|Barked: Tue Mar 6, '07 9:01am PST |
|Hi, and welcome to dogster! I decided to get Sabrina certified because I wanted external proof that she is a well trained service dog. Certification is basically a piece of paper saying that someone thinks your dog is a service dog. So there are several ways you can go to get your dog certified. There are of course some internet sites that will "certify" your dog sight unseen-- these I wouldn't waste your money on! There are other internet sites that will certify you if you send them a videotape of your dog doing their public access tests. This is much better, and have been very useful for some people I know, but personally I prefer to have a trainer do a test in-person. Pets and People is a site that I've heard of that does this videotape certification.
For in person testing, the most well known option is go to a recognized school and get tested... However, a lot of schools will not certify psychiatric service dogs, and the expenses involved in getting to those schools are sometimes prohibitive.
What I did, though, was hire a local trainer to give me my own public access test. The trainer doesn't have to be a "service dog trainer"-- just make sure that they are a trainer with some sort of official training themselves. What I did was I took group classes with local trainers until I found one that I clicked with. Then I approached her and asked her if she would be willing to help me get certified.
My trainer is Nancy Frensley www.finessedogtraining.com and she normally teaches agility, rally, CGC (she's a CGC tester, too) and basic obedience for the local humane society.
The test I used is from http://www.psychdog.org/publicaccess.html. The link to a scorable test sheet is at the bottom of this page. I actually worked with my trainer for about 6 months before taking the test because Sabrina was still SDIT and had a few issues to work out. Then on the day of the test I had my husband videotape it-- you can see some of the video on Sabrina's page, near the middle right side of the page. After the test (which Sabrina scored 100% on!!!), my trainer wrote up a letter saying how Sabrina did on the test and that she's certified.
Personally I really like this way of getting certified. I really like having a professional trainer there in person, and I have a good business relationship with this person so that if I ever were in court due to an access challenge and they tried to challenge Sabrina's validity as a service dog, I feel like I have ample proof that she is (I also have information from my doctor, so the certification is only half of the proof!). I do know someone else who had a local trainer but they didn't feel they could certify so the local trainer gave the Pets and People test, they videotaped it and sent it to Pets and People. That's another option!
Best of luck with the certification process!
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