Taking Your Service Dog Out in Public

Service dogs are trained for a very specific job. Once that training is complete, your new helper should be able to navigate a wide variety of environments, from airplanes to restaurants to grocery stores.

If you have a new service dog, though, it’s only natural that you’ll have a few questions about venturing out into public together. Here are a few tips that can help.

Taking Your Service Dog Out in Public

Understanding Service Dog Rights

Before you leave home, first familiarize yourself with the updated guidelines related to service animals under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Unlike an emotional support animal, service dogs can go wherever humans can go.

But that doesn’t mean your dog has carte blanche in public areas. The service animal must be in your control at all times, which means keeping your dog on a leash and making sure your pet responds to your commands.

Responding to Reluctant Businesses

You’ll find many businesses are welcoming toward owners and their service dogs. At the very least, employees will let you go about your business. However, not all workers will have gotten the memo on that. They may ask you questions or even demand that you show papers.

This is where having your facts in order can come in. Not only can business owners not require that you show papers, but they can only ask two questions:

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

If you have resistance on declining to show paperwork, cite the ADA and suggest they research the regulations themselves. You can contact the ADA information line at 800-514-0301 if you have questions or need more information.

Dealing with Other Customers

You may not need paperwork, but it could be helpful to outfit your dog with a harness or vest with the clear label, “Service Dog.” You can buy this type of thing online from sites like Amazon and Chewy.

This type of gear serves one specific purpose. It identifies to other people that this is a working dog. This primarily helps with keeping other customers at bay. You can also buy badges for dog vests with messages like, “Please don’t pet me. I’m working.” Although your dog will still get attention occasionally, it will at least cut down on the number of times you have to turn people down.

A professionally-trained service dog can open up opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise had. But even if you don’t have a service dog, Canine Master can help you train your pet so that you can go to public places where dogs are allowed. Visit our blog for plenty of useful training tips.

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