The most common challenge for service dog handlers is what to do when an establishment denies your dog access. First, make sure that you are in compliance with the law. It sounds silly to even state this, but I’ve seen a lot. For example, not all states support a service dog in training (SDiT) for public access. Also, you have to remove your dog if it is disruptive.
The Most Common Challenges for Service Dog Handlers
- You may have to educate businesses that don’t know the law. You can carry business-card-size handouts if you struggle with confrontation. Unfortunately, if you have invisible disabilities you face more questions than I do. I have both visible and invisible disabilities.
- It’s unnerving to get questioned — plain and simple. These challenges for service dog handlers are troubling. But it helps to prepare for those situations ahead of time.
- Corporate businesses question me more often than mom-and-pop shops. My most recent “confrontation and demand for paperwork” occurred in a well-known restaurant chain. I explained the law to the manager and I also contacted the corporate office afterward.
- Document everything. Every time I work with a dog in public, the dog is wearing a GoPro camera. The GoPro isn’t necessary, but it is very useful for documentation.
People talking to service dogs is another common challenge for service dog handlers. I personally have the most issues with decorated vests. People don’t always read what is written on a vest, collar, or leash. Other examples are poodles with a different haircut, colored hair, or uncommon breeds. Things like these most definitely draw more attention. Understand that you may need to ask people to not distract your dog more often than you would otherwise.
ID Cards, Certificates, and so on
Certificates, ID cards, papers, or documentation are NOT requirements. Wearing a vest is also not a requirement. According to the ADA Regulations for Service Dogs, the only requirement is, that the dog performs at least one task to mitigate your disabilities. Showing fake and unnecessary ID cards and/or irrelevant registries isn’t helpful. It creates a bigger challenge for the next service dog handler. They may face questions if they don’t have those fake papers.
If you have questions regarding service dogs and/or are looking to work with me, go here to get started.