From the category archives:

Service Dog Certification

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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Service Dog Magazine

by Sue on May 21, 2011

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I have a friend that runs a publishing company. She is always trying to come up with new ideas for a new magazine.

Which leads me to ask the readers.

If a magazine geared towards Service Dogs and ESA’s and their owners, would you subscribe to it? Would you submit stories to it? If you were a trainer or sold Service Dog goods, would you advertize in it?

Sussie and Gunny


A word from your Service Dog Blog Moderator

by Sue on May 11, 2011

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Yesterday I received yet another call from someone distraught. It was over the fact that they had sent money in to a Service Dog registry and received nothing in return. I really feel sorry for people that get “roped” into that situation. I am also angered by the so called “registries” that dupe people of their money like that.

ADA does not require a Service Dog to be registered. ADA does not require that a dog be trained by a professional. ADA’s only requirement is that the dog is well behaved in public, be identified in some way (either by vest or tags) that it is a Service Dog, and be on a leash unless the service that the animal performs requires it to be off leash.

Other things to keep in mind.

ADA rules override all state and local laws (In other words, if a city passed a rule stating that no animals were allowed in a certain area. ADA laws override that for service dogs). Business owners cannot post a sign stating “Guide Dogs Only”. Though it is not illegal for them to have the sign, they must allow ALL Service Dogs entry into their establishment.

Places open to the public (were anyone can just walk in or pay an entrance fee and walk in) cannot ask you what the Service Dog is for. However they can ask if it’s a Service Dog. Private places that are not open to the public or require a membership to enter, can ask you what duties the dog performs for you, but cannot stop you from entering. (The only exception to the rule is Costco, as they were giving special permission by the Courts as to whether they will allow you to enter their store with your Service Dog no matter what type of Service Dog it is, this was stated to me by a Costco rep. This is happened due to the case of Susan Grill vs. Costco in 2004).

Sussie and Gunny


Cream – Dog seizure alert

by Spot on October 15, 2010

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Cream – Seizure Alert Dog

Cream is a seizure alert dog – incredible dog can alert its owner to a looming crisis, several minutes before convulsion.También destroys tennis balls.


Are you a Service Animal Elitist?

by Spot on September 18, 2009

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This blog was created to share news and information about service animals. I’ve seen a trend in comments here and on other sites which I find disturbing, service animal elitism.  I find it quite strange that the people that all have service animals in common seem to segment themselves and dismiss or belittle those whose situations are different than their own. Where I see this most is those who’s animals have been “professionally” trained and those who’s service animals are not.

The ADA makes it quite clear that owners may train their own service animals and have the full protection of the law as long as the owner meets the definition of a service animal and the animal has been trained to preform a task that is directly related to that disability.

I often see smugness in comments here and on other service animal sites that the people that have gone through formalized training feel they and their animals are somehow superior to those that have not. I also see this attitude from people that also think that dogs are the only beast worthy of the service animal status. As the law currently reads a disabled person with a trained pig has just as much right as a person with a trained dog. Unless you know firsthand that the animal does not preform useful tasks for their owner then why would you assume that they can not do everything your dog can do?

I also see this divide between people who’s animals assist with physical disabilities as opposed to mental disabilities. Just because you can’t see the disability does not mean that one doesn’t exist and again the law is quite clear in this regard. I think the old saying that until you have walked a mile in another man’s shoes then you should not judge is something we should all keep in mind. Be thoughtful and courteous of others situations that are different than your own when you offer advice here or elsewhere. :lol:


Judge rules on service dog in school

by Spot on August 20, 2009

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Here’s a follow-up to the original article we posted earlier here Service Dog in School.

WATERLOO — An Illinois school district will have to at least temporarily allow a service dog into one of its special education classrooms, but not in time for his partner’s first day of school.

Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Doyle granted a preliminary injunction against the Columbia Community School District, which told the parents of a 5-year-old autistic boy in June that he would not be allowed to bring his new service dog to school.

The judge set another hearing for Monday for both sides to discuss ways the district can safely accommodate the dog, a bouvier named Corbin, as well as other children in Carter Kalbfleisch’s pre-kindergarten special education class. Carter, who got the dog last month, is scheduled to begin school Monday, but Doyle said it would be unfair for the district to take on the dog by Monday without further discussion between both parties. He set no deadline for the dog to enter the classroom.

Read the original:
Judge rules on service dog – St. Louis Post-Dispatch


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:


Service Dogs: Serve Many People’s Needs

by Spot on August 18, 2008

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Service Dogs: Serve Many People’s Needs
Contact: Adam Cothes, Publicist, WinePress Publishing Group, 360-802-9758,

ENUMCLAW, Wash., Aug. 15 /Christian Newswire/ — At one time the term “guide dog” brought to mind a picture of a larger-breed dog walking alongside a blind man or woman as he or she maneuvered through crowded streets, crossed intersections and took public transportation. Today, no longer limited to the blind and visually impaired community, these faithful companions are known as “service dogs.” Dogs of all sizes and breeds alert the deaf to phone calls, doorbells and emergencies, calm the mentally ill and offer comfort to seizure sufferers. Others, called “therapy dogs” visit sick children and adults in facilities where the furry assistants are welcomed and greeted with hugs.

When Linda Smith developed MS she and her husband Don decided to adopt a puppy to raise as a service dog. From an eager, yipping group of puppies they chose a clumsy, quiet Golden Retriever with a soft funny-sounding bark and christened him Tucson. Tucson learned to assist Linda in standing, fetching laundry and barking when she needed help. Soon, however, with the help of a new medication, Linda’s health began to improve. With less need for a service dog, Linda and Don began serving disabled children and kids with learning disabilities with the help of Tucson. “Tucson the Terrific,” as he became known, is now a certified therapy dog and a READ (Reading Education Assistant Dog).

The joy that Tucson has brought to Linda and the children that he serves inspired her and Don to write their first children’s book, “Tucson the Terrific”.

“Tucson invites the children to follow him on a real life adventure,” Linda says.

The story tracks Tucson’s fear that he might not ever be adopted because he is different, his sadness as Linda no longer needs all his help and the joy of finding a new exciting purpose helping children with special needs. Don and Linda hope that the book will inspire young readers to feel good about themselves. “God has a purpose for everyone no matter how dark the circumstances seem to be.”

“Writing this children’s book has been a labor of love,” Don Smith says. “We have shared much laughter and a few tears. We hope our book brings joy to many children and their parents.”

To order, visit or call 877-421-7323. For a review copy or to schedule an interview please contact Adam Cothes at 360-802-9758 or