Service Dogs

  • The service dog must respond to commands (basic obedience and skilled tasks) from the client 95% of the time on the first ask in all public and home environments.
  • The service dog should demonstrate basic obedience skills by responding to voice and/or hand signals for sitting, staying in place, lying down, walking in a controlled position near the client and coming to the client when called.
  • The service dog must meet all of the standards as laid out in the minimum standards for Service Dogs in Public and should be equally well-behaved in the home.
  • The service dog must be trained to perform at least 3 tasks to mitigate the client’s disability
  • The client must be provided with enough instruction to be able to meet MSSD’s Minimum Standards for Service Dogs in Public. The client must be able to demonstrate:
    • That their dog can perform at least 3 tasks.
    • Knowledge of acceptable training techniques.
    • An understanding of canine care and health.
    • The ability to maintain training, problem solve, and continue to train/add new skills (as required) with their service dog.
    • Knowledge of local access laws and appropriate public behavior.
  • MSSD must document monthly follow ups with clients for the first 12 months following placement and then twice annually for the life of the dog. Personal contact will be done by qualified staff or program volunteer within 12 months of graduation and annually thereafter.
  • Identification of the service dog will be accomplished with the laminated ID card with a photo(s) and names of the dog and handler. In public the dog must wear a cape with a logo that is clear and easy to read and identifiable as a service dogs.
  • The program staff must demonstrate knowledge of the client’s disabilities in relation to the services they provide. The program shall make available to staff and volunteers educational material on different disabilities.
  • Prior to placement every service dog must meet MSSD’s Standards and Ethics Regarding Dogs, be spayed/neutered and have current vaccination certificates as determined by their veterinarian and applicable laws. It is the program’s responsibility to inform the client of any special health or maintenance care requirements for each dog.