Service Dog Definition

 

Service Animals—The mission of a trained service animal is to help its handler accomplish activities of daily living (ADL’s) and is specially trained to assist a person with a disability.  These animals are defined as dogs and, in some cases, miniature horses. The public access of these animals in the United States is covered by the American with Disabilities Act and is guided by standards of behavior for service animals.

 

Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s)Activities of daily living include, but are not limited to, the things we do on a regular basis to meet our physical, psychological, financial, and social needs.  Examples of activities are:

  • Alerting to changes in a medical condition
  • Assisting with self-care such as bathing and dressing
  • Guiding for people with visual impairments
  • Assisting for people with hearing impairments
  • Mobility and stabilization assistance
  • Physical tasks such opening doors, retrieving meds and other items, etc.
  • Alerting and providing guidance for people with various psychiatric disorders
  • Assisting veterans and victims of violence controlling symptoms of post-traumatic stress

 

Standards of Behavior for Service Animals-These insure the animal is under control and calm while working:

  • Housebroken
  • Obedience trained (Beyond Basic Obedience)
  • Responsive to first commands of handler
  • Should not eat off the floor
  • Ignores other animals, people, food, and objects
  • No aggression such as lunging, growling, snapping, biting, or posturing, showing teeth
  • Clean and well-groomed
  • No jumping, licking, or approaching other people
  • Able to maintain composure despite multiple distractions
  • Must have 4 paws on the floor unless completing specific tasks to aid handler