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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. A Service Dog (companion dog) and its handler enjoys special protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 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. Your "canine helper" is moments away from becoming a Certified Service Dog through Service Dog Certification of America!

Properly Identifying your Service Animal- Testimonials

Thank you for your assistance with certification of our Service Dog is greatly enhanced by the visual presence of a SERVICE DOG emblem/patch over and above the dog tag. Very few individuals would approach a full grown German Shepherd to "inspect" the collar ID. And, with the Service Dog patch, the ID is readily available from a distance. This visibility usually eliminates the majority of "challenges" that might otherwise be presented. I encourage any Service Dog owner to utilize any and all "visual aids" that are available.

J.M Teiling.

At SDCA all Disabled Veterans qualify for a Financial Aid!

This specialized kit is now available with thanks to The Department of Justice, private donations and sponsorships. For general qualification inquiries and registration requirements, please contact us.

Financial Aid

Service Dog Certification of America recognizes a significant number of Americans have some form of disability and do to the popularity of our kit, we now offer financial aid to those on disability that meet with our requirements.

Identify your Canine Helper as a Service Dog!

The growing need for Service Dogs has increased exponentially over the last few years. These service animals provide people with an increased quality of life through their assistance in 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. Tri State K9 Service is proud to assist you certify your canine helper . We will provide you with a service dog certification kit which contains all of the tools you will need to properly identify your service dog.  Certify your canine companion with Service Dog Certification of America today!

Qualify My Dog

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. A well-behaved Service dog is unobtrusive, realizes that you are in control, and as a team you do not pose a public threat. Any dog that displays bad behavior, acts aggressively (growling, biting, showing teeth) may not be considered  and will not qualify as a Service Dog. Even a well trained Service Dog is not perfect. If your dog exhibits occasional nipping, Service Dog Certification of America recommends muzzling.

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 preform 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.

What follows is the first in a series of my thoughts and memories of going through guide dog school for the first time. Having never been a dog owner, this experience was not only unique, it was intimidating, but, looking back, it was the best decision I ever made.

Getting a guide dog is not an overnight process. It takes about a year. First there is the application, and submission of letters from your doctor. Then there is an in-home interview where trainers from the guide dog school come out and meet with you. This consists of an in person interview, making sure the home is a good environment for a dog, and an analysis of how mobile you are.

After all of this has taken place, there is a waiting period when your case goes before a review board. Once you have been approved, you are given a date to head off to guide dog school. You have to live at the school for a month of training. Unfortunately, it’s not like summer camp, it’s more like boot camp. Your days start at 6 a.m. and you train six days a week. The school provides room and board. The school that I went to, Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, New York, is a not-for-profit organization. They are completely publicly funded, so all of these services were provided to me at no cost.

The First Day at Guide Dog School

The first day at guide dog school is a lot like the first day of college. You get to the school, you head off to your dormitory room, unpack and get settled, then head off to meet your fellow classmates. Oh yeah and just like college’s “freshman fifteen” there is a lot of eating. You are provided with three meals a day, and will probably eat more than you ever do at home.

My class had fourteen students, a mixture of those who had guide dogs previously, and some like me who were first-timers. Even though the school was in New York, I was the only New Yorker in the class. The class was made up of people of all races, religions, and backgrounds. The one thing we all had in common was we are blind.
The first day of training at guide dog school is all about the trainers learning your walking speed and about your lifestyle. There is no dog, since the trainers need to determine which dog is best for you. Guiding Eyes for the Blind uses mostly Labradors due to their temperament and trainability. Wow, I hope I can get a dog that loves to sleep in, loves the Yankees and Gators, and can run to Ray’s Pizza to pick me up a slice.

Learning About Obedience Training

The second day started out with obedience training and learning how to discipline the dog, and the trainers first start introducing you to the verbal commands and hand signals you will use to communicate with the dog. We still weren’t training with our dogs, rather the harnesses and leashes were attached to our trainer’s arm.

We were taught two obedience commands. The first is a right arm pull on the leash to tell our dogs to stop sniffing, stop window shopping and focus, and to generally just get the dog back on track. The second is a left hand leash pull, which would be used to correct our dogs’ more serious mistakes, like walking us into something, blowing past a curb, or just an overall lack of focus.

I wasn’t that great at the left arm correction, as I guess I was a little apprehensive to be pulling on the dog’s neck. Like I said, I never had a dog before, and didn’t realize that a dog’s neck is the strongest part of his body.