JapanSavvy asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

If a dog assists with social anxiety, can he be a registered service animal?

I have Asperger's Syndrome, which makes social situations very hard for me, even in my own home. I also suffer from bouts of depression. I had a dog until about a year ago who helped me greatly with both these problems, but after 14 years he's died, and the problems are as bad as ever. I'm planning to purchase a puppy (NOT from a pet store, but from a reputable breeder or a rescue if I can find the right one), and I'm hoping to form a close bond with it also, through proper training and such. If this new dog is also effective at alleviating my Asperger's social anxiety, could I have him registered as a service animal, and take him with me into public places where my anxiety is the worst?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    No, or at least not under the ADA:

    "Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being are not service animals." -- U.S. Department of Justice, the government agency charged with regulating and enforcing the ADA as it pertains to service animals and public access.

    California state law might possibly cover emotional support animals, but this matter is in dispute.

    Service dogs must be individually trained to perform tasks their disabled owner cannot perform for themselves and those tasks must mitigate the owner's disability. There are real service dogs for people disabled by autism, but like all other service dogs they are actually task-trained: http://servicedogcentral.org/content/node/233

    Source(s): I'm a disability advocate specializing in service dog issues.
  • 1 decade ago

    First of all, there is no such thing as a "registered" service dog. There is not a real and valid registration or certification for service animals. Any "certification" is useless as far as the law goes.

    To be eligible for a service dog you must meet the ADA definition of disabled. Most people with Asperger's do not. The kind of dog you're talking about is called an Emotional Support Animal, which DO NOT have public access rights. Meaning you can't take it anywhere that a typical pet is not allowed. In order to get an ESA you would need to have a letter saying you are legally disabled and that an ESA would help you manage your disability.

    Dogs whose purpose is to provide comfort (even for anxiety) are NOT service animals, but are companion animals (pets). Also, having a dog with you all the time in public will not alleviate social anxiety, it will cause more people to look at you and come up to you and most of them will not be nice. It will put you in stressful situations.

    ESA's are a great choice for many people, so maybe consider that.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You're receiving a lot of misinformation here. I suggest you visit a reputable source, such as http://www.servicedogcentral.org/content/

    In order for a dog to be considered a service dog, it must meet the legal definition of such. Typically, this requires 18-24 months of dedicated training by a professional or a program. The dog learns obedience, as well as how to act in a public place. The dog must have an outstanding temperament and pass a series of health checks. Service work is demanding.

    The dog must do something that directly mitigates your life-limiting disability. You must meet the legal definition of "disabled" to have a service dog. Discuss with your doctor whether or not you are actually disabled. Just because you have a diagnosis, doesn't automatically mean you have a disability.

    Just being there so you feel better and providing comfort is not a task for a service dog.

    Emotional support animals are NOT allowed to accompany their handlers into places of public accommodation. They are merely pets, not highly trained assistance animals. A doctor's note doesn't make an animal a service animal - its training, however, does.

  • 5 years ago

    I'm not clear on what your asking. Yes, you can get service dogs for anxiety and panic disorders. You start by filling out paperwork (you can do this online) at a facility that trains service dogs. It does not have to be in your state, but choosing a facility closer to you will be better for you. You most likely will have to do some sort of training course with your dog to learn all the commands and the what to do and what not to do, and to also make sure that you and the dog they have chosen is a good fit. You will be with other people and their dogs during the training though. I hope this answered your question. Feel free to email me if you have anymore questions.

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  • 5 years ago

    Here are my results: We trained my 1yo poodle puddles to stop biting the sofa in just 5 days. No problem at all. it just took using the Dog discipline magic system we researched on google.

  • Smuag
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    For an emotional support animal (which is what your dog would essentially be) all you need is a doctors letter saying that the animal is essential to your mental healthy (in your case, reducing anxiety). The Americans with Disabilities Act protects you from having to show proof (and a description) of your disorder, but the note will need to say that it is a mental, rather than physical, disability. I would suggest getting some sort of vest for him so that he can be identified as a working dog and you won't be bothered by anyone.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, you can. The dog will have to take a test to see if it really helps and is well trained, with good enough manners to safely be around people in large numbers.

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