Trainers see a rise in ‘fake’ service dogs

When growing up Caitlin was influenced by the 1967 musical “Doctor Dolittle” and was so infatuated with the idea of talking with the animals that she named her first pet Polly, after Dolittle’s macaw, Polynesia.
In pursuit of becoming a “Dr. Dolittle” herself, Caitlin began volunteering for the local parks and rec department when she was 15 and continued to gain experience at local rescues, zoos, and aquariums eventually turning into a Zookeeping career. At the age of 16 she started traveling across the US to attend and learn from conferences every year. She hasn’t missed a trip yet. Caitlin graduated college with an Integrative Animal Biology degree and minor in Psychology.
Caitlin’s Animal Training was formed with the core value of “first, do no harm” when training. By providing in-home puppy raising packages and Service Dog coaching using this philosophy, Caitlin closes the knowledge gap in the community by using up to date and effective modern training techniques. Her goal is for everyone to become their own “Dr. Dolittle”.
Caitlin currently shares her home with a Parrotlet, a Giant Day Gecko, and Reiver her Australian Koolie dog.

As the prevalence of service dogs rises, so does the issue of fake service dogs. Many people may purchase vests, licenses, and certifications for their dogs to pass them off as legitimate service dogs. Unfortunately, these individuals do not understand the difference between real and fake service dogs. This is a problem because it’s difficult to spot a real service dog from a fake one.

Caitlin Bird, a service dog trainer, speaks about the differences between working dogs. Emotional support dogs require no training and have limited legal rights. Therapy dogs are trained to visit hospitals, rehab centers, and schools. Service dogs are specially trained to perform specific tasks for a person’s disability. However, many people mistakenly try to pass off their dogs as service dogs when they are not.

The rise of fake service dogs has prompted organizations to educate the public about what service dogs do and what distinguishes them from emotional support dogs and therapy dogs. Service dogs undergo rigorous training that can take up to two years. They are trained to perform specific tasks for a person’s disability, which sets them apart from emotional support dogs and therapy dogs.

It’s essential to note that purchasing service dog vests and certifications, when you do not have a disability, is illegal. It’s wrong because it undermines the work that legitimate service dogs do. A poorly trained dog posing as a service dog can be dangerous and could cause harm to those who rely on service dogs.

Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the difference between a service dog, an emotional support dog, and a therapy dog. This knowledge will help prevent the exploitation of service dog laws and ensure that legitimate service dogs receive the respect they deserve. While it may be tempting to pass off a dog as a service dog, it’s essential to remember that service dogs undergo intense training to perform specific tasks for their owners. As a result, buying a vest and certification to pass your dog off as a task trained animals is not only illegal but also highly disrespectful to the service dogs who help people with disabilities every day.

You can learn more about our Service Dog coaching program here. Have questions about what I did before coaching? Visit the about me section.

Join one of our courses and start shaping your dog to be happy and obedient today. We make sure every class is easily understood, and that all students reach the same level of expertise needed for their dog.

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