What is a Service Dog?

According to the American Disabilities Act (federal) any dog assisting a person with a disability is considered a service dog with no breed, size or age restriction. A Service Dog and its handler enjoys special protection. The Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (Federal) enables people with physical and psychological needs the relief they require through the use of Service Dogs by assisting them with their daily activities. The handler and Service Dog are protected under this Federal Act which gives them equal access to anywhere the general public is allowed such as restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters, taxis, and aircraft, as well as providing protection for handlers living in places “pets” are not generally allowed when the requirements and qualifications are met. Service Dog Certification of America’s online Service Dog registration will guide you and your canine helper to a very happy conclusion.

identify your service dog

The need for Service Dogs has increased dramatically over the last few years. These service animals provide people with an increased quality of life through their assistance in your day-to-day activities. By properly identifying your service dog, you will be assured that your canine helper can accompany you whenever and wherever you may wish to go. A handler is protected under Federal law and cannot be charge any fee for an accompanying Service Dog, at any time and in all circumstances under Federal Law ie. pet rent at apartments, air fair, hotel fees etc. Our goal is to provide you with the all of the necessary tools to properly identify your canine as a Service Dog in all circumstances without any issues, along with 24hr. verification and Service Dog Law expertise. 

registration / verification

At Service Dog Certification of America we provide Service Dog and Emotional Support Dog registration. At the end of this registration process your dog will have a profile that can easily be accessed by providing the requesting party with your registration number and our website address. This can also be accomplished by scanning the QR code on your dog’s identification card. Your dog’s registration will always be easily accessible for verification. This service is included with all packages offered. Click Here to View a Sample Profile…

traveling with your service or emotional support dog

how do airlines determine whether an animal is a service animal?​

  • Airlines can determine whether an animal is a service animal or pet by:
    • The credible verbal assurances of an individual with a disability using the animal;
    • Looking for physical indicators such as the presence of a harness or tags;
    • Requiring documentation for psychiatric support animals and emotional support animals; and
    • Observing the behavior of animals.
  • Emotional Support and Psychiatric Service Animals –  Airlines can request specific documentation and/or 48-hours advanced notice for service animals that are emotional support animals and psychiatric service animals. Find Out More…

frequent questions concerning service dogs answered by the dOJ

Q:Does the ADA require service animals to be professionally trained?
A: No. People with disabilities have the right to train the dog themselves and are not required to use a professional service dog training program.

Q: What happens if a person thinks a covered entity’s staff has discriminated against him or her?
A: Individuals who believe that they have been illegally denied access or service because they use service animals may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. Individuals also have the right to file a private lawsuit in Federal court charging the entity with discrimination under the ADA.

Q: Does a hospital have to allow an in-patient with a disability to keep a service animal in his or her room?
A: Generally, yes. Service animals must be allowed in patient rooms and anywhere else in the hospital the public and patients are allowed to go. They cannot be excluded on the grounds that staff can provide the same services.

Q: Can service animals be any breed of dog?
A: Yes. The ADA does not restrict the type of dog breeds that can be service animals.

Q: My city requires all dogs to be vaccinated. Does this apply to my service animal?
A: Yes. Individuals who have service animals are not exempt from local animal control or public health requirements. Find Out More…

Common types of Service Dogs

Alarm Alert Dog
Allergy Detection Dog
Alzheimer’s Assistance Dog
Asthma Assistance Dog
Autism Assistance Dog
Balance Assistance Dog
Balance Support Dog
Brace/Mobility Support Dog

Crowd Control Dog
Dementia Assistance Dog
Diabetes Alert Dog
Emergency Phone Retriever
Dog Guide Dog
Hearing Alert Dog
K-9 Rescue Dog
Medical Assistance Dog

Medication Aid Dog
Migraine Alert Dog
Mobility Aid Dog
Narcolepsy Alert Dog
Narcolepsy Response Dog
Panic Attack Dog
(deep pressure therapy)
Panic Prevention Dog

Parkinson Assistance Dog
Psychiatric Service Dog
PTSD Service Dog
Security Alert Dog
Security Assistance Dog
Sedation Alert Dog
Seizure Alert Dog
Seizure Response Dog

Severe Allergy Alert Dog
Speech Impairment Tasks
Speech Impairment-
Assistance Dog
Smoke Alert Dog
Visual Assistance Dog
Wheelchair Assistance Dog

do we qualify?

In Short: A well-behaved Service dog is unobtrusive, realizes that you are in control, and as a team you do not pose a public threat.

Dismissal: The Americans with Disabilities Act enables people with physical and psychological needs the relief they require through the use  of Service Dogs by assisting them with their daily activities. Any dog that displays bad behavior, acts aggressively (growling, biting, showing teeth) may not be considered and will not qualify as a Service Dog. Keep in mind that even a well trained Service Dog is not perfect.

Commands: Commands may be administered to your Service Dog using verbal orders, hand signals or a combination of the two.

Vehicle Unloading: The dog must remain calm and under control while departing the vehicle. He/ she must wait until released before exiting. Once out of the vehicle the dog must wait quietly until such time as you command, while under no circumstances should the dog be off lead. A quick and efficient exit will ensure your canine helpers safety.

Approaching a Structure: The dog must remain in a heel position* at all times. Traffic, loud noises and other distractions should not gain the attention of the dog. As a team you should project a relaxed attitude.

Controlled Entry Though a Opening: The dog must remain in a heel position at all times. Soliciting of attention should not be tolerated.

Command Obedience: The dog must be obedient to your commands i.e.: sit, come, stay, lay, heel, etc.

Noise Distraction: The dog may acknowledge noise, but in no way should the dog show aggression or fear. Some reaction is normal however; a properly trained Service Dog once commanded, should not cower, shake, or act as though they are unable to perform their usual duties.

Restaurant Conduct: While seated the dog should sit under the table if permissible. If not, as close as possible will suffice. Dropped food retrieval should not be permitted under any circumstances.

Off Lead Retrieval: If lead is dropped at any time the dog must remain in the heel position, unless otherwise commanded.

Load into Vehicle: Load into vehicle should be conducted quickly and efficiently with either the dog or the handler entering first. The dog must not wander but patiently wait for instructions. The dogs safety is always the main concern when walking to or from your vehicle in a parking lot, necessitating command obedience.

*Heel Position :When you are standing still or walking, the neck/shoulder region of the forward-facing dog is lined up with your right or left leg, and close alongside you

By proceeding you assure Service Dog Certification of America that your Service Dog meets Most of the above qualifications.

© 2008 . Trademarks and brands are the property of Service Dog Certification of America

“in loving memory of Jennifer Bunnell”