Service dogs make a world of difference to those who require them. They allow an individual to be their own person and independent.
In many cases, this would never be able to happen if it weren’t for the service dog they have. So, why are so many people getting fake service dogs?
The number of people getting fake service dogs, or passing off their dogs as service dogs, has steadily been growing.
Whether these people bought dogs from a breeder that claimed they were trained service animals, or they simply want to pass their own animals as service dogs, it’s a growing issue.
There are reasons as to why this could be happening, though, which we will discuss later in this post.
However, you might be wondering if it is at all possible to spot a fake service dog, and if so, how to do it.
If you would like to know what to look out for, just keep reading. We’ll be going through everything you need to know.
How To Catch A Fake Service Dog
Catching a fake service dog might be a lot easier than you initially imagined.
There are a number of key things to look out for, but first, you need to understand what a service dog actually is.
There is a lot of confusion between service dogs and other pets that people may have with them.
Understanding What A Service Dog Is
A service dog is a dog that is an animal that assists individuals in their day-to-day lives.
They are specially trained dogs that are trained to be able to help people with varying disabilities or conditions and improve their lives.
One of the most popular uses for service dogs you may know of is for those with visual impairments.
These dogs give people who would otherwise be unable to live independently a chance to live their own lives.
Service dogs are incredibly well behaved and trained. They will not act like normal dogs when exposed to stimuli.
For example, a service dog will not react to other animals around them, or people.
They should not be tempted by food like other animals would be, and will solely focus on their owners and their needs.
They are set apart from regular dogs, as their training has ensured that they are the ultimate helpers to their owners.
A Service Dog Vs An Emotional Support Animal
It’s important to understand the difference between a service dog and an emotional support animal.
Service dogs are highly trained to do jobs and functions for their humans. Their owners will either have an intellectual, physical, or emotional disability or condition that affects their daily lives.
An emotional support animal is simply an animal that provides companionship for their owner. These animals have no training, and can be any animal, from birds to llamas.
While these animals might be their owner’s “emotional support”, they are not service dogs, and should not be treated as such.
Signs To Look Out For In A Fake Service Dog
There are a number of seemingly obvious signs that you should be on the lookout for when trying to spot fake service animals.
We already know that a service dog can be any size, shape, or breed.
They can be any adult age, too. So, what can you look out for if you’re trainspotting fake service animals?: Their behavior.
A well-trained service dog will be very well behaved. They won’t be aggressive, loud, or cause problems.
They are trained to focus on their owner and keep track of their surroundings. These dogs should not react to you or other dogs, and are fully house trained.
In other words, you will not see a certified service dog being loud, starting fights, or having accidents inside.
Now, let’s take a look at some signs to look out for if you want to catch a fake service dog:
- They aren’t leashed
- They are being pushed in a cart or carried
- They are barking or whining
- They are pulling on their leash
- They want to sniff everything
- They look uneasy or nervous
- They steal food from tables or eat scraps on the ground
- They have “accidents” inside
- They are aggressive
- They are loud
- They are looking for attention
Why Fake Service Dogs Are An Issue
You might be wondering why any of this is an issue. There are a number of reasons why having fake service dogs can be problematic. Let’s take a look at them below:
- They place unfair scrutiny on real service dogs – when fake service dogs behave badly, it makes all service dogs (i.e, the “real” service dogs) look bad. This can result in discrimination of people who genuinely require their service dogs.
- They can be a danger to real service dogs – fake service dogs could be dangerous, which can result in them attacking real service dogs. This is a huge issue, as dogs and owners can be injured, as well as face financial repercussions.
- They can be a danger to their own owners – if a disabled person bought one of these fake service dogs when they never received any training, their life could be at risk. These dogs play a pivotal part in these peoples’ lives, and if they aren’t fully trained, there can be severe consequences.
- They perpetuate sales of fake service dogs – if people keep buying fake service dogs, breeders and companies will keep selling dogs with the sale label. This only means that the issue will continue.
What Should You Do If You Spot A Fake Service Dog?
If you have spotted a fake service dog, you should report the owner to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Website.
There, the website should provide phone numbers as well so that you can report the violation.
Fake service dogs might not seem like a big issue initially, but when you stop to think about it, they can ruin lives.
If you think that you have caught out a service dog for being fake, report the owners so that the appropriate steps can be taken.
By doing this, you will be protecting those who genuinely need their service dogs to live full and independent lives.