Fake Service Animals

May 13, 2017

There are lots of places both in this country and others that do not allow animals except for service ones.
 

 

This for example could be a Guide Dog or a Hearing Dog for the Deaf. These dogs go through years of training, socialization, assessments and are matched up to appropriate owners that suit them. It is important to note that some dogs do not pass the course because there is a standard that needs to be met.

There is however a worryingly increasing trend where people can pay to have their dog registered as a service animal. Of course there are people who genuinely train their own dogs to a very high standard to become their own service animal but quite a lot of people who pay to have their dogs registered do very little training. Just a quick internet search brings up sites where I can pay less than a hundred dollars to register a dog as a service dog without having to take any tests or assessments. I simply have to agree that my dog is not aggressive and is safe to be in public.

The problem is so many issues and problems can arise from falsely registering your dog. Firstly it reflects badly on all of those service and assistance animals that have had years of training. If someone sees a dog wearing an assistance vest or harness and sees him misbehaving and acting out it is going to reflect badly on all service animals and that is unfair to all of those people that work behind the scenes putting so much energy into training dogs such as guide dogs.

 


A normal pet dog is not going to be comfortable or focused in a brand new environment he has never encountered before, this means cued behaviours are less likely to be carried out.

Secondly is the safety aspect. Dogs that are brought up, trained and socialized with the intention of becoming a service animal are going to be prepared for nearly every scenario. By the time they are placed with their owners they will have been to a variety of different places and buildings, traveled on lots of different modes of transport, seen and interacted with loads of different people and animals and will have practiced their training in each of these distraction filled areas. A normal pet dog that has had little or even no training is not going to be focused or comfortable when brought into a completely new environment such as a shop or a restaurant.

More worryingly there are no assessments or checks when you pay for your dog to be ‘registered’ in this way so in fact a dog that is either human or dog aggressive could be walking around with an owner that claims them to be a service animal. It must also be very frustrating for owners or disabled people who actually need a service dog just to carry out normal day to day activities knowing that people can just pay a fee and claim their dog as an assistance one. In fact one video I saw the other day showed a woman who claimed to have a service dog being confronted by someone in a store. What you don’t see in this video is throughout the whole ordeal there is a trained assistance dog stood next to its owner who is filming the incident the entire time and doesn’t react at all.


 

 
You wouldn’t pretend to be disabled so you could get a parking spot closer to the shops so why would you register a fake service dog just so you could take your dog shopping with you. Service dogs are provided for those people that have disabilities or need assistance in some way e.g. emotionally or as support so please do not register one unless you genuinely need one and only if the dog has had the correct training to carry out its job.


 

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