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Psychiatric Service Dog certification

The Service and Therapy Dog forum is for all service and therapy dogs regardless of whether or not their status is legally defined by federal or state law, how they are trained, or whether or not they are "certified." Posts questioning or disputing a person's need for a service or therapy dog, the validity of a person's service or therapy dog, or the dog's ability to do the work of a service or therapy dog are not permitted in this forum. Please keep discussions fun, friendly, and helpful at all times.

  
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Rocky (RIP - 9/13/08)

491503
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 5, '07 7:10pm PST 
I have a Psychiatric Service Dog that i trained myself. Although i know it's not required by law, i would like to get him certified. does anyone know of some way to get him certified? Does anyone else have there PSD certified?
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
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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Rocky (RIP - 9/13/08)

491503
 
 
Barked: Tue Mar 6, '07 11:50am PST 
Thanks for the help! the only problem is trying to find a trainer in my area that will do that. i pretty much live in the boonies! lol but i'll try searching online for someone. thanks again!
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Tue Mar 6, '07 12:06pm PST 
I'm sure there's someplace local where you can take the CGC test, right? How about trying that trainer? In general, CGC testers know quite a bit about dog training and behavior, so it would be a good start!

And if you can't find anyone to test you in person, you can always use the Pets and People option. I chose not to use it, but I don't think badly of anyone for whom that's the best option!
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Nietzsche PSD

Dog? You must be- mistaken
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 21, '07 6:49pm PST 
I actually just had Nietzsche certified with the state of california today. What California requires is that your doctor write a letter that states that they believe that a PSD is a need that you have. I took that letter to county and they certified her with no questions asked. Also if you are prtected by HYPA so they cant ask what your disability is and refuse you. If you go to the website that Sabrina already gave you it will have a letter that your doctor can just fill in the blanks and print it on letter head.
I think being certified is more for the owner than for actaul legal reasons, but it really made me feel relieved that she is now "legally" a service dog and cant be refused her rights.
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 22, '07 9:22am PST 
California doesn't certify service dogs... They do issue an ID tag to service dogs and service dogs in training that live in the state, though! The state just wants proof that your dog is trained, and then they give you a tag, but they don't actually certify that your dog is a real service dog. In fact on the forms they have listed the penalties for faking it in the state of CA! It's a small difference, but I think it's an important distinction to make in case you ever had to go to court or anything you want to make sure you understand what all documentation you have!

It's like SARA (service animal registry of america) will sell you an ID card, but they won't certify your dog. If you want the ID card to say certified you have to get someone else to do the certification.

Hope that helps clear it up!
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Nolte (Retired Guide Dog)

Guide dog work- is a joyous- thing!
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 25, '07 8:52pm PST 
First, welcome... and wow do you have a cute mug!

Now to your person: my two cents? Why bother with certification? It's absolutely unnecessary and truly means nothing in the face of the law (in the US anyway).

This is both the beauty and the ugly of having a service dog. The beauty is certification is not necessary... professionally trained (school trained) dogs aren't certified... there's no such thing. It's the training that makes the dog a SD, not a piece of paper.

The ugly is... lol... certification is not necessary! ... so any John or Jane Q Public can pass their pet off as a Service Animal. Grrrrr.

The thing is, getting a piece of paper stating a dog is "certified" doesn't prove a thing. How can a basic dog trainer have a clue what a SD is supposed to do or how it's supposed to do it? I mean really, think about it.

This is part of the reaon there IS no national certification process... who would do the certifying? Experts from SD schools?... no, cuz every school and every trainer has their/his/her own methods for training. Because there is no such thing (legally) as certification actually makes it possible for people to train their own dogs... if there were a mandatory certification process, owner-trainers would have a much more difficult time and there'd no doubt be far fewer people willing to owner-train as a result.

Windy post to get to the point... don't bother. Not necessary. You are not legally required to "prove" that your dog is a SD. You may be asked what the dog does for you, but you cannot be asked to produce ID or any form of certification. Period.

Karen Ann & Kanine Krew
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The Boston Girls

Maddy is ONE- today!
 
 
Barked: Sun Mar 25, '07 10:57pm PST 
Nolte has made some very valid and well stated points! These in particular.....

This is both the beauty and the ugly of having a service dog. The beauty is certification is not necessary... professionally trained (school trained) dogs aren't certified... there's no such thing. It's the training that makes the dog a SD, not a piece of paper.

The ugly is... lol... certification is not necessary! ... so any John or Jane Q Public can pass their pet off as a Service Animal. Grrrrr.



Over the past few months the only argument I've seen here for the purpose of having your Service Dog certified is basically for the sole purpose of having documentation and paid trainers as "proof" to take to court for access challenges, I can't see that it would serve any other purpose for you to be certified, unless you are using it to prepare for legal battles.
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Sabrina- 2000~2012

To break- injustice we- must break- silence
 
 
Barked: Tue Mar 27, '07 11:00am PST 
I totally agree Nolte!

For me, there are two reasons I wanted to get Sabrina certified.

The first was I wanted to be sure that Sabrina was really well trained. I have a lot of self doubt, and I knew I'd never feel completely sure of her training when I was depressed unless I had a professional who supported it. So I found a professional trainer to work with, and I asked her to certify Sabrina because I wanted that proof for myself (I never show proof of certification to anyone else-- well OK I have shown off her ID card to friends!)

The second reason is that I wanted proof just in case I ever had to go to court. A psychiatric service dog is a newer type of service dog, and some judges might not know a lot about service dogs or might not believe in mental illness, people with mentall illness even having pets, or psychatric service dogs (yes, I've gotten emails even from fellow dogsters lambasting me for having mental illness and a dog of any sort)! So I figured that in case I ever had to go to court, I wanted to have all my ducks in a row just in case I got a mean judge. Is this a case of me always expecting a worse case scenario needlessly? Probably! But at least it gives me peace of mind, and hopefully if I ever did have to go to court it would help calm me down and maybe even support my case.

So while of course it is not necessary, these are the two reasons that I have chosen to do it-- and I don't think anyone else should feel forced to or that they shouln't-- it's a personal decision in my book! And for me, it's been only a very positive experience that I'm glad I chose to do!
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Ginger

Loving a cat/dog- is like being in- heaven
 
 
Barked: Sun Apr 1, '07 7:33am PST 
I hope you don't mind if I join this discussion. I have recently gotten approval from my doctor for a PSD and I have been training my own dog. I am very interested in what everyone is saying and I totally understand and agree about wanting to have all of your ducks in a row. I suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and depression and would like to feel confident that my dog will be able to stay with me in situations when I know I have a difficult time. In the US there is a CGCA and I have been looking into taking this for public access security. I have all of her medical papers in order. Does anyone else have suggestions to help me feel more secure?
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