The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that regulates service animals and protects them and their users from discrimination. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) is a federal law that works in tandem with the ADA to ensure that service dogs are able to live anywhere with their users, even places that don’t allow dogs, at no extra charge.
Service dog users in South Dakota must follow both federal and state laws. However, know that federal law supersedes state law. South Dakota’s state laws regarding service animals are very similar to the ADA. Disabled people and their service dogs need to be given equal treatment and access when it comes to public accommodations such as hotels, lodging, amusement parks or resorts, restaurants, or anywhere else the public is allowed to enter.
Service dogs can be used by anyone with a disability, whether that disability be physical or mental. While the ADA does not cover service dogs in training, South Dakota law does; it allows service dog trainers to bring service dogs in training to all of the same public places as fully trained service dogs so long as the dog is wearing identification such as a harness that states they are a service dog in training.
What to Look for When Choosing Service Dog Training
Training a service dog yourself can be somewhat risky, as not all dogs are suitable for service work and it can be difficult to pick a dog that is. This is where choosing the right service dog trainer comes in. You’ll want to look for someone who has a good track record when it comes to training service dogs.
Trainers with a lot of experience often have a sense for which dogs will succeed and may even offer a service where they help you pick out a dog or can assess your own dog, which can be a great way to increase your chances of success. Unfortunately, the most successful and experienced trainers may have waiting lists, so you’ll want to think about how long you’re willing to wait.
You should also consider the type of training offered by each trainer. Does the trainer use balanced methods, e-collars, or force-free training? At USSA, we believe in only force-free methods and our courses reflect that, but you’ll have to decide if you are okay with using punishment to train your dog as balanced training and e-collars are essentially that.
Finally, you should think about what distance you’re willing to travel. Even if you find an amazing trainer, you likely won’t want to travel hours just to meet with them. For this reason, you might even consider taking an online course, especially if there aren’t many local service dog trainers.
Online vs In-Person Service Dog Training
In today’s digital age, almost anything can be done online, and that includes dog training! You may be wondering, what are the advantages and disadvantages to online vs in-person training? The biggest advantages of online training are that you can study from anywhere with an internet connection and it’s often quite affordable.
Online and in-person training aren’t that different. With both, you’re able to ask questions and get one-on-one support. However, in-person training can make it slightly easier to get support while doing public access training.
If you take a field trip with your dog to a public place, the trainer will be right there with you with in-person training. With online training, you can still take your phone to rewatch any guidance materials and reach out to a trainer if needed, but fieldtrips may be a bit more challenging and require more independence on your end.