Q:

How do you certify a service dog?

A:

Quick Answer

To certify a dog as a service animal, the owner and the animal must follow the certifying agency's guidelines. The animal must pass a test that measures its ability to exhibit socially acceptable behavior in public.

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Full Answer

Depending on location, either take the animal to a location designated by the certifying agency, or meet with a representative from the certifying agency at a mutually acceptable location. Long-distance programs are available for people living in remote areas or areas not served by a representative. Choose a certifying agency carefully to avoid scams.

The dog must meet the agency's required criteria, which can vary from agency to agency. One requirement they all agree on, however, is that the animal cannot nip, bite, growl, show its teeth or act aggressively in any way toward its owner or others. The animal is supposed to remain in the heeling position at all times, unless otherwise directed. It should remain unobtrusive wherever it is taken, regardless of what is going on around it. It should not be distracted by loud noises or people, should never show fear and should never beg for attention or food. The animal must obey simple commands such as "sit," "heel," "stay," "lay" or "come" during the exam process.

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