Public access "rights" - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Public access "rights"

I am familiar with the fact that anyone in most states that I'm aware of (nationwide?) can train their own dog, and identify it as a service dog if there is some kind of medical need. I understand the rights of the person to not have to reveal their medical problem, etc and that they can only be asked if the dog is a service dog and perhaps (?) what tasks the dog is trained to perform as an assistance to the person.

HOWEVER, a local (reputable) organization here has multiple criteria they will place a dog under, including those that are placed as service dogs for in home use and those that are placed as service dogs with public rights access.

It is my understanding that those that are placed for "in home use" could legally be utilized in public as well. I am assuming, but do not know, that perhaps their criteria is that the dog does XYZ task(s) well while in comfortable surroundings but is perhaps not comfortable in public places. All of the dogs are trained in the same manner, but some end up not being eligible for what the group considers public access, so the dog is not granted - by the group - public access "rights." (I'm using their term in "public access rights").

Essentially, my question is this - is the group simply covering themselves in some fashion should the dog misbehave in some manner in public and the person tries to lay it back on the organization, or is this common in service dog training organizations to assign some dogs public rights access and others no public rights access? My experience in working with these organizations is that all the dogs are trained as full service dogs intended for use at home, work, in the general public, etc. So the dog either makes it through all training or is "career changed" and adopted out as a pet.

Last edited by Rerun; 04-23-2010 at 08:32 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 09:58 PM
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Which organization are you referring to? The only one I know of in Indy is ICAN.

I believe its fairly common among SD organizations, as not all dogs are suited for service work. It probably also depends on where the dogs are coming from, organizations with their own breeding programs probably have higher "graduation" numbers than those using rescue dogs. In my experience dogs placed to perform service tasks in the home but not in public are referred to as companion dogs as opposed to service dogs. Many disabled only need the assistance around the home, such as difficulty performing chores but don't need the dogs assistance in public.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 10:28 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, this is ICAN, and they are referring to them as service dogs with and without public access rights. I am familiar with companion dogs, and believe they also will label and place some as "skilled companion dogs," so I'm not sure where the difference is between the skilled companion dogs and the service dogs without public access rights.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 10:33 PM Thread Starter
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I guess to clarify the question - what is to keep a person who obtains a skilled companion dog (they may be using these terms interchangably, perhaps that is where my confusion is) that helps them in everyday tasks from taking their dog, legally, into public? As there are no requirements for certifications, etc to utilize ones dog as a service dog, can the person legally use the dog in public if the dog is in fact capable of assisting them in public and not just in the home, and this can be justified should the legal need ever occur.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-23-2010, 10:47 PM
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Well all that stops them is the individual person; which is unfortunate in a way but allows the maximum access for the person with the disability. So its the individuals responsibility that if their dog is not public access trained and reliable they should not take them into public. If the dog IS reliable in public, then it would never even come up whether or not the dog was certified for public access by the training organization... There are many opportunities for abuse in the way the system is set up but again thats to allow the maximum protection for valid SD teams. Someone taking the "skilled companion dog" into public really isn't any different than someone who let their service dog lapse into bad public behavior but is still taking them into public. Or the non disabled handler that takes a pet into a store under the guise of a service dog. (and by skilled companion dog in this instance I mean a dog that for some reason was not approved for public access)
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 12:43 AM
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In general and accepted by most organizations ...

Skilled Companion Dog: A dog who has had health and temperament testing, basic obedience, may have learned one or more tasks, but is dropped from an Assistance Dog program. The reason may be that the dog is not able to concentrate under a lot of distraction, may not be able to meet all of the criteria to work in public, or perhaps has developed some minor health issue.

Skilled Companion Dogs are often given to children who have a medical disability but perhaps not a legal disability or are too young or otherwise incapable to steward a SD in public.

A Skilled Companion Dog may also be used by an adult who has some type of physical condition (not a legal disability) such as not able to bend over to pick up dropped items without a lot of discomfort, difficulty in getting up from a chair, etc. The dog is trained to assist around the home. They may pick up those dropped items, retrieve a phone or TV remote, assist the person to stand up from a seated position, retrieve a walker out of reach of the owner, or other in-house work. They are a canine companion who can help with "chores". The owner is not disabled per the ADA/DOJ and so is paired with a dog that is obedient but possibly not of suitable temperament to work in the public.

Legally the dog is considered a pet and only allowed in places where other pets are welcomed.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 01:22 AM
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An In-Home Service Dog is used by a person with a legal disability under the ADA/DOJ. Because they are a true SD there are certain benefits that are not available to a Skilled Companion Dog being handled by a non-disabled owner. One such benefit would be in housing accommodations.

These are again dogs that meet most criteria to be a SD but for some reason are not suitable to work while in the public. This does not mean they can not be taken out into the public as a pet but their working skills ability while in public do not meet the standards that all SDs should have.

One thing that might have kept them from working in the public is they want to meet and greet instead of concentrating on the job at hand or they may not be able to concentrate on their tasks under distractions.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
Pyro vom Wildhaus aka Kaleb ~S.T.A.R.~
Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 04-24-2010 at 01:33 AM.
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