For Service Dog Handlers

In keeping with our purpose of helping people with disabilities achieve greater independence and improve the quality of their lives, MSSD believes the following ethical criteria are essential to ensure that this mandate is reasonably and responsibly met.

The handler has a right to:

  • Be considered to receive a Service Dog regardless of race, sex,  religion or creed.
  • Treated with respect and dignity at all times in their dealings with MSSD’s personnel and representatives.
  • Receive a sound educational program to learn how to use his or her Service Dog most effectively at home and/or in public.
  • Receive appropriate education on his or her role as a  user of an Service Dog in the community.
  • Receive regularly scheduled team evaluation and follow-up support.
  • Receive information on or ask for assistance in the following matters:
    • Additional training for the dog that is needed due to a change in the client’s functional level.
    • A behavioral management problem with the dog.
    • A major veterinary problem.
    • Legal problems pertaining to the use and access of the Assistance Dog as allowed by law.
  • Expect that personal files will remain confidential and will not be disclosed unless he or she has given express prior permission.
  • Not participate in fund-raising or public relations activities without their expressed and voluntary permission.

The handler has the responsibility to:

  • Treat the dog with appreciation and respect
  • Practice obedience regularly
  • Practice the dog’s skills regularly
  • Maintain the dogs proper behavior in public and at home
  • Carry proper identification and be aware of all applicable laws pertaining to service dogs
  • Keep the dog well groomed and well cared for
  • Practice preventable healthcare for the dog
  • Obtain annual health checks and vaccinations for the dog
  • Abide by all leash and license laws
  • Follow MSSD’s training program requirements for progress reports and medical evaluations
  • Arrange for the prompt cleanup of dog waste

The community has a right to:

  • Expect a Service Dog to be under control at all times and to exhibit no intrusive behavior in public, therefore the client has the right be partnered with an appropriate dog and taught appropriate handling techniques.
  • Receive information concerning MSSD’s Program Standards and Ethics.
  • Request education on the benefits received by a person with a  disability through the use of a Service Dog.