From the category archives:

Service Animal

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.

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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.

Anyway.

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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Service dog and owner denied service at 2 local restaurants

by Sue on June 23, 2016

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LAMPASAS, Texas (KWTX) Service animals are used by a variety of people, including those with disabilities. Stacy Dickey is one of those people. She is a combat veteran who suffers from PTSD and a traumatic brain injury.

In May, Stacy Dickey was denied service at a Lampasas restaurant. She says the owner told her he was concerned that allowing her service dog inside would violate health code.

The same thing happened again Saturday at a different restaurant in the city.

“The hostess, before I got into the door asked me for certification for my service dog, and I informed her, same situation, that that is not a legal question, and there is no certification that is governed or legitimate,” Dickey said.

According to Texas law and the Americans with Disabilities Act, a person who is blind or has other disabilities has the right to bring a trained service animal to all public places.

If someone’s disability is not visible, like Dickey’s, employees can only ask the person whether the service animal is required, and what kind of task the animal is trained to perform.

After this weekend’s incident, Lampasas police are handing out informational sheets about service dogs to restaurant owners in the area, “So that they’ll know, that they’ll know that the dogs are allowed to be able to come into the restaurants,” Lampasas Assistant Police Chief Sammy Bailey said.

Bailey said most restaurant owners she has spoken with also thought they were not allowed to have animals inside because they are preparing food.

“I’m don’t want to hurt anyone’s business, I don’t want to cause anybody strife, but the lesson does need to be learned here, because this is a federal civil right,” Dickey said.

The owner of the first did not return a call Monday and the owner of the second was out of town.

In a phone interview he said his restaurant will “never have this problem again,” and the he has apologized for the situation to Dickey.

He says he wasn’t versed on the state law.

Dickey said she plans to file a misdemeanor complaint against the restaurant owner.

 

NOTE FROM SUSSIE: The reason I posted this here is that I think that it is wonderful that that the local authorities got involved in educating the local store owners. An individual can do their best to try and convince a store owner of the rules and regulations. But nothing drives it home more than when the Police come knocking on their door.

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Brusha Brusha Brusha

by Sue on March 30, 2016

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Brushing your dog’s teeth isn’t just about fresh breath. It’s a part of good oral care is important to your dog’s overall health. Although most people aren’t aware of it, gum disease is a common and serious problem in dogs. Yet brushing your dog’s teeth can prevent it.

Veterinarians estimate that 85 percent of dogs over five years of age suffer from gum disease. Gum disease develops when food particles and bacteria collect along the gum line and form soft deposits called plaque. Over time that turns into rock-hard tartar. If tartar isn’t removed from your dog’s teeth, it will eventually inflame the gums. As the inflamed gums begin to separate from the teeth, pockets form. This causes gum disease to worsen. At this point, your dog can experience severe pain, lose teeth, form abscesses in his mouth and develop a bacterial infection. This infection can spread through the bloodstream to the kidneys, liver, heart or brain.

Gum disease is irreversible, so now is a great time to get started on a regular oral care regimen for your dog. Remember…prevention is the key.

It’s ideal to brush your dog’s teeth daily, just like you brush your own. However, if you cannot do that, aim to brush your dog’s teeth at least every other day.

Smaller dogs and dogs with flat or short, broad snouts (like pugs and bulldogs) may need more frequent brushing. Their teeth are often crowded together, which allows more plaque to accumulate and increases their risk of developing gum disease.

Things to keep in mind:

If your dog is losing weight, starts eating slower or refusing to eat for no apparent reason, it is time to have their teeth checked.

If your dog develops bad breath, don’t reach for breath fresheners for your dog until you have their teeth checked. Giving breath fresheners to a dog with bad teeth is like sweeping dirt under a rug.

Brushing your dog’s teeth regularly does not totally eliminate a professional dental done by a qualified Veterinarian. It will however greatly reduce the trips to the Vet for this procedure.

Since I started brushing my dog’s teeth, my Vet is doing a professional cleaning on my dog’s teeth every three years now instead of every year like before.

 

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It’s shedding season again!

by Sue on March 2, 2016

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Despite the common belief, there is no way to completely stop your dog from shedding. Aside from the hairless breeds, all dogs shed to one degree or another, regardless of size, coat length or hair type. The best you can hope to do is control or reduce dog shedding by regular grooming.

Dogs need to get rid of unneeded or damaged hair. Most grow a heavier coat in the winter to help them safe from the elements and then shed that extra fur in the summer to stay cool. Shedding can also result from skin irritation or infections, parasites or a poor diet. There are many ways that you can reduce dog shedding or prevent it from becoming a problem

 

REGULAR BRUSHING!

Regular combing and brushing is essential.  Use an appropriate brush for the dog’s coat type, followed by a finishing comb. Many breeds benefit from daily brushing. It makes the coat softer, cleaner and less prone to heavy shedding. It will also root out fleas and other parasites.

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OIL!

Try adding unscented salmon oil to your dog’s food on a daily basis. It is almost without taste, contains omega-3 fatty acids that help condition the skin and provide a healthy, shiny coat. It also helps control shedding in many breeds.

NUTRITION!

If a dog isn’t receiving the proper nutrition he needs, his skin and coat will suffer. What dogs are fed helps to influence the texture of their dog coat and skin health. Healthy skin has healthy follicles that support long-lived lustrous hair. Unhealthy skin has sickly hair follicles and poor skin oils. The hair is brittle and dull. It breaks off and falls out easily. It’s important that the dog’s food full of nutrients. For a dog coat to be healthy and not to shed, dogs require proteins that are absorbable.

Remember, it’s not possible to completely stop shedding but if you take these steps, you can definitely control and reduce dog shedding.

 

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What are people saying about barkOutfitters Service Dog Vest Harness + 50 FREE ADA Info Cards Kit

by Sue on March 17, 2015

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Great Product, Great Seller

By Kona’s Mom on February 28, 2015

Color Name: RedSize Name: 21″ – 25″ Girth Verified Purchase
I am so impressed with the high quality and durability of this harness. The sizing chart is accurate and fit my dog perfectly. I used this harness on a transcontinental flight. The adjustable harness is very comfortable on my dog. Designed with your dog’s comfort in mind with strong velcro adjustable straps and wide clip attachment. Very satisfied with this excellent product! Quick shipping – I received this item within 2 days of my order! Great transaction & quick response to my question from an American, family run, small business!!! A+

http://www.amazon.com/review/R30NRVW5EKOCE1/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B00T9S8DJ4&nodeID=2619533011&store=pet-supplies

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Flight attendant forced to apologize to veteran with service dog

by Sue on January 2, 2015

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Sent to me by one of our customers. Thanks!

It was yet another case of someone not understanding what a service dog looks like. This time it happened to Eric Calley, a former Marine who served in Iraq, when he was traveling with his service dog, Sun, a Doberman Pincher. The pair were on a U.S. Airways flight from Florida to Detroit.

According to the Lansing State Journal, one of the flight attendants yelled at Calley because Sun had put her front paws on an empty seat next to him during some turbulence. Calley suffers from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Witnesses on the flight noted that the attendant was so rude to Calley that a number of other passengers came to his defense.

Calley, who served two tours of duty in Iraq and now spends his time working as an advocate for veterans with PTSD, has Sun by his side all of the time. She monitors his heart rate, his breathing, and the tension in his muscles. If Sun notices a change, she immediately nuzzles Calley with her nose to calm him. She also jumps in his lap to put warm pressure on his chest.

The problem with PTSD is that people who have it look totally normal. They don’t have a cane, which is associated with someone who is blind, or a wheelchair, which shows a definite disability. Add that to the fact that Sun is a Doberman, not a typical looking service dog.

It used to be that service dogs were either Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, or Labrador Retrievers. Today, a variety of breeds can work as service dogs. Many service dogs are rescues from animal shelters.

A few weeks after the flight, Calley received an apology in the form of a letter from U.S. Airways. The letter says, “It appears our airport personnel didn’t handle the situation with the quality customer care we expect.”

Calley called the apology “insufficient” because he was mistreated by other airline personnel. He is speaking out about this to raise awareness on behalf of veterans and those with service animals. He tells Louise Knott Ahern at the Lansing State Journal, “We are going to continue to have this huge influx of new veterans coming back. And it can take a veteran four to five years after getting out to even attempt to get help. The thing I want U.S. Airways to understand is that this is going to be a growing problem.”

Calley is promoting Liberty’s Legacy — a program helping veterans from Michigan to get service dogs. His goal for the New Year is to bring “as many dogs as possible” to Michigan veterans.

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Something that could have an impact on Service Dogs

by Sue on October 30, 2014

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While checking our sales on eBay today I noticed some ads at the bottom that presented other products from other sellers. What disturbed me is that some of these sellers were selling ID’s that are wrong. I am speaking of the ones for sale that say “Emotional Support Service Dog. Full Access Required”.

This is very very very wrong!

There is no such thing as an Emotional Support Service Dog. There are Emotional Support Animals and there are Service Dogs.

In the ADA rulings it clearly states…
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Effective March 15, 2011, “Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the individual´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal´s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”

Key changes include the following:
1. Only dogs will be recognized as service animals.
2. Service animals are required to be leashed or harnessed except when performing work or tasks where such tethering would interfere with the dog’s ability to perform.
3. Service animals are exempt from breed bans as well as size and weight limitations.
4. Though not considered service animals, businesses are generally required to accommodate the use of miniature horses under specific conditions.

Until the effective date, existing service animals of all species will continue to be covered under the ADA regulations.

Existing policies that were clarified or formalized include the following:
1. Dogs whose sole function is “the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship” are not considered service dogs under the ADA.
2. The use of service dogs for psychiatric and neurological disabilities is explicitly protected under the ADA.
3. “The crime deterrent effects of an animal’s presence” do not qualify that animal as a service animal and “an animal individually trained to provide aggressive protection, such as an attack dog, is not appropriately considered a service animal.”
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Take note of the section about Emotional Support Animals.

Emotional Support Animals are only recognized by the Fair Housing Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. They do NOT have full access to any other places

There are a couple things that upset me about other sellers selling these “Emotional Support Service Dog. Full Access Required” tags.

#1 They are selling items that are misleading and allow people to break the law by taking their ESA into places posted Service Animals only. And because these tags look so official, the public will accept the ID and allow the ESA in.

#2 Because the law states that an ESA does NOT have to have any training, these ESA’s could have a great impact on how the public views Service Dogs in the event that an ESA bites someone or causes any other number of problems.

I have personally approached some of these sellers to try and advise them of the rules. Only one actually stopped selling the “Emotional Support Service Dog” tags. The rest simply did not care and were only interested in the money they were making off the tags.

To me, that is nothing but taking advantage of the misinformed and scamming the public.

Sussie and Service Dog “Gunny”

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Summer months

by Sue on May 12, 2014

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In the summer months when it is warm do you…

Spend less time outside with your service dog?

Spend more time outside with your service dog?

About the same amount of time outside with your service dog?

If you spend more time outside or about the same amount of time outside, how do you keep your dog cool?

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How do you handle encounters?

by Sue on May 7, 2014

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It seems that society has put a stereotype on Service Dogs. The public seems to think that if it is not a large dog (Lab, Shepherd, Doodle, etc) it is not a service dog. I have a 16 pound dog that has been my service dog for 7 years. He does his job well and takes it very seriously. While we do not have much of a problem with acceptance here locally, I still, on rare occasions, encounter problems with acceptance of him just due to his size.

I approach the situation with a positive, friendly attitude. Which usually defrays any front put up by a store manage or owner. Though there have been a few times I have had to get firm and stand my ground.

Do you have a service dog that is small or an unusual breed? Have you encountered problems simply based on the dog’s breed alone? How do you handle it?

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