Service Dogs and the Law
Have you ever been out shopping or walking through an airport and spotted a service dog?
Are you thinking about getting a service dog but you’re scared if you take him into public places someone will kick you out?
Have you ever seen a dog in public and wondered if it’s a “real” service dog?
As a service dog trainer, I answer all of these questions and more almost every day! There is a lot of confusion about the public access laws pertaining to service dogs, so hopefully this will help clear some things up!
Where's the Service Dog Store?
Service dogs can be lifesaving companions; the bond between a service dog and handler is awe-inspiring! But that bond doesn’t come without a lot of hard work and dedication, so be sure to plan ahead before you get a service dog!
There are two main avenues to get a service dog:
1. Professional Service Dog training organizations;
2. Owner-training your own puppy or adult dog from a breeder, shelter, or rescue group.
Each of these avenues have their pros and cons, so let’s take a look at them!
I Want a Service Dog! Don't I?
At least once a week there is a story in the news or on social media about service dogs.
But even with all this attention, you still may find yourself with questions about service dogs.
The first bit of confusion comes from the seemingly simple question:
What exactly is a service dog?
I'm so excited to take the time to talk about one of my very favorite dog sports, Rally Obedience! One of the fastest-growing competitive dog sports today, Rally combines dog obedience with an obstacle course, and is loved by dogs of all ages, breeds, and levels of training experience, and their handlers.
In a Rally competition, a judge will set up a unique course in a large training ring with around 15 signs. Each sign will show a task, and your goal as a handler/dog team is to heel through the course and follow the instructions on each of the signs as you pass them. Many signs will simply tell you which way to heel: “Fast Pace,” “Slow Pace,” “Left Turn,” “U-turn,” etc. Other signs will require you to stop and do an obedience behavior: stop and have your dog sit, cue your dog to lay down and stay while you walk all the way around him, etc.
If you’ve ever had a dog in your house, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about Pee and Poo.
Maybe you’ve spent a lot of time looking at it, smelling it, and cleaning it up too.
Potty training is the #1 reason people contact dog trainers. If you’ve had a dog pee or poo in your house, then you know that lack of potty training is the #1 reason why the relationship with your dog may become damaged, and a big reason why dogs end up in shelters!
But don't worry, keep reading and you'll learn all the ins and outs of potty training!
Until my first job as a dog trainer, I had never even talked to a dog trainer, much less hired one. Most pet owners nowadays have plenty of access to dog training shows on TV or books to read about dog training, but often it is very challenging to figure out what to do with your own dog’s training. This is why professional dog trainers are here to help! But what is it actually like to hire a dog trainer? How do you know what to expect from private lessons or a dog training class?
“It’s just a phase.”
“He’ll grow out of it.”
“That’ll stop once she gets to know you.”
“That’s just a puppy thing.”
These are all statements I hear over and over as a dog trainer, especially when talking with clients who have new dogs and puppies....
Christmas time is full of memories, and one of my happiest memories was when I was eleven years old and I got a hamster for Christmas....
Elizabeth Morgan, trainer and owner of Alabama Dog Academy, and proud trainer of Harper, the Canine Advocate at the Limestone Child Advocacy Center.