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   El Dorado and Placer counties. Licensed and insured.
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Service Dog Training and Certification
Types of Service Dogs
  We're often asked whether or not we offer service dog training. While the answer is, "Yes, we can help train service dogs," the term "service dog" has become a broad term that covers a variety of assistance dogs, so it would be wise for us to clarify the different types of assistance dogs. This way, we can help you decide on the appropriate service dog training that meets your specific needs.

Dogs that typically provide services for the well-being of humans are:

Disabilities Service Dog
Emotional Support Dog or Animal (ESA)
Therapy Dog

The Department of Justice mandated modified regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) in regards to assistance dogs, effective March 15, 2011. These regulations specify the training associated with the different types of assistance dogs, and detail any special privileges the dogs are awarded, if any.

Click the image to the left to view a feature article from Sacramento Magazine that describes the different types of assistance dogs in clear, non-legalese language. Note that although the title of the article references Emotion Support Animals, the article also covers Service Dogs and Therapy dogs.

Disabilities Service Dog Training
  Regulations describe a Service Dog as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability.” The regulation also states that "the work or task must be directly related to the individual's disability." The regulation goes on to say that "an animal’s presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks." Further clarification reads "an animal is not a service animal if its mere presence benefits the individual with a disability."

Service Dogs are permitted to go wherever the public can go, including establishments that serve food and drink, places of entertainment, professional offices, etc.

Emotional Support Dog or Animal (ESA) Training
  Regulations state, "Emotional support animals provide comfort to a person with a psychiatric disability, but are not trained to perform specific tasks to assist them."

While not covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act as much as Service Dogs, as long as you and your dog meet certain requirements, Emotional Support Dogs can travel with you by air in the passenger cabin, and live in housing that does not otherwise permit dogs.

Therapy Dog Training
  Certified to be well-trained in manners, well-socialized and of sound temperament, unlike Disabilities Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals, the Therapy Dog's function is to provide comfort to other people. Therapy Dogs are often seen in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, libraries and more. Therapy Dogs are not protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act, thus receive no special privileges.

Universal Requirements for Assistance Dogs
  Regulations state that although assistance dogs are permitted access to places not normally open to dogs, any assistance dog can be asked to leave if “(1) the animal is out of control and the animal’s owner does not take effective action to control it; or (2) the animal is not housebroken.”

Examples given in the regulation include, but are not limited to, barking, jumping up on people, growling, or otherwise disrupting the normal course of business of a commercial establishment. In other words, assistance dogs must be well-behaved and under control at all times.

Service Dog Certification

While some seemingly official websites offer to enter your dog into their "national registry" for a fee, the fact is that there is no government entity that administers service dog tests, certifies service dogs, or oversees such databases, thus, entries into such databases aren't very helpful, nor do they protect your rights.

That said, under certain circumstances, documentation may be required attesting to the fact that a dog has been evaluated as a service dog. It is not uncommon for employers, schools, places of lodging and other service providers to ask for such documentation to satisfy the requirements of their insurance and liability policies. While some may argue that such requirements violate privacy issues, this is a gray area, and we recognize that sometimes it's more practical to present such documentation rather than become immersed in a heated confrontation over legal semantics that will surely ruin your day, vacation, etc.

It is for this reason that we provide Service Dog Certifications. Our Service Dog Certification process runs a dog through a series of specific exercises to help us determine whether or not the dog meets the requirements of a service dog pursuant to Federal and State Civil Codes, as described above. If the dog meets the requirements, we provide documentation attesting to the fact that the dog has been evaluated to have met the service requirements required by law. Click here if you are interested in a Service Dog Certification.

Things to Consider When Training an Assistance Dog
  Whether you're interested in Service Dog training, Emotional Assistance Dog training, or Therapy Dog training, all programs help you start off on the right foot with obedience, socialization and behavior shaping to help ensure that you and your dog meet all applicable requirements so that you're not asked to leave anywhere you have the right to be! We are also authorized to perform Therapy Dog Certifications.

If you're interested in training your own dog for service, do yourself and your dog a favor and don't let yourself be misled by some service tasks you heard about somewhere that might be impractical. If you have a physical mobility impairment, it would be practical to try to teach your dog to pick things up for you. An example of something impractical would be trying to teach your dog to remind you to take medications because dogs can't be expected to accommodate for time changes such as Daylight Savings Time, nor can they be expected to be more reliable than an alarm clock.

Something else to keep in mind is that not all dogs are suited to all tasks. Consider the Guide Dogs for the Blind organization, that's been breeding, raising and training guide dogs since 1942. Puppies are usually raised by families, then sent to "school" once they are approximately 14 months of age. Many of these dogs end up not being able to be Guide Dogs for a myriad of reasons ranging from too high of a drive for fetch to guarding instincts to having bad hips, and more. This doesn't necessarily mean such dogs aren't suitable for alternate roles; they're just not cut out to be service dogs for people with visual impairments. As a matter of fact, we've certified quite a few of these dogs for Therapy Dog work!

If you start off on the right foot and are practical with your expectations of your dog, regardless of which path you end up taking, you're sure to benefit from whatever gifts your best friend bestows upon you!



To find out more about how we can help you, contact us today.

Do you provide assistance dogs?
No, we don't. We only provide training services.

Do you provide financial aid for assistance dogs?
No, we don't. We are a training organization, and do not have access to such funding.

Do you provide discounts for veterans?
No, we don't, sorry. Unless we're compensated fairly for our time, we won't be able to keep our doors open and help people with their dogs.

Can a puppy be a service dog or emotional support dog?
The law is quite clear no matter the type of assistance dog - the dog must be well-mannered, obedient, and under control at all times. A young puppy's mind is typically not developed enough to maintain focus on a task at hand in the face of distraction, so it won't meet the criteria of being under control at all times. That said, with the right type of training, a young puppy may be an exception. Click here to see a video example of a young puppy that's received the right type of training and might be an exception.

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321 Iron Point Rd.
Folsom, CA 95630
2201 Francisco Dr.
Suite 140-102
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762


Quick appointments available for Sacramento and surrounding areas including Fair Oaks, Citrus Heights, Rancho Cordova, Granite Bay, Roseville, Loomis, Folsom, El Dorado Hills, Cameron Park, Shingle Springs, Placerville, Lake Tahoe and more. We are available for travel to other areas of California and Nevada on a case by case basis. Contact us for details.