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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So Jordan started Service Dog Training 2 weeks ago now that we both know all the basic obedience. We are working with a group of folks in AZ that are personally training their service dogs. We do have a trainer who has trained 2 of her own service dogs and has helped many others train their own.

My question is ...and I really am looking for facts and opinions on this, and how yall would feel or understand it...

The way things are worded is we are basically told we are required to have a public access test. Everyone but me thinks that. I know that in the state of AZ (thanks to help on this site and lots of research) a SDiT can go in to public for training....making training much easier on my part and Jordan able to adapt to situations easier and more on our schedule.

Anyway, we (I) am being told we have to get our PAT (Public Access Test) and our CGC (Canine Good Citizen) and clock something like 1500 hours before being considered a full SD.

Now I am not objected to these things, im objected to being told that I have to have them... and not having a website or law to refer to that tells me so. I just like to triple check things since it seems that people get confused quite easily with terms and such in the SD community.

Jordan is going to get her CGC id all goes well by March 2011 (she starts CGC training [specifically] in January). We are working currently on tasks at home, and will be working on those tasks in public come next week (right now she is shutting lower cabinets and doors for me since bending makes me very dizzy and off balance). We are also keeping an extensive training log (how long we trained, type of training, where she went, etc).

Also I just want to verify once more that a vest is NOT required for public access correct?

:sigh:

Thanks. Again. As always!
 

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I think this link from the ADA will answer your questions Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business

I am fostering a service dog, GSD, and under the Ohio law SDIT are also allowed public access. This is our 2nd foster service dog and I do notice the difference between this one and the other one. The other one that I fostered was very good with the public social scene and had high endurance while the one I have now is more sensitive and we do short public access visits to increase her confidence and focus in the setting. Both of these dogs were around 6 months old when I got them and then they go back at around 12 months.

Every trainer and service center will have different requirements for their facility but under the ADA it is not required. T

They are wanting to ensure that your dog is brought into in a positive way and not overwhelmed. Doing too much too fast can cause negative effects on the animal so you have to be very careful and I believe the requirements that they have are protecting you and the increased success of your dog.

If they are to back you up as their trainers and facility they want to ensure that your dog is ready and the only way they can do that is by testing your dog and both these tests are excellent measures to see if your dog can full operate and handle the everyday stress of full public access service dog. Example: If you are asked to leave a facility and you decide to take it to a manager or to a court of law this facility can prove that this is what they did with you and that your dog is equip to handle being a public access dog.

In my own opinion, training a service dog is very intense on the more advanced level and these dogs need to learn to work under all distractions as much as possible if I had someone guiding me and telling me what I needed to do to ensure my dog is equip to handle the pressures of a service dog I certainly would listen to them.
 

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Do you legally need the things they mentioned? No. Do I recommend them? Very very much so, so you have proof that you went through it all.

You are also not legally required to have your dog wear a vest.
 

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Also I just want to verify once more that a vest is NOT required for public access correct?
I don't know what Arizona's law is on this - you should look into your state law. While there is no requirement for dogs to be vested or identified in any way, some states' laws include information on how Service Dogs are supposed to be identified in that State.

I looked it up for Virginia a while back - Virginia Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws - and Virginia's Law requires that a guide dog wears a harness, a hearing dog wears an orange leash and collar, and any other type of service dog wears a harness, vest, or backpack identifying the dog.

You may want to see what Arizona says about identifying the type of dog you are using. I think a vest is a good idea, especially with an SDIT, to let people know the cute puppy you are bringing with you is in training to become a Service Dog, not just someone's pet.
 

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You may want to see what Arizona says about identifying the type of dog you are using. I think a vest is a good idea, especially with an SDIT, to let people know the cute puppy you are bringing with you is in training to become a Service Dog, not just someone's pet.
In Arizona, the dogs are not required to wear a vest or any type of special collar/harness.

Though I recommend it. Working in a restaurant, we have one person who comes in with their un-identified service dog, the next week everyone tries to bring in their dog too.
 

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I agree having fostering our 2nd SDIT it cuts down on anyone asking you to leave. I have been doing this now for almost a year and only 1 place asked me to leave and when I explained he was a SDIT they said OK. The vest also cuts down on people asking to pet your dog especially children who will run up to dogs (they shouldn't I know) but even with the vest they have done it. It lets people know your dog is working and should not be distracted SDIT or SD. I also think it helps put the dog into the mode they know it is serous time vs play time. I take the vest off when she is not working and she knows it gives her the cue to be successful.

It is truly not about people telling you what to do but giving good advice so you can be successful with your dog and have positive experiences.
 

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The vest also cuts down on people asking to pet your dog especially children who will run up to dogs
Man, I've noticed the opposite. Maybe it's where I am.

I do agree about the dog being put into "working mode"
 

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I should reword that it cuts down on just people petting your dog instead they will ask (we hope) but I have to tell you I have less people asking to pet the GSD vs the lab that I had. They thought the lab was always available for petting.
 

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Man, I've noticed the opposite. Maybe it's where I am.
I think it depends on the people on any given day. I've noticed when I had bandanas (I used to have a large assortment of holiday bandanas) or backpacks on my dogs, I would get more people asking if they were Service Dogs or if they were working, as opposed to if they were not wearing anything. But some people will pet regardless. Your dog could wear an orange vest with reflective stripes and inch high letters saying Service Dog and people would still sneak a pet.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you so much for the advice!

I want her and I to succeed and I definitley know she and I can pass all the testing with proper training... we work well together and she learns quickly!

She loves to go to work, and has a different demeanor with her vest on vs off. We havent had any issues with public access outside of being asked once if she was a SD. I said yes. The end of confrontation.

I am happy to have her properly tested and screened and evaluated just because it protects both her and I from any legal repremands in the future, especially as we document everything.

Thank you for clearing it up for me and letting me know that it isnt legally required but reccomended. As I said above I want us to succeed and we will go to any lengths to make sure she does.

She does great in public and we are carefull not to overwhelm her. She gets lots and lots of off work, out of vest play time and has 2 special toys (no squeaks, no fetch, non tug) that she gets if she begins to get rambunctious (we sometimes sit outside the mall and people watch, or at the park in vest).

She loves training and working and catches on to what I am asking of her quickly. She is also excellent of ignoring everyone around her! :)

Thanks again for all the opinions and advice!!
 

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I have just glanced quickly through this thread.

After clarifying that a state does recognize SDITs, the trainer still needs to look further.

What type of SDITs are recognized? Some states are guide only, some are guide and hearing with some types of physical disabilities of the handler only, or some other combination. Some states recognize Psychiatric SDITs while some do not.

Then what are the requirements of the handler? Can it be an owner-trainer or does it have to be a trainer from a state approved facility or organination.

Remember the ADA does not address SDITs so if working a SDIT in public the trainer will need to make sure they and the dog are covered under their state law.
 

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Per Arizona law:

"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 ... "

Please note this says *purposes of training*. This does not mean taking the dog everywhere you go so it can experience being out and about in public. This means active training which is then documented in your training logs. There is a purpose to take the dog into this specific place to accomplish a certain goal. This means while in a store not doing your list of shopping but going through a store with your full attention on your dog. It is to make sure the dog is not trying to get attention from other customers, that the dog is walking properly in a desired placement to you, that the dog is strictly doing what he should be. You may take a cart and buy a single item or two to insure the dog knows how to walk near the cart, how to stand in the check-out line, how to behave himself from entering the store to the leaving the store. Again this trip is to benefit the dog's training and not to do your shopping and might as well take him along for the exercise.

When going out in public it is critical that the dog has learned his proper behavior before entereing the store. It is not the place to proof the dog from sniffing food while in a grocery store, it is not the place to proof the dog from table surfing or eating pieces of food from the floor while in a restaurant. All of these must be taught and proofed before going to "public access" work.

Even though the dog is going into public as a SDIT he and the handler should still give a professional appearance. This public access work for a SDIT is a priviledge that not all states give. If your state allows such don't do anything to put that priviledge in jeopardy within your community. Remember this is something that can be revoked.

Also please remember, SDs do not have to be dressed in a certain manner but SDIT trainers who want to benefit from their state law must also follow the requirements of their state. If your state requires a vest then while a SDIT your dog must wear a vest.
 

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Jordan is going to get her CGC id all goes well by March 2011 (she starts CGC training [specifically] in January).
Personally and in my opinion a dog is not a SDIT until it has the ability to pass the most basic of requirements - the CGC included. The CGC is an evaluation on a pet level and not very advanced as far as a working dog goes. (Based on my years of being a CGC evaluator and SD advocate.) I would not promote a dog as a SDIT until it can meet the requirements of this evaluation. Before that I would consider it a SD candidate only.


Every trainer and service center will have different requirements for their facility but under the ADA it is not required.
The ADA does not address SDITs. Until the dog is a SD then there are no fed laws in place. SDITs are under their state law.


She loves to go to work, and has a different demeanor with her vest on vs off. We havent had any issues with public access outside of being asked once if she was a SD. I said yes. The end of confrontation.
A SD should be able to work just as well naked (no vest, no leash) as they do in full gear. So while she is a SDIT you may want to consider training both ways. Of course off leash she would not be working in a public venue because of local leash laws and for her safety. Off leash she would need to be worked in a secure area. But she should be able to be worked just as well in public without a vest when she reaches the point of SD status.

Please never tell anyone she is a SD but be upfront and say she is a SDIT. SD is a legal term. You have the benefit of being in a state that recognizes SDITs so tell people that she is a SDIT if asked.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
She works of leash out of vest at home but doesnt give the same quality of work (meaning she doesnt given me 120% of her attention like she does in vest, and she gets distracted quicker because its where we play in public we dont play and she knows that). She is afterall a puppy and even though she knows what my hand signals and verabl cues are she isnt as reliable as a full sd is. Thats why we practice. Thats why she is in training :)

As for being a SDIT we are going by what our trainer asks us to... this includes public access; we are given public access and task homework weekly so we work very hard on it to make sure she can demonstrate it for our trainer in and out of class. I have met her service dogs and spoken to others that have trained their service dogs under her and they all seem professional and can do the desired tasks (per handlers requests/needs).
 

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You and your dog sound like a wonderful team. Just being a foster of a service dog (s) I feel how special these dogs really are. They are all special but once you foster one, train or have one you can see the remarkable difference in the extra ordinary abilities they posses. We have 2 dogs of our own and we appreciate them but they could never do the work that the 2 we have fostered can do. Isn't it amazing to have a dog that ignores people but when OK'd can be just like a pet and be happy. Just today we were at the store, I gave her the visit command she said hi and then came right back to my side and was ready to get back to our shopping. Good luck to you both, and keep us updated.
 
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