How Do I Get a Service Dog?

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Hey everyone! This video is hopefully helpful to all those who are out there wondering if a service dog might be a good option for them, and some simple guidelines to help you get started. I want to note that this video should be used as a guide and nothing more. One should use various different resources when looking at the option of a service dog. ~ Please remember that you must be DISABLED to have a service dog. I do not condone nor tolerate those who take advantage of the law and unlawfully pretend to have a disability, or ignore this aspect of the ADA, in order to tote their animal/dog around with them.

ADA Guide:
Service Dog ADA FAQ:

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72 Comments on “How Do I Get a Service Dog?”

  1. My doctor was ecstatic that I wanted a SD and he watches the videos each month for our checkups. My SD pup in training has already reduced my meds. I owner train so I can get what I need. Thank you Claire and Percie for your great videos!

  2. Under the ada I’m disabled, but I don’t have legal disability like a parking sticker for handicapped spots…am I still disabled? I’m just trying to understand haha thanks any advice would be appreciated!

    1. Sebastian Davies-Sigmund
      Unfortunately the ADA is so badly written. If you say you are disabled. Then legally you are disabled. No proof required. NO ONE CAN ASK YOU TO PROVE YOU ARE DISABLED!!
      If you say your pet is a service dog. Then legally your pet is a service dog.
      If you want to get a parking permit. You must prove you are disabled and you need a handicap parking permit.
      No you see what is wrong with the ADA-service dog law. That is why the FBI says 68% of all service dogs are fake!!!

    2. yeah of course! having a mental handicap doesn’t always interfere with your mobility, and so you are not (to my knowledge) physically handicapped.

    3. Sebastian Davies-Sigmund yes you are still disabled. The handicap sticker is for people that are like somewhat immobile or can’t walk far distances

    4. Alexa Brockhausen
      My sarcastic point I was trying to make is. If you want a handicap parking permit. Your doctor MUST sign a statement saying you are disabled. And the doctor MUST say your disability makes walking a long distance difficult.
      In other words if you want a simple handicap parking permit YOU MUST PROVE YOU ARE DISABLED AND YOU HAVE DIFFICULTY WALKING FAR!! It must be signed by a local doctor and must specialize in your disability. In other words a social worker in California and you live in Florida. It doesn’t matter what she says. You can’t get a parking permit because 1) she is not your local doctor. 2) She doesn’t specialize in your disability. You must prove you need a handicap parking permit!!
      With Service Dogs. The ADA relies on honesty. Why would someone lie about being disabled and needing a Service Dog? Because people learn how to take advantage. Non-disabled people just need to lie! No proof required! If you ask about your fake disability , your need for a Service Dog. The fake disabled person can easily sue you and win. It is one of the easiest lawsuits to win big bucks.
      No one minds about proving you are disabled to get a parking permit!

  3. This video was very helpful I was thinking of getting a service dog of my own this helped me so much thank you

  4. Claire you’re so informative and explain everything so thoroughly. This sure is a tricky topic and that’s why videos like this are so important. Thank you for making the effort to further discuss the many different ways of coming to the the end goal of having a service dog. I’m sure it means a lot to everyone who may be thinking of potentially going down this road. ❤️❤️

    1. I agree. Claire. You take the time to break it down for anyone to understand. You are so mature. I am a new subscriber. But I sure have enjoyed the videos I have seen so far. P is sooo beautiful and cute. Y’all make a wonderful pair. 💜💜💜🐾🐾🐾

    2. Jennifer Miller …yep same here. Very impressed with this young lady. Thanks for the great info Claire. I’m considering a service dog as well.

  5. I truly think a service animal would really help me with my panic attacks, anxiety, and depression but my parents have told me that I’m not going to become one of those crazy people who needs to bring a little dog to cuddle with everywhere. As you can tell my parents know a LOT about service dogs.

    1. Katelyn Pendergraff i know same here i always have really bad panic attacks and anxiety and depression etc. and my grandma always says that i don’t need one but i honestly think that it will rlly help:/

    2. @Katelyn Pendergraff I’m sorry your parents are so unsupportive. I don’t know if a service dog is right for you or not, but I certainly can’t fault you for not feeling so trusting of people who are quick to belittle you and not even to bother listening to you or putting themselves in your shoes. If they are saying those things like you don’t need to cuddle a puppy everywhere or whatever it was they were saying,, then they are also belittling other people with anxiety, depression, etc. including veterans! (and I am one as well!) It’s one thing to think that maybe a service dog isn’t a right fit for you, but it’s another to just belittle and shame you for wanting to have one.

      In your defense, I don’t remember you saying anything about a service dog being a “magic solution” (people don’t need to be putting words in your mouth that were never there), but just wanting to try something that might be helpful when nothing else seems to. I had suicidal thoughts during the time I was taking anti-depressant/anxiety medication, and I highly doubt, even though it would be a lot of responsibility and it might even affect my social life and some relationships if I _do_ get one, that “side effects” from having a service dog would include thinking about hurting myself.

      Thankfully though, those who matter most to me (INCLUDING my mother!) _have_ been very supportive about the idea of having a service dog. As for me, it’s not in stone but it _is_ still on the table for me.

      I hope your parents knock their insensitive bull crap off and start thinking more about your feelings and what might help you (instead of their ego or they’re precious image) and consider this as a possible option for you, whether it turns out to be right for you or not. Maybe your parents aren’t “evil,” but they can definitely lose their one-sided belittling shameful attitude toward you and the suffering you’ve been dealing with. *_That’s_* what I have a problem with, not their uncertainty that this is right for you but their closed mindedness that is apparently making it more difficult for you to feel like you can open up to them about your feelings. They obviously have a few things to learn about the _delivery_ of their difference of opinion.

      If a service dog is right for you, I truly hope you are able to get one. If it turns out that it is not in your best interest, I hope you find peace from your suffering by another way. I know what it’s like to have panic attacks, anxiety, and depression, and I know what it’s like to feel hopeless about the future, so I can definitely sympathize with you.

    3. @Katelyn Pendergraff I know I’m a little late on responding to this but I too am researching the possibility of getting a service dog (I am High Functioning Autistic with a history of seizures that go back to my early childhood. we’re talking the the early 1990s when I got my diagnosis. yes I’m in my late 20s. I also have sensory issues that come with the Autism and was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune condition as of September of this year.) I’m still in the research phase since I live in a state with not so many resources and may have to travel out of state to find an organization. but someone I met with about this did say that if I wanted to do this locally, I would have to look into adopting a rescue dog and finding a local trainer. it’s also a matter of finances, I currently work a dead end job at a community college that I hope to get out of soon for “greener pastures” because I’m barely making enough to support myself on SSI and minimum wage.

  6. Is a therapist able to ‘perscribe’ a service dog. My dog is completely trained and dose his tasks but my therapist still won’t wright me a letter for him to accompany me to school because she believes she isn’t qualified to. She does believe he helps me and he will continue to help me but she is still worried about feedback.

    1. they are not able to prescribe it but they can write a letting saying that she treats you and believes that this will help you but you would have to see a psychiatrist who is able to prescribe medication to have them write a prescription for you. but if you go to a public school as far as i know they cannot ask for a doctors note/prescription

    2. Sd/psd is medical equipment and is allowed anywhere in “public” that the handler can go and that includes public schools/colleges/universities. Asking for documents is illegal under ada law. I recommend reading ada laws and your state laws on sd/sdit. People can only ask you. 2 questions which is is that a service dog and ask what task or tasks does your dog perform. They can’t ask or demand papers or an id because they are valid under federal law and means nothing in the court of law. Also ask for the school’s policy on sd’s. Sorry I can’t be more helpful

    3. Turk Service Staffy you could try bringing up the ways your dog benefits you. However, if this method does not work you could try going to a different therapist and bringing it up there. Good luck!

    4. Where I’m at, they have to put in a request and it’ll be reviewed by insurance and if it’s necessary. She can only write notes for ESA

  7. I am going through the process of convincing my parents that a service dog will help me, I don’t necessarily need their approval since i no longer live with them however I am having a hard time finding a doctor who will confirm my disability. My psychologist says he is not eligible to confirm this for the SD organization I am going through to get my SD. I just recently switched my physician therefore she does not understand the physical portion of my disability. Which do you think is better to receive confirmation from, a doctor or a psychiatrist??

    1. Do you have documentation saying what you’re diagnosed with? Sometimes organizations will accept this and a written description of how your diagnosed disability/issues affects your life. It’s worth a try

    2. A psychologist is not recognized as a “medical Doctor”. Legally – a Doctor. a medical doctor, is allow to prescribe legal drugs, devices, etc – which assist you in working with your disability.

      a psychologist is kinda like a psychiatrist – who cannot write prescriptions for drugs.

    3. +That girl over there … I understand where you are coming from. The problem with medical practitioners – in Western Medicine, is the reliance on hard evidence, something which clearly show improvement (using drugs, bandages, prosthesis or other intervention protocols which can clearly be reproduced …on demand). They seems to discount the human factor – can you and the dog ‘bond” easily?

      The diagnosis of PTSD, like when military veterans suffered (for decades) before a diagnosis of traumatic stress was finally recognized as a “real” disease.

      Still, the first treatment will likely be medicines, pills, group therapy rather than holistic treatment where the entire person is evaluated – rather than each individual symptom.

      There is bias against breeds other than the current; recognized preferred animals….most of who (currently) are bred, specifically as “Service” animal candidates.

      *note: in my case I specifically requested/required a service animal which could/would be very persistent – even in the face of my depression induced fears. That is asking a lot of a service animal who normally is trained to obey on command.

  8. I just wanted to say, a service dog,therapy dog,or emotional support animal 9.9/10 (really wanna say 10/10) is not certified online by getting a kit with a certificate and ID. In fact a lot of the times, an ID from one of these kits is bad for those with a legitimate service dog, because then a manager at an establishment believes it is okay to ask for an ID and then may refuse a real service dog entry because “there’s no proof” when really there is no proof besides asking a handler the 2 legal questions, “is it a service animal?” And “What tasks is it trained to perform?”

    1. Service Angel Percie thank you for your link. I am in the process of seeing if I am eligible for a service dog and stumbled upon your channel while doing some research. From the videos I’ve seen, I love your personality and think you and your dog are just adorable(in a not weird way I swear lol) keep making videos !! 🙂

    1. Service Angel Percie im a type 1 diabetic and im going to be getting a service dog soon im very happy but its going to be frustratimg when kids come up and pet thwm you never pet a service dog thx for the video!!!

    2. Lps_Vämpïrēß _ I have the same disability as you! I want a service dog badly but I don’t know where to find one of at an organization. I have looked into it but most things I have found are very expensive. Do you have any suggestions as to where I can find one? I have look into diabetic alert dogs of America but, are there other, better sites/organizations?

    1. Talk to your Doctor… he is the one who will need to “Certify” be held legally responsible, that your disability prevents your quality of life, in ways which qualify you for inclusion under ADA guidelines.

      No one on line can tell you where you stand when it comes inclusion under ADA guidelines and for 100% certainty, they will not be able to write your prescription to certify your disability.

      Talk to your Doctor!

  9. Hey, I have anxiety and panic attacks that aren’t like explicit meltdowns, but it does keep me from being able to go out and enjoy hobbies and things that a lot of people that can do. I have found that my friend’s SDIT performs alerts on my anxious habits (i.e scratching, leg bouncing, etc.) My friend had their dog do dpt on me and it really helped. With them and their dog, I was able to go out that day. I brought my idea of getting a service dog up to my mom but she says that she doesn’t want any more “pets” until I can move out and keep them myself (im 13) and she also doesn’t want me taking meds for it (she doesnt want a “label” on me). What do I do? And do I even meet the requirements to need a service dog? It’s confusing and scary and she is point blank against the meds and a service dog is really the only method I can turn to, but she won’t let me find one.

    1. I’m going through the same thing, I tend to get very large anxiey any where I go. I have been thinking of trying to get a service dog, but my parents doesn’t believe my anxiety (even though a doctor diagnosed me with it) exists. I’ve been taking dance for 10 years now and class becomes hard when you are shaking when you have to turn. I can’t takr medication because I’m to young, but I wish you the best of luck. Inform me of your journey!

    2. Creepy Biscuits I leg bounce a lot, finger tap, squeeze my leg, and pop my knuckles whenever I get even a little anxious.

    3. Michela Molteni DTP is the acronym for deep pressures therapy. It is when the animal puts it’s weight on your body, normally legs, to keep you grounded and to lessen an episode

  10. I’m a little confused if I would be eligible to get a service dog.. I have bad anxiety when it comes to talking to people I don’t know. Like I deliberately try to avoid even going near anyone I don’t know and won’t let them even hear my voice, like I am almost completely silent when it comes to bowling with my parents or friends. If they even try to talk to me i just smile and nod or hug them if they’re having a rough time. So, would I be legally allowed to have a service dog?

    1. RoxyRoja
      Yes it is also legal to smash your hand with a hammer. You are a pit bull fanatic. If your pit bull attacked you. You would spend the last minutes of your life. No, you won’t call your family and say goodbye. You will be on the phone to your lawyer defending your dog.
      I know you are a believer. You will only see the best. You blame everyone everything except your dog. Please step back and not look with your heart. Look logical with your mind.
      Please if you see a working team. Forget your pride and your rights.
      Take a minute and move over and let them safety pass. Forget about educating a team who is afraid of you. If you were in that situation. What would you want them to do?
      Please move out of there way.

    2. RoxyRoja
      You are absolutely completely blind. You actually believe that a Chihuahua’s bite is more deadly then an adult male un neutered pit bull. There isn’t any point trying to educate you.
      I am not trying to threaten you. This is a fact. I live in the real world. I know the ugly facts about Pit bulls. They are so badly inbred that they suffer the mental problems associated with severe inbreeding.
      I will warn all PIT BULLS AND OTHER BULLY DOGS! If the owner is living in fantasy world and ignores my warnings. BECAUSE OF IRRESPONSIBLE PIT BULL OWNERS who must put my dog and myself in mortal danger to protect their fantasy.
      I and others are forced to carry large cans a very powerful bear mace. Guaranteed to stop a charging bear. I won’t hesitate to soak your monster and for good measure YOU!!! I used an entire can on one very nasty monster.
      Don’t worry I always call the police. The monster is always taken away to be tested as a dangerous dog. You will receive a ticket for harboring a dangerous dog and interfering.
      People don’t have to sit on their hands and wait for your monster to attack.
      Please if you are afraid of your shadow. Get a concealed carry gun permit. A gun is much safer than a PIT BULL.

    3. RoxyRoja
      The only safe solution is to automatically neuter each and every PIT BULL AND OTHER BULLY DOGS. Love them and allow the breed to die out and become a sad footnote in history.
      You don’t understand people don’t HATE pit bulls. We know how badly inbred they are. We know about the mental problems.
      Again it isn’t hate. It is FEAR. People react the way we do out of FEAR! The number one thing pit bull owners do wrong is try and educate. God help any pit bull owner who tries to educate my grandchildren without expressed written permission signed and notarized by both parents. I will sue you for endangering my grandchildren. This is the same thing as encouraging a little child to play with a loaded gun with the safety off.

    4. RoxyRoja
      You obviously live in a fantasy world. I and most people don’t HATE these badly indeed monsters. We are deathly AFRAID of what these monsters do. I know in your fantasy world pit bulls are loving friendly angels.
      The rest of us see what these insane violent dangerous monsters do every day. How they can be giving kisses one minute and ripping a face off.
      Education is the very worst thing you can do. The best way to overcome this fear is for the pit bull owners control there dogs and prevent them from murdering a child or pet for just one week. Once you can stop pit bull attacks people will start to believe they aren’t dangerous monsters.

  11. I have severe anxiety, mild depression and moderate PSTD. Does this qualify me? I don’t want to ask my doctor if I don’t qualify…… I know you’re not a doctor but what do you think? My mom seems to think it’s a good idea.

    1. Cassie Jackson I have the same disabilities. As long as the problem prevents you from doing daily tasks and can cause problems (ex. emotional stress, triggering an attack, etc). A SD is to assist a person and help give them a form of independence. You are qualified as long as you cannot cope with your problems and it prevents you from doing things normally/day to day task. Do some research too, maybe that can help answer your question a bit more. Also, if your mother thinks it would help, I would register for the wait list. And ask your doctor, that can give you a push in the right direction.

  12. I always have panic attacks going out in public that it gets to the point where I have to sit down in a quite place were no one ELSE is and I’m fricken out that I can’t even breathe , me having Asthma isn’t so good I can’t breathe but every time that happens when I go out in public. It even happens when I am at school and I randomly just walk out of class I know it’s wrong of me to do that but I can’t help it because I just get so panicked and really can’t concentrate

    1. Happy subscriber. Me too. I have panic attacks in large crowds and I carry a water bottle everywhere and sometimes that doesn’t even comfort me and I can have a really bad panic attack

  13. for those wondering if your anxiety or depression is “valid” enough to have a service dog, read this.

    everyone who deals with depression and anxiety is valid, and shouldn’t be put down because someone has it “worse.” this being said, just because you do have depression and anxiety, doesn’t always mean a service dog is right for you, and/or you are qualified to have one.

    for example, I am in the process of owner-training my puppy to be my service dog. he will be trained to perform certain tasks such as deep pressure therapy to alleviate anxiety attacks and panic attacks. (for me they are different) he will block when i am feeling faint as a side affect of my medication, as well as perform light pressure therapy in social situations, remind me to take my medication, and aid me in getting out of bed, giving me a reason to. (i also have sensory ocd, but that’s a different matter)

    hopefully with him, i will be able to slowly wean myself off of medication, allowing myself to have a better quality of life without side affects.

    the way i figured out i needed a service dog was i wrote a list of all the tasks he could perform for me. i do have a disability, but i was not sure if a sd would mitigate it. by coming up with different tasks, i was able to figure out that he indeed would be helpful.

    1. Roy it is incredibly uninformed to say that owner trained service dogs cause problems. Poorly trained service dogs, whether they come from an “organization” or are owner trainer, cause problems. Many owner trained service dogs have impeccable manners, especially those whose handlers worked with a trainer. Service dogs from certain organizations are known to be poorly behaved. You’re right that in general you are guaranteed a well trained service dog from an organization… but it is far from true that it is free. Many awesome organizations do provide their service dogs for free or for only donations, but many others will still train reputable dogs but require you to pay the $20,000-$40,000 and this can often equate to getting a dog faster as the organization spends less time fundraising.

      Plenty of good schools train with treats. A good school trains with whatever the dog is best motivated by. If a dog is best motivated with treats, they would train with healthy, reasonable amounts of treats. If a dog is best motivated by attention or toys, of course this is best. It is also very ill informed to say Pitt Bulls can’t be service dogs. According to the ADA, any dog can be a service dog. This is reflected in the fact that there ARE service dogs who are pitt bulls. Breed does not determine temperament in every case, only generally. Of course the dog must be 100% non aggressive. There are pit bulls that are 100% non-aggressive, and who make wonderful service dogs. It’s wonderful that a person never pays for a guide dog and some of what you shared is certainly guide dog specific, which I am less familiar with, but please be aware that your experience and the experience of specifically guide dog handlers is NOT the same as service dogs widely. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but no service dogs are paid for by the government, as far as I am aware.

    2. Sydnee W I didn’t know that you were eligible to have a service dog for anxiety. Thank you! I do have pretty bad anxiety.

    3. While pit bulls are far from my first choice for service dogs, when I went to the VA to get some blood work done someone else who was also waiting to get blood work done had a service dog who happened to be a pitbull. Apparently that dog had proven herself the world over, so at least I know I would be able to approach that particular pit and not be afraid of her. I can’t say the same for pitbulls I might see in passing while walking down the street. But apparently there are some who will still do the job well.

      As for me, if I end up getting a service dog, I would go for a Golden Retriever since I have wanted a golden retriever for more than half of my life! If it turns out that I only qualify for an ESA, because I don’t drive and have to take the public transit so the dog would have to be small enough to put in a carrier (only service dogs can board without a carrier), in that case I will look into a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as my backup option.

  14. I have OCD ( an anxiety disorder) where I always panic about things like whether the door is locked, windows are closed, oven is off etc. Yes, I have been told by TWO professionals. My doctor and a therapist. I’ve had it for many years and I do have anxiety/panic attacks but I still don’t know if I qualify as “disabled”. I also live in Canada.


    1. I have the same thing, I stress about doors locked, time, my family, but the one that sometimes kept me from calming at night was the door, I thought someone was breaking in at least a dozen times, I live in a good neighborhood but still worry. Lol, if any of these things prevent you from day to day activities, talk to a doc. But if they are easily rid of, then your oki. I don’t have it as bad as others but some do.

  15. So I have really bad anxiety to the point to where it’s so hard for me to leave my house andI’ll start to cry and stop breathing also I will make a friend come with me if I need to do something alone but I also can get very paranoid very fast and I could stay up all night just thinking someone’s outside my house when really no ones there and if I get paranoid out in public I’ll look everywhere and anywhere I can and I may have a PTSD I’m not sure I’ll have to do more research and talk to a doctor and I’m kinda scared to ask about a service dog so I’m going to ask you what I should do since you seem trustworthy and smart…
    Thank you 💜

  16. I got Hunter when I was in 1st grade I had ptsd since than. I am in 4th grade and Hunter is a legitimate service dog people in my school all ways try to pet Hunter and one day someone in my school faked a service dog into school and got spended. I hope it never happens again but I have to live with my ptsd all tho I hate it.

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