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Positive Paws

K-9 Angels

Service Dog FAQ

1. What is a service dog?

According to the A.D.A, Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, etc. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the A.D.A.


2. What is the cost to train a service dog?

The cost of a Service Dog varies from $15,000 - 35,000. Some organizations may provide a service dog for free, but their waiting times can be several months to even years.


3. What are the rights a service dog has?

Under the A.D.A., State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it usually would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.


4. Are service dogs and ESA the same?

Not really. Under A.D.A., a dog whose sole function is to provide comfort does NOT qualify as a service dog but as an ESA, Emotional Support Animal. ESA only have two rights: residence fee can be waived (in the case of renting an apartment/house) and fly with you.


5. Is there a certification a service dog must have?

Believe it or not, NO LEGAL certification is needed! However, the dog must be trained by A.D.A standards, as well as ours. Anyone can train their dogs, but without the right knowledge, these dogs frequently misbehave and are labeled as ‘fake service dogs’ We understand many people truly need a service dog but do not have the financial ability to have a professional help them, and that is why we created PPK9A’s "owner trained program" for those who would qualify under A.D.A.


6. Can my dog be my service dog? 

Yes but… They must qualify under A.D.A., pass a temperament test, and show willingness to learn and please. A free assessment will be done by our Animal Behaviorist.


7. Where do you look for a service dog?

We first look in shelters and rescues. We look for a dog that is intelligent, with a friendly disposition and a calm demeanor. The dog must have a strong work drive, tidiness, and tendency to bond strongly.


8. How do you know a dog is right for me?

Dogs are a huge part of choosing the right human; it is not just the human picking the dog based on cuteness. We allow for several interactions with different dogs as well as overnight stay. The dog truly picks the owner.