are identified by the vest they wear. But since it’s not illegal to buy these vets, it’s easy for anyone to go online and obtain a vest for their animal.

Susan Lee Vick, director of Canine Companions for Independence, demonstrated how easy it is to obtain one. “There’s a real faux official quality to this, you know?” she said, showing a photo of a tiny dog wearing a service vest. “This is Bambi; Bambi’s new service dog vest!”

She said it never occurred to advocates for the disabled that the vests would be misused.

“There was never any vision of this outcome, this just sort of explosion of the ‘have a vest, wear a vest, go anywhere you want with your pet,’ no one saw that,” Vick said.

Peter Morgan has a spinal disorder that makes it nearly impossible for him to bend. He teaches kids with special needs, with his service dog Echuka constantly at the ready. His disability isn’t very obvious to strangers. Morgan says no one had ever doubted his need for a service dog — until recently.

“The last two years, it’s become very prevalent. The questioning, the looks. It’s been a radical shift,” he said.

And now he sees fake service dogs in places where pets aren’t normally allowed. At a recent dinner out, Morgan said, there was another dog in the restaurant.

“Even to the casual observer you could tell it was not a service dog,” Morgan said. “It had a vest. It was eating off the floor, licking people, lunging at people.”

Then, Morgan said, the dog’s owner pulled him aside.

“And he started saying, ‘It’s really neat that we can bring these dogs in here and get away with it because, you know, my dog’s not a service dog and neither is yours.’ And I just turned to him and I said, ‘You have absolutely no idea what you’re doing,’ ” Morgan said.

There’s a growing call to penalize people who try to pass off their pets as service dogs. But few agree on how it should be enforced.

Advocates for the disabled say the problem may just be ignorance.

“They don’t realize the harm that they are doing,” Vick said of the impostors. “Bringing your pet dog out into a public place harms that person with a disability’s right to live a free and independent life.”

Morgan says he’s been kicked out of restaurants when other dogs act up because people suspect his service dog is a fake.

“The people that are actually doing this should really take a long deep breath and think about how they’re affecting less abled people than themselves,” he said.

That, he said, would provide the most valuable service.



NOTE FROM SUSSIE: How can they enforce it? For the ADA/DOJ to allow companies like ourselves to ask for a Doctor’s note before we sell them a product. Until that happens, our hands are tied.


Ebay Seller Encouraging Fraudulent Service Dogs

by Sue on August 10, 2011

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There are only two things I can add to this.

#1 The seller is making all service dog owners look bad.

#2 Just because they SAY they are in Seattle, does not mean that they are. You can say your from anywhere when you sell on eBay.

Sussie, Gunny (Ret.) and Rainy

P.S. Just for kicks, I did a search for this product on eBay and it has been removed.


Fake Service Dogs – Unethical or Responsible Pet Care? – TheBark

by Spot on November 3, 2009

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I thought my readers would be interested in this article posted at TheBark

Playing service dog to travel first class.

The legitimacy and training of service dogs has come up a lot recently, and many of the cases do not have clear solutions. But what about when someone is consciously taking advantage of the privileges granted to service dogs?

With the USDAA Cynosport World Games coming up in Scottsdale, Ariz., I’ve been talking to many of the local competitors about how they’re traveling with their dogs. Some are caravanning in their RVs and others are reluctantly putting their pups in cargo.

One of the more seasoned competitors mentioned that while she dutifully puts her dogs in cargo, she always sees fellow competitors passing their pups off as service dogs on the plane.

You can read the rest of the post here


Should states license Service Animals??? New Service Animal Laws???

by Spot on August 21, 2009

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A recent article in the Statesman Journal suggest that all service animals should be licensed by the state and properly identified much like handicapped parking tags are issued. Read the article below and then come back here and make your voice heard by posting a comment below.

State should license dogs that assist… – Statesman Journal

Should your service animal have to be licensed??? Comment now


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.


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:


Trained canines help people with autism – Owen Sound Sun Times

by Spot on March 25, 2009

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Trained canines help people with autism Owen Sound Sun Times, Canada 31, 2009 my daughter and her service dog were refused entry to a local store, the reason they gave was that “only guide dogs allowed.” My daughter Nyla Wilde has autism. Along with her sensory system creating havoc on her awareness it also causes great …

Trained canines help people with autism – Owen Sound Sun Times

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Rescue dog is trained to assist disabled owner – Berrows Journal

by Spot on March 24, 2009

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Rescue dog is trained to assist disabled owner Berrows Journal, UK The pair are currently the only UK-based members of Service Dogs America and last week Arrow officially became a fully-qualified assistance dog by gaining his service dog certificate. Chris Slight, Dogs Trust Evesham centre manager, said: “We’re really …

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Rescue dog is trained to assist disabled owner – Berrows Journal


Is a 'Comfort Dog' a Service Dog? – Mariners blog

by Spot on March 21, 2009

Listen to this Post. Powered by Mariners blog Is a ‘Comfort Dog’ a Service Dog ? Mariners blog We, at Delta Society, have been receiving an increase in inquiries from people with psychiatric concerns whose doctors have prescribed they keep a pet with them to calm anxiety or provide needed emotional support. They call when they are denied access …

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Is a ‘Comfort Dog’ a Service Dog? – Mariners blog