I’m sure you’ve spotted dogs in public places and wondered if they were a service dog or not. You may not be surprised by this fact, but some people parade their pets around as if they are service dogs, when they are not. Service dogs are not limited to a particular breed of dog, as an owner can have a service dog for a variety of different needs, not just those pertaining to a sight impairment of some sort. For example, the owner may need alerting or a reminder to take medications. In some cases, the smaller, yappier dogs work great for an alert or reminder system. Actual service dog owners are not required to carry around any paperwork to prove that their dog is a service dog. Here are some behaviors to help you spot a fake service dog. However, if you have a real service dog, you can help to further publically authenticate your dog as a service dog by getting service dog patches.
Randomly Whimpering or Barking
A service dog would not be barking at other people or animals. They would also not be whimpering in any public situation. Some service dogs, who are trained to alert their owners to take medications, may whimper or bark. Also, in situations where someone may be showing signs of seizure, panic attack, or stroke, the dog is trained on what to do in certain cases, but usually, service dogs are very focused. They have a job to do, and these would not be your dogs out randomly whimpering or barking.
Sitting in a Shopping Cart or Being Toted
Different service dogs have different specialties. In some cases, where a dog is trained to monitor their owner’s heart or other functions, then the small dog may be nestled closely to the owner’s chest. However, in almost any case, if you spot a dog that is being carried, especially in a purse, then they are probably not a service dog. The same may apply to any dog that you see being pushed around in a shopping cart.
The sense of smell is major for dogs. When you have a pet dog, when he goes anywhere, to sniff around his surroundings is an instinctive response. However, in the case of service dogs, their urge to sniff can get in the way of their work. They usually stay more alert and focused on the task at hand, than pet dogs, even highly trained pet dogs. You won’t find service dogs sniffing over near everything in their environment, on the shelves and aisles.
If you have a real service dog, you can help to further publically authenticate your dog as a service dog by getting service dog patches.