The law states three requirements for service dogs
- They must be trained to perform a task related to a person's disability.
- The dog must be under the handler's control.
- The dog must be house broken
- The dog should be as invisible as possible.
- The dog should not sniff people or items, and if he does he should be corrected immediately.
- The dog should know the following commands before even practicing in public: sit, down, stay, heel, come, watch me.
- The dog should not solicit attention from anyone.
- The dog should be able to stay either in a down stay or on a designated "place" for 30 minutes at a time without getting up.
- The dog should be able to do both a sit stay and a down stay for 1 minute while in public.
- The dog should be able to leave it when a piece of food is dropped.
- The dog should be able to go under a chair or desk in order to be as inconspicuous as possible and stay out of the way.
Public Access Test Requirements
1. CONTROLLED UNLOAD OUT OF VEHICLE: After a suitable place has been found, the individual will unload the dog and any necessary equipment (wheelchair, walker, crutches, etc.) out of the vehicle. The dog must wait until released before coming out of the vehicle. Once outside, it must wait quietly unless otherwise instructed by the individual. The dog may not run around, be off lead, or ignore the commands given by the individual. Once the team is out of the vehicle and settled, the assistant should walk past with another dog. They should walk within six (6) feet of the team. The Assistance Dog
must remain calm and under control, not pulling or trying to get to the other dog. The emphasis on this is that the Assistance Dog remains unobtrusive and is unloaded in the safest manner
possible for everyone.
2. APPROACHING THE BUILDING: After unloading, the team must maneuver through the parking lot to approach the building. The dog must stay in a relative heel position and may not forge ahead or lag
behind. The dog must not display a fear of cars or traffic noises and must display a relaxed attitude. When the individual stops for any reason, the dog must stop also.
3. CONTROLLED ENTRY THROUGH A DOOR-WAY: Once at the doors of the building, the individual may enter however he/she chooses to negotiate the entry safely. Upon entering the building,
however, the dog may not wander off or solicit attention from the public. The dog should wait quietly until the team is fully inside and then should calmly walk beside the individual. The dog must not pull or strain against the lead or try to push its way past the individual but must wait patiently while entry is completed.
4. HEELING THROUGH THE BUILDING: Once inside the building, the individual and the dog must walk through the area in a controlled manner. The dog should always be within touching distance where applicable or not greater than a foot away from the individual. The dog should not solicit public attention or strain against the lead (except in cases where the dog may be pulling the individual's
wheelchair). The dog must readily adjust to speed changes, turn corners promptly, and travel through a crowded area without interacting with the public. In tight quarters, the dog must be able to get out of the way of obstacles and not destroy merchandise by knocking it over or by playing with it.
5. SIX FOOT RECALL ON LEAD: A large, open area should be found for the six-foot recall. Once found, the individual will perform a six foot recall with the dog remaining on lead. The individual will
sit the dog, leave it, travel six feet, then turn and call the dog to him/her. The dog should respond promptly and not stop to solicit attention from the public or ignore the command. The dog should come close enough to the individual to be readily touched. For Guide Dogs, they must actually touch the person to indicate location. The recall should be smooth and deliberate without the dog trudging to the individual or taking any detours along the way.
6. SITS ON COMMAND: The team will be asked to demonstrate the individual's ability to have the dog sit three different times. The dog must respond promptly each time with no more than two commands.
There should not be any extraordinary gestures on the part of the people approaching the dog. Normal, reasonable behavior on the part of the people is expected.
7. DOWNS ON COMMAND- The down exercises will be performed in the same sequence as the sits with the same basic stipulations. The first down will be at a table where food will be dropped on the floor. The dog should not break the down to go for the food or sniff at the food. The individual may give verbal and physical corrections to maintain the down. There should not be any extraordinary gestures on the part of the people approaching the dog. Normal, reasonable behavior from the people is expected. The second down will be executed, and then an adult and child should approach the dog. The dog should maintain the down and not solicit attention. If the child pets the dog, the dog must behave appropriately and not break the stay. The individual may give verbal and physical corrections if the dog begins to break the stay.
8. NOISE DISTRACTION- The team will be heeling along and the tester will drop a clipboard to the ground behind the team. The dog may acknowledge the noise, but may not in any way show aggression
or fear. A normal startle reaction is fine - the dog may jump and/or turn - but the dog should quickly recover and continue along on the heel. The dog should not become aggressive, begin shaking, etc.
9. RESTAURANT- The team and tester should enter a restaurant and be seated at a table. The dog should go under the table or, if size prevents that, stay close to the individual. The dog must sit or lie
down and may move a bit for comfort during the meal, but should not be up and down a lot or need a lot of correction or reminding. This would be a logical place to do the food drop during a down. (See
10. OFF LEAD- Sometime during the test, where appropriate, the person will be instructed to drop the leash while moving so it is apparent to the dog. The individual must show the ability to maintain
control of the dog and get the leash back in its appropriate position. This exercise will vary greatly depending on the person's disabilities. The main concern is that the dog be aware that the leash is dropped and that the person is able to maintain control of the dog and get the leash back into proper position.
11. DOG TAKEN BY ANOTHER PERSON – To show that the dog can be handled by another person without aggression or excessive stress or whining, someone else will take the dog’s leash and passively hold the dog (not giving any commands) while the dog’s partner moves 20’ away.
12. CONTROLLED EXIT- The team will leave the building in a similar manner to entering, with safety and control being of prime importance. The team will proceed across the parking lot and back to the vehicle. The dog must be in appropriate heel position and not display any fear of vehicle or sounds.
13. CONTROLLED LOAD INTO VEHICLE: The individual will load the dog into the vehicle with either entering first. The dog must not wander around the parking lot but must wait patiently for instructions. Emphasis is on safety and control.
14. TEAM RELATIONSHIP - It is important for an Assistance Dog Team to have a positive and close relationship. Both the handler and the dog should be relaxed; there should be positive reinforcement for the dog’s good behavior; the dog should be under control; and the team should present a positive image to the public.