Recognize Real Service Dogs

January 2022

Ongoing confusion about service dogs and emotional support animals has led to disputes in communities about how to best deal with exemptions to pet controls.  Individuals taking advantage of this confusion and claiming service animal status for their pets cause problems for those with real service dogs.

Real service dogs are never carried or pushed in a cart. This makes them unable to serve their intended purpose.

Real service dogs are ALWAYS on a leash. They are trained to always stay at their master’s side.  They know not to pull their master in an unwanted direction so never pull on the leash.  The leash is intended to protect them.

Real service dogs never bark or whine EXCEPT as an alert to their owner of an impending emergency such as a stroke or panic attack. They never bark at other dogs.

Real service dogs don’t sniff as they walk. They remain alert and focused on their job.

Real service dogs never have “accidents”. Indoor “accidents” are often a way of marking territory.

Real service dogs do not accept food from others or pick it off the ground.

Real service dogs always look calm and confident. They are not spooked by crowds or loud noises, and never cower or act scared.  They also do not seek attention.

Real service dogs are NEVER aggressive unless directed to do so. They never exhibit signs of unprovoked aggression such as growling or lunging.

Fake service dogs make things unnecessarily difficult for those who require the services of a real service dog.  The existence of emotional support animals in communities are, in many instances, the result of some residents choosing not to abide by “no pets” policies.

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