3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
Service dogs are amazing. They can perform incredible tasks and even save the lives of their humans. They have gone through a lot of training to do what they do, so not just any dog can be a service dog.
However, some humans seem to think they can put a vest on their dog and get the same benefits that service dogs have. It might seem harmless, but more and more people have been doing it, which is disrespectful to real service dogs. With so many fake services dogs around, people don’t take these amazing dogs as seriously anymore even though some humans need these dogs to survive!
Many humans choose to pretend their dogs are service dogs or even emotional support dogs so they can avoid paying pet fees at apartments or on planes. When flying, Molly and I have seen lots of people with dogs that clearly weren’t real service dogs, and it’s sad that no one does anything about it. Of course, us dogs want to be with our humans 24/7, but it’s not fair to pretend to be someone you’re not.
Signs That a Service Dog is Fake
With service dogs, you are not allowed to directly ask if they are legit. However, you can ask two simple questions: “Does Your Dog Provide a Service?” and “What is Your Dog Trained to Do?” If the dog is truly trained to be a service dog, their human should be able to answer these questions specifically.
With emotional support dogs, it’s more difficult to tell and they’re easier to fake. You are allowed to ask more questions about emotional support dogs that you think are fake, but only airline employees, landlords, educational administrators are allowed to ask to see the official paperwork.
So, what are some key signs that a service dog is fake?
#1 – The Dog Barks or Whines
Usually, when a service dog makes a sound or disturbance, they’re trying to tell their human something. Oftentimes, they are trained to warn people of a stroke or panic attack. However, if the dog keeps barking uncontrollably for no reason, then they are likely not a real service dog. Service dogs go through extensive training to make sure that they are focused and well-behaved at all times.
#2 – The Dog Seeks Attention
Of course, humans love to pet dogs, but service dogs are working. They are not supposed to seek attention and want to be pet. Their own human is the only person that they should want attention from because they are trained to know that they have a job to do for that specific person.
#3 – The Dog is Not on a Leash
Much like every dog, service dogs should be leashed at all times, and they should walk well beside their human. They should not be tugging on their leash or falling behind while their human is walking. They should be trained to walk right beside their human with no problems.
#4 – The Dog Has Accidents Inside
Service dogs are also house-trained. They know that they are supposed to go to the bathroom outside, so there is no reason for them to go to the bathroom inside, especially in public.
#5 – The Dog is Easily Distracted
These dogs need to be focused on their human at all times, so they should not be distracted by smells such as other dogs or food. They should resist smelling items as they walk.
Of course, none of these signs alone are a guarantee, but they should definitely cause suspicion. Emotional support dogs are different than service dogs, because they don’t go through intense training, but they should still be well-behaved.
For both service dogs and emotional support dogs, humans should not have them unless they truly need them for a medical reason. Otherwise, they are ruining things for the people that truly do need them.
More laws are being created about cracking down on fake service dogs, but it is difficult to stop it from happening entirely. Please spread the word so that more humans can see that lying about their dog being a service or emotional support animal is not okay.
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