Are you feeling overwhelmed by the broad range and types of service dogs available?
The U.S. Department of State estimates 500,000 canines are helping their handlers in the United States. The direct medical benefits they offer can enrich and even save lives. However, the way the law views their role in daily life can be confusing and lead to unfortunate complications.
Types of Service Dogs
Accordingly, this overview of classifications for service dog training may do more than help you find the right pup. It can help prepare you to identify and avoid complicated situations commonly faced by service dog owners. For instance, what happens if your dog bites someone? Once you read this quick guide, you may also realize that you have more legal rights than you thought possible.
Allergy Detection Service Dog
Food Allergy Research & Education reports that food allergies send someone to the ER every three minutes. Moreover, over 85 million Americans live with a potentially life-threatening allergy. After considering this information, the critical role an allergy detection service dog fulfills becomes startlingly clear.
To illustrate, consider the difference a service dog could make in the life of someone with a peanut allergy. Their canine can enter a restaurant or any other environment before their handler and ensure it is safe.
Restaurants, grocery stores, and other food services have “no pet” rules for good reason. But, these policies do not give them a right to refuse access to a service animal. Even more importantly, they cannot grill you with questions about your ability to bring your ADA dog into their establishment.
Diabetic Alert Service Dog
Dogs are famous for having an incredible sense of smell. According to the University of Alberta, they can even detect one billionth of a teaspoon of gasoline. This ability also allows them to identify changes in a person’s blood sugar.
As reported by WebMD, a diabetic service dog can help prevent medical emergencies before they happen. They receive training to recognize spikes or drops in blood sugar and warn you with a particular signal. Some will give you a nuzzle when they smell a change, while others may bark or whine.
Despite having a right to have their diabetic service dog, handlers may find themselves explaining their role. There have even been times where these types of service dogs have struggled to receive access to schools or taxis despite reasonable explanations by the owner.
Mobility Assistance Service Dog
Mobility assistance service dogs serve a variety of functions for the humans they serve. They can press buttons, retrieve objects, and brace people who have problems maintaining their balance.
The impact this assistance can offer is profound and life-changing. For example, the American Kennel Club reports on a range of people of all ages and disabilities who see the quality of life improvements. In many circumstances, mobility assistance service dogs give a sense of independence that was impossible beforehand.
Denying access to this type of well-trained canine can lead to significant consequences and bad press for companies. In February 2022, the Western District of Texas settled with a hotel that refused to allow a veteran with a mobility dog to stay with them.
Psychiatric Service Dog
A psychiatric service dog can is another type of service dog. Often, they can be confused with an emotional service animal. However, the essential distinction is that the latter does not have formal training. The former serves specific functions for people with a mental illness or learning disability. For instance, they could recognize a panic attack and comfort their handler.
WebMD offers a window into the range of conditions a psychiatric service dog can serve. Some of the most common ones are:
- Social Phobias
- Anxiety Disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
There has been a history of problems getting psychiatric service dogs on flights in the United States. In May 2021, a couple traveling in Miami could not get on a plane despite following the rules designated by an airline. Unfortunately, some simple education on the subject for employees could have prevented this event from happening.
Hearing Service Dog
This type of service dog can allow the hearing impaired to lead more independent lives. When they recognize a sound, they notify their owner so they can attend to it. As stated by the AKC, most canines with this training will also lead their human toward the noise.
Moreover, a hearing service dog helps individuals avoid hazardous situations. They can warn the person they serve about oncoming traffic before they unknowingly walk into its path.
The purpose of a handler’s canine in these situations should be obvious to outside observers. As long as they are not disruptive, the U.S. Department of Justice says they have a right to accompany their handlers wherever they go.
Seizure Response Service Dog
The Epilepsy Foundation describes a seizure response service dog as an alarm system. They can warn others that their owner is having a seizure and prevent them from injuring themselves when they seize. Furthermore, they can press an alert button that calls for help.
While they can be a tremendous aid, this type of service dog may not reduce the risk of SUDEP. Physicians or family members with training are still necessary for nighttime supervision.
Since some people may not recognize their function immediately, they may give handlers some grief. According to current law, they only have the right to ask two questions. They can only inquire whether the dog is with you for a disability and what tasks they perform.
Autism Support Service Dog
An autism support service dog takes on several functions for the person they serve. They help their owners gain independence and confidence by completing tasks like:
- Alerting others about an emergency
- Retrieving dropped objects
- Providing comfort during emotional meltdowns
- Offering deep pressure stimulation (DPT)
Situations that may have been challenging can become manageable with this assistance. Everyday activities like going to school, shopping, or even an evening walk are much safer and more possible with a service dog.
Greater Good Charities documents an unfortunate situation where a shop denied access to an autism support dog. The owner insisted on seeing paperwork for any service animal that entered her shop. However, federal law does not require handlers to present this information to gain public access.
Speak to an ADA Lawyer About Your Service Dog Rights
There is a significant amount of confusion about types of service dogs and handler rights. Recent changes in the law and controversies over emotional support animals have clouded judgments. For example, most individuals may not know that having a service dog vest is not a legal requirement.
Regrettably, this environment is rich with opportunities for others to violate your ADA service dog rights. It can take legal action from an attorney to correct the situation and give you the access you deserve. If you need help, contact us through this website or call (866) 345 – 6784 to talk to a representative today.