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Service Dog FAQCategory: (general)
Friday, 21 August 2015
07:01:27 PM (GMT)
What is your Service Dogs' name, How old is he? His name is Blue and he is 9 weeks - or a little over 2 months old. What is his breed? Does that affect his abilities as a SD? Blue is a German-Sheprador. His dad was a full-blooded Labrador while his mom was a german shepherd mix. While any breed of dog can be a service dog, I have read that Labradors, Huskies, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers make the best ones due to their friendliness, how smart they are, their willingness to learn, and their ability to retain information. Also, for disabilities where the SD may be used for mobility purposes, size can be a big factor. Whats a psychiatric service dog? Psychiatric Service Dogs are trained to assist people with mental illnesses, lighten the affect of their disability and aiding them in doing everyday tasks that would normally be difficult. Psychiatric Service Dogs are paired with people who have illnesses such as (but not limited to) Depression, Anxiety, PTSD, Agoraphobia, OCD, Schizophrenia, Aspergers and Tourettes. You don't look disabled. Why do you need a service dog? I have what is referred to as an 'invisible disability'. What is an 'invisible disability'? Invisible disabilities are disabilities that are not immediately apparent. Can't/don't you take medication for that? Yes, the medication I am prescribed helps some, but it has never gotten rid of my problems entirely. What can your service dog do? While this will vary from dog to dog, my service dog is currently training to: ✿ Assist me wіthіn my home ✿ Assist me іn places оf public accommodation (e.g. shops, shopping centres, public transport, etc.). ✿ Wake me fоr school оr work (avoiding hypersomnia) ✿ Assist іn coping wіth emotional overload bу bringing me іntо thе “here аnd now.” ✿ Assist in grounding me when I am dissociating. ✿ Guide me to a safe place/home when dissociating. ✿ Performing Deep Pressure Therapy to calm me during anxiety attacks. ✿ Provide а buffer оr а shield fоr me іn crowded areas bу creating а physical boundary. ✿ Orient durіng panic/anxiety attack. ✿ Stand bеhіnd me tо increase feelings оf safety, reduce hyper-vigilance, аnd decrease thе likelihood оf me bеіng startled bу аnоthеr person coming uр bеhіnd me. ✿ Search dwelling. ✿ Bring medication to me and make sure it is taken at certain times of day. ✿ Bring a beverage so I can take medication and have something to drink as a dry mouth is a common side effect of many medications for those with mental illness. ✿ Answer the doorbell. ✿ Call the emergency services in case of an overdose or medical emergency. ✿ Assist with speech by holding up cards and alerting family members in trained circumstances. ✿ Respond to smoke alarm if I am unresponsive. ✿ Combat sedative side effects- dogs can be trained to turn on lights, initiate play with a toy and nudge me to combat tiredness. ✿ Provide an excuse to leave an upsetting situation- y dog will be trained to pester me and vocalize as if urgently needing to go outside in order to give me an excuse to escape unsettling situations. ✿ Finding exits/ guiding- he will be trained to find the exits of buildings and guide me, something which is often important for those who dissociate. ✿ Turning Lights on- this can help me with anxiety in the house. ✿ Alert to an oncoming panic attack ✿ Interrupting self-destructive behaviours such as self-harm Other than the benefits of performing tasks to mitigate your disability, Psychiatric Service Dogs also help in more generalized ways. Dogs are incredibly beneficial to have around, and whilst the list below is by NO MEANS limited to Service Dogs, it goes to show how much they can add to their already existing help to benefit the life of their handler. Having a dog increases daily structure and can give a person a sense of purpose. For those who struggle to eat with mental illness, feeding time with their dog can help combat this. Having scheduled eating times for the dog can encourage people to eat as well. Having a dog can bring an increased sense of safety and security. Dogs can also boost our self-esteem . Dogs can boost optimism and having the responsibility of care can be very beneficial for people. It can often encourage a person to take care of themselves better. Stroking a dog lowers blood pressure and is calming. Dogs provide a secure and uncomplicated relationship. Having a dog increases motivation to exercise- something which can often lift the mood. They encourage social interaction and act as a social ice-breaker. Whilst some people may find this counter-productive, it can also be helpful for some others who struggle to interact with other people. Dogs offer around-the-clock support and more independence than a human-helper could offer. They are not judgemental either. What do you do when you encounter a service dog? Do not attempt to distract the dog in any way. This includes eye contact, talking to the dog, petting, giving the dog food, etc. Even if the dog does not look like he’s working, he still might be. For example, smelling the handler’s breath to alert to any chemical changes that would cause seizures, or watching his owner for minute changes in body language which suggest an upcoming anxiety attack. Distracting the dog may be dangerous or even potentially fatal for the handler. If you want to pet the dog, ASK FIRST. DO NOT ASK THE HANDLER ABOUT THEIR DISABILITY. Some handlers are polite and will be very open about their disabilities, but a lot of them are uncomfortable (or even triggered) by sharing that kind of information. In addition, think about how many people stop to ask a person about their service dog. While some are amiable and will answer questions in an attempt to educate the public, sone handlers can’t go to a store for 5 minutes without being stopped 3 or 4 times, so they might be a little annoyed about it. It all depends on the person. Also, I really shouldn’t have to say this, but DO NOT TAKE PICTURES OF THE DOG WITHOUT THE OWNER’S PERMISSION. This is the equivalent of taking a picture of someone in a wheelchair. Now that’s just creepy. What are the laws on service dogs? The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states the following: “When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff CANNOT ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.” In addition, “A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.” Breaking these ADA laws are FEDERAL CRIMES. These laws are in place to protect disabled people! So he can really go everywhere with you? Alost everywhere. Churches that are privately owned - ie, not owned by the governemnt - have a right to deny him access. And certain areas of the hospital, such as burn units and OR rooms, will most likely also deny him access. What are the differences between a service dog, an emotional support animal and a therapy dog? A service dog is individually trained to perform tasks that mitigate the disability of his owner. Training typically takes 18-24 months. Because of his advanced training, a service dog is considered medical equipment and is permitted to accompany his disabled owner to many places where pets are not permitted. An emotional support animal belongs to a person who is disabled. The person's doctor has determined that the presence of the animal is necessary for the disabled person's mental health and written a prescription stating the pet is necessary in the person's home, despite any "no pets" regulation of the landlord, for the person's health. Little or no training is required. The owner of an emotional support animal has no more right than any other pet owner to take their emotional support animal with them other to keep one in a home where pets are not permitted or to fly with one in a cabin when pets are not permitted. A therapy dog is a pet that has been trained, tested, registered, and insured to accompany his owner to visit patients and residents of facilities like hospitals and nursing homes to cheer up the people living there. A well-behaved pet can typically complete training in about 8 weeks. A therapy dog is legally a pet. It is not permitted to go anywhere that pets aren't without permission from the facility owner. The objective of registration is to show facility managers that this dog is well behaved, safe around people, and insured against liability. It is not a license to walk into a hospital or nursing home without permission. In short: service dog works to help the owner perform tasks he cannot perform on his own because of his disability, an emotional support animal works to improve the health of his owner who is disabled, and the therapy animal works with his owner to improve the health of others. Do I qualify for a service dog? The answer to this question may be more complicated than you expect. First, there are different definitions of disability in different federal laws. The definition for Social Security Disability Income is not the same as that in the Americans with Disabilities Act (which determines whether you qualify to use a service dog in public places where dogs are not generally permitted). It is possible for an individual to qualify for SSDI and not qualify for a service dog and vice versa. You must evaluate your situation separately for each context. The definition of disability under the ADA is a legal, not medical, definition. Since a lawyer generally can't diagnose medical conditions and a doctor generally can't interpret the law, you may get stuck somewhere in the middle trying to figure it all out. You may want to review the legal definition as written by Congress for yourself, or review the entire Americans with Disabilities Act which includes some additional fine points you may notice in our flow chart in other sections. Ultimately, what we recommend is that you take the flow chart or the written definition with you and discuss it with any doctor who is treating you or has treated you for your disability to get his opinion and to have his opinion entered into your permanent medical records. LINKS:

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