All dogs are capable of being trained as service dogs as long as they are healthy and can perform the appropriate task or tasks. Breeds are not restricted, though certain dog breeds may be better suited to the task at hand. Hyperactive and aggressive dogs are not recommended because they need to stay focused when they are working in public.
If an aggressive dog is triggered by people or another animal, he cannot effectively work. Similarly, if a hyperactive dog is too sociable with others, he cannot focus on his work. This is also the reason why service dog advocates argue that people try to bend the rules when bringing their emotional support animalsout in public. In the past few years, certain states have passed legislation that makes bringing ESAs to public places illegal, so be sure to check your state’s laws.
Owners can choose to have their dog go through a training program with a professional or can choose to train their dog themselves. The former is highly recommended because they are best equipped to facilitate your dog’s learning. However, some of the biggest successes are when the owner is asked to participate in the final phases of training so that they can learn about each other and how to work with one another.
In the United States, there is no set standard for how long your service dog needs to undergo training. The international standard is 120 hours over a period of six months with at least 30 of those hours being in public places in order to acclimate your dog to his working environment. The ADA also does not specify a particular test or checklist of criteria.
Legally, people are not required to register their service dogs. However, certain governmental offices and colleges have voluntary registration programs that can help to identify service dogs in the event of an emergency evacuation. Identifying harnesses and leashes, while optional, are extremely helpful in public places. This way, people will know that your dog is hard at work and will know not to distract him with petting, etc. so that he can stay focused. You can find some excellent products here at SitStay.com
It is important to know the difference between service dogs and emotional support animals. Service dogs perform specific tasks for their owners and are granted access to public places whereas emotional support animals provide comfort and are not granted the same public access unless it is on an airplane or in living quarters where animals would otherwise not be allowed.
Almost any dog can be a service dog and not all of them need to go through professional training programs though it is highly recommended. Be sure to check what your local laws might be with regards to service dogs and emotional support animals. Identification is not required but it can be very helpful to let others know not to distract your dog while he is hard at work!