Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals and the ADA Many people with disabilities use a service animal in order to fully participate in everyday life. Dogs can be trained to perform many important tasks to assist people with disabilities, such as providing stability for a person who has difficulty walking, picking up items for a person who uses a wheelchair, preventing a child with autism from wandering away, or alerting a person who has hearing loss when someone is approaching from behind. The Department of Justice continues to receive many questions about how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to service animals. The ADA requires State and local government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations (covered entities) that provide goods or services to the public to make "reasonable modifications" in their policies, practices, or procedures when necessary to accommodate people with disabilities. The service animal rules fall under this general principle. Accordingly, entities that have a "no pets" policy generally must modify the policy to allow service animals into their facilities. This publication provides guidance on the ADA's service animal provisions and should be read in conjunction with the publication ADA Revised Requirements: Service Animals.
How We can make a difference in our breeding program One of the beautiful traits of the German Shepherd is their versatility. You should not expect to contact us and just pick a puppy and make it a service dog. It starts with the identification of natural traits as well as which puppies have a natural intrinsic desire to work. Then we match their natural traits to their owners needs. We start that process with our puppies as early as 3 days old with our ESI (Early Scent Introductions). Scent is used for many service related tasks such as Diabetic Alert type 1 and type 2, Heart Conditions, Seizure Alert to name just a few. For a puppy that has no interest in scent, he would not do well as a service animal in those capacities no matter how good the training program was that he moved into complete his training. It is just as important to have a puppy that has specific interests as it is to have a trainer that has the skills to train for those tasks. We help identify the traits in our puppies natural abilities necessary for the task(s) the client needs so the success rate of their training is significantly increased. Here at Central Coast German Shepherds I believe we can do a better job as breeders to identify natural traits of our puppies to be successful for those clients that wish to pursue Service Dog Training. This takes time and patience. Our Service Dog prospect homes are offered priority in puppy selection over all other selections.
We are proud to be a part of our community that can help others live more fulfilled lives through the power of a dog. Many of our dogs have worked throughout our community as Therapy Dogs in our convalescent hospitals (Therapy dogs are not considered Service Dogs in the ADA guidelines), we have placed puppies that have gone on to provide services such as Seizure Alert, Diabetic Alert, Pressure Therapy,
Although we do not offer fully trained service dogs, Some people will choose to purchase a dog already completely trained for service, this is the most expensive option, many times $30,000 - $50,000 and up. This typically starts with the trainer meeting with the clients and evaluating the clients for their needs and then matching a young dog or puppy to those needs and then the puppy remains in their training program sometimes up to 18 months. It is not required a person to hire a professional to train their service animal however, most do not have the skills to train their dog themselves. As an alternative, a client may reach out to a breeder to purchase a puppy and then enroll them into service dog training. If there has been no guidance in the selection of the traits necessary, it will lead to significantly increased risk of failure once training is completed. That dog may go on to work as a service dog in some capacity but risk of failure for his intended job is high.
What we do is we work with the client to identify their needs. Then we assess the puppies in planned litters to identify prospects. We are happy to work with the clients trainer as well through the selection process. We also can do specific testing for the clients needs throughout the puppies development. An example would be collecting saliva samples from a client to use with the litter to identify those interested in using their noses for that specific clients scent (such as for diabetic or seizure alert).
Typically, but not always, a owner will then take their puppy home and do the basic manners and house training and then enlist their professional trainer at about 8 months - a year for the specific training while working along with the trainer. They will sometimes enlist their trainer throughout the early manners training as well. This can save a client a significant amount of money in the early stages of puppy development when it is important to be bonding with the handler. In this option it would be very important for the client to follow through with the basic obedience training and heavy socializing during this time and remain in close communication with their trainer for the best opportunity for success. You see, it isn't just about getting a great puppy prospect that has a desire to work in specific tasks. There is a lot of work the client has to put into the puppy.