A husky service dog sits on a boat on the water and eat Get Joy's fresh freeze dried food.

September is National Service Dog Month!

It takes a really special dog to become professionally trained as a service dog. That’s why there is an entire month dedicated to celebrating these wonderful service animals. September is National Service Dog Month, a time devoted to raising awareness about service dogs and recognizing the important work they fulfill for many. 

This guide will help you learn more about service dogs and how to honor them this National Service Dog Month. Let’s dive in!

How Long Is Service Dog Training? 

According to the ADA, a service dog is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. Those who qualify for service dogs can have disabilities ranging from physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or mental. 

While the ADA doesn’t have an established training standard for service dogs, there are private standards suggesting 120 hours of training over 6 months. It’s important to note that there is no official organization with established training criteria for service dogs. 

What Roles Do Service Dogs Have? 

Service dogs are trained to perform various tasks, including: 

  • Serving as a travel guide for individuals with visual impairments
  • Cueing a person to pay attention while crossing the street
  • Assisting a person with a seizure disorder
  • And more

Let’s take a look at some examples of different types of service dogs. 

  • Guide Dog or Seeing Eye Dog: a dog trained to guide the visually impaired or blind.
  • Hearing or Signal Dog: a carefully trained dog that serves to warn a person with a significant hearing loss or a deaf individual when a sound has occurred. 
  • Psychiatric Service Dog: a dog that has been trained to serve people with psychiatric disorders. 
  • Sensory Signal Dog or Social Signal Dog (SSigDOG): a dog trained to assist a person with autism or their caregiver. 
  • Seizure Response Dog: a dog that has been trained to assist individuals with seizure disorder. 

Where Are Service Dogs Allowed to Go? 

The ADA grants public access rights to service dogs. That being said, there are public areas where service dogs are allowed to go, including:

  • Restaurants
  • Bars
  • Food courts
  • Hotels
  • Airplanes
  • Buses
  • Various other public places where animals are usually not allowed

How Do Dogs Get a Service Dog Certificate? 

You may be wondering how service dogs become eligible for their work. Service dog certificates are not legally required in the US. 

However, there are four requirements to train a dog to become a service animal: 

  1. Eligibility: A person is eligible for a service dog if they have physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or mental disability.    
  2. Training: A service dog has been trained to perform tasks related to the disability. 
  3. Behavior: It is important for a service dog to be under its handler’s control in public and display good behavior at all times. The dog must pass a public access test.  
  4. Verification: Under the ADA, the handler must be willing to answer the following two questions if it is not obvious what service the dog provides: “Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?" and “What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?” 

Receive Training Tips and More From Get Joy!

This National Service Dog Month, get behavior and training tips for your furry friend with Get Joy. You can also ask questions about joint health, personalized nutrition, and preventative care. Our virtual on-demand vet services are accessible to you 24/7. 

At Get Joy, we are a one-stop shop for all things related to dog health and wellness. Need help getting started? Schedule a video call with one of our licensed vet experts today!