Certification? Boy, I'm Confused!! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-05-2010, 09:11 PM Thread Starter
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Question Certification? Boy, I'm Confused!!

Ok so, I am trying to read up on everything before the pup comes home in November.... including what she will need to be considered a Service Dog In Training.

As far as I've read she will need to know basic commands, be potty trained, etc (she will be going through the CGC when she is able to as well).

What I am confused on is when reading the ADA site it defines a Service Animal as ANY animal that has been trained to help a disabled person do tasks that they otherwise can't do (ie. opening a door, or picking something up). (I may have mixed up some of the words but I think that's the gist).

Now my confusion comes from sites like this:
Public Access Test - Assistance Dogs International

Will my dog need to take a test to have Public Access Rights? Or... will she have that because a. she will be with me b. she will be performing tasks I have a very hard time doing on my own?

I guess I'm just confused as to what she needs to be considered my service dog or my SDIT?!

I want to understand so that I can avoid issues down the line and also so that if she needs special tests that could potentially cost more I can save extra. I already have a little savings account going for all the training she and I will require along with vet bills etc.

Any help shedding light on this is greatly appreciated,
Thanks!!

-Jess
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2010, 01:18 PM
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I think the confusion is between the definition of a Service Dog and an SDIT.

A Service Dog is what is defined under the ADA. In order for your dog to be considered a Service Dog, you must have a disability that requires special adaptive equipment (your dog) to do normal everyday things that everyone else can do without such equipment. Your dog will have to be trained specific tasks that can be done on command and that specifically help you with your disability.

A Service Dog can be trained at home and is not required to take any Public Access tests or other tests to be considered a Service Dog. Certification is not required in the United States as long as you and your dog meet the requirements for your dog to be considered a Service Dog.

Service Dogs in Training are not covered under the ADA but may be covered under your State's laws, so you will need to see what the laws are in regards to public access for Service Dogs in Training in your area. In some states, your SDIT can accompany you in public just like your Service Dog would be able to, but in some states, SDITs do not have the same public access and would be limited in where you can take her. So that's definitely something to look into.

As an added note, while certification is not required, it's not a bad idea to take the public access test or other testing offered if you can find it / it is available, so if you are ever called into question, you could prove in front of a court that your dog has had training (keeping training logs is also recommended) and that you and your dog have passed testing, such as the public access test, to document such training.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2010, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you...

Her training is going to go something like this...
We will start a few basic commands in a few weeks when we visit her at the breeders.
The breeder is doggy door training all the pups prior to them coming home.
We will have a feeding/potty break schedule as well which ill begin the afternoon she comes home.
She will start puppy classes in December.
She will do intermediate obedience after puppy classes.
She will do advanced obedience after intermediate.
I want her to get her CGC when trained appropriately.
We have been pre-screened (Assuming she passes their assessment) for private and group training which she can begin at age 12 months (special training for her and I to teach us both how to help her become a great service dog).
She will be properly socialized from the time she comes home,

I will look in to a public access test. And look around for information on the laws in Arizona. If anyone has any links I'd appreciate them.

Thanks for the info!

-jess
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-06-2010, 02:18 PM
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Not a problem.

I highly recommend that you keep a training log that shows what you work on, for how long, etc. If you receive any certificates for passing specific levels of classes and/or testing, that should go in with the rest of your training log, in case you will ever need it to prove your dog is trained to do the things you say she is. (For example, if you were to need to go to court.)

As far as the law goes in Arizona, you can find it online here -
Arizona Consolidated Dog Laws

It is paragraph 11-10402 and it does extend public access rights to SDITs if they are with their disabled handler or a trainer, see below.

Quote:
E. Any trainer or individual with a disability may take an animal being trained as a service animal to a public place for purposes of training it to the same extent as provided in subsections A, B and C of this section.

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 03:43 PM
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Most people I know of who train their own service dogs do not take the dog into public until later in their training. They do all the basics first, and they take the dog into pet friendly places and things like that but they don't take the dog out as a SDIT into places that do not allow pet dogs until the dog is on the advanced levels of training.

There are some Yahoo Groups and forums about training service dogs that might be helpful to you, you can find them through a web search or Yahoo search.


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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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She will be going through a 18 month SDIT program that requires her to go out in to public.... that is one of the first things the trainer told me. She will know all her basics plus some by that point but I cant see not taking her places while she is in training (such as out to tea/coffee, etc) places I normally go... I think it would be confusing at 1 or 2 years old to just throw her in to public places that aren't necessarily "pet friendly" but maybe that's just me.

Thanks for the advice. I am by no means training her alone though - I couldn't imagine how stressful that could or would be. I am going through the training with her so that I learn as she does vs buying a pre trained dog which I looked in to as well


-Jess
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 07:18 PM
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Here are some examples of what I meant about taking them out in public:



Quote:
Mastering Basic Obedience First:
Please don’t rush your dog into public access training. Before embarking on this advanced phase of your dog’s training make sure that it has fully mastered the behaviors of basic obedience, such as ‘sit, down, stay, come, wait, go, back’, etcetera. Hopefully, you will have trained your dog to respond to verbal commands and hand signals, as the latter are helpful when one needs to direct a dog in a public setting where silence prevails, such as libraries, movie theaters, and during others’ verbal or artistic presentations.
(From Psychiatric Service Dog Society )

Your first trips out in public as a Service Dog team are important events. Exposing your Service Dog In Training (SDIT) to the public prematurely can have several negative effects: It can set back your training, if the dog was not ready and has a negative experience; it can get you thrown out of a public facility where gatekeeprs may remember you when you try to come back later with a better-trained dog; it can give the public the idea that service dogs are poorly behaved animals, and might cause some of them to complain to their Congressperson about why there are not more "rules" governing service dog public access; and last but not least, it can harm the reputation of service dogs, in general, which may have a negative effect on other Service Dog teams who follow behind you."

(From Psychiatric Service Dog Society )
Other examples:
JLS Dalmatian Guide Dogs ~ Jinx & Ebony
Hello - Service & Therapy Dogs Forum

Most of the people I know don't take their service dog in training into public places where pet dogs are not allowed until late in the dog's training. They don't just throw the dog into those situations. They start with pets allowed places, then when the dog's training is more advanced only then do they slowly start taking the dog to places where pets are not allowed, first with quiet and less crowded locations and then gradually get them used to louder, more crowded or more unusual locations.


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Oh!
Yes I totally get it... and completley agree. I wouldn't dream of taking an untrained puppy out in public... without basic commands I can't even see taking her to pet accepted places... it makes it uncomfortable and just no fun for anyone involved.

Thanks for clarifying


-Jess
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-10-2010, 09:42 PM
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An easy way of looking at it is in training stages.

Service Dog Candidate -- dog has been evaluated at age appropriate benchmarks. Health testing past normal pet evaluations begins with extra testing per breed and final use. Dog learns house manners and basic obedience. The dog has either had or would be able to pass CGC and temperament testing before going to next level.

Service Dog In Training -- Dog should be at a more advanced obedience level and have very good manners going to "pet-friendly" activities. If your state allows you can begin taking the dog to stores etc. while training. It is not training if you are going shopping and decide to take the dog along for the experience. Training is going to places with a goal in mind of what you are going to work on. The dog has your attention so any inappropriate behavior can be stopped at once. You can not do this while your mind is on your shopping list.

Eating out. Training begins at home. When dog can stay in postion where directed and you can drop food in front of him then you can advance. Have pieces of tasty tidbits on floor and direct dog to lay next to it. Dog must ignore food already there and any additional food being dropped around it. When you feel the dog is solid on this then you can start with places with outside tables. If dog doesn't behave in a suitable manner then you leave and go back to training and proofing at home.

First time in an inside eating establishment - zip in for a drink or light snack. Don't go for a large meal. The idea is to make sure the dog is positioned under the table properly and is ignoring other people and of course not paying any attention to any food on the floor or on people's plates. If the dog acts up in any manner while going through a store you need to leave. You have not worked with your dog enough and need to take care of the problem before going out again.

If your dog can not lay quietly under a table then it is not ready to go into a place serving food. If it can not walk through a store in a proper manner then it needs more training.

Dog should have reliable obedience off-leash under distractions. You of course will not take the leash off of your dog while in public but if you ever drop the leash then the dog must still obey.

The dog at this point should be able to pass a public access test with no problem.

Service Dog -- The dog has been trained one or more tasks needed by the handler. The handler is now covered under Federal law and may take the dog into MOST places with them. Training new items should continue. Reviewing old training must be an on-going activity. A Service Dog must always act and look like a professional.


As to any type of "animals" this is quickly coming to a close. In 2011 only dogs will be considered service animals and all ponies, min. horses, etc. etc. will no longer be allowed into places where any other pet is not allowed.

Exceptions will be in certain housing situations and in-cabin flights where animals other than dogs may still be accepted as an Emotional Support Animal. I really expect that this may also begin to change.

TJ aka Theresa A. Jennings
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Family Companion, Non-Profit Mascot, In-Home Service Dog


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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-10-2010, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advice.
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