Frequently Asked Questions

General Service Dog Questions

What is a service dog?

A service dog is a specially trained animal that assists individuals with disabilities to perform tasks they cannot do for themselves. These tasks can range from physical assistance to emotional support.

What tasks can service dogs perform?

Service dogs can be trained to perform a variety of tasks depending on the needs of their handlers. Some common tasks include alerting deaf individuals to sounds, retrieving objects, providing stability and balance assistance, detecting seizures, and interrupt repetitive or self-injurious behaviors common in children with autism.

Are service dogs considered pets?

No, service dogs are not considered pets. They are working animals trained to assist individuals with disabilities, and they are afforded legal protections under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States. They are allowed access to public places where pets are typically not permitted and are NOT to be charged pet fees for access.

Can anyone have a service dog?

Service dogs are specifically trained to assist individuals with disabilities, so they are intended for those who have a documented disability and a legitimate need for the assistance provided by the dog. The process of obtaining a service dog usually involves assessment by a healthcare professional and may require certification or documentation.

How can I identify a service dog?

In the United States, service dogs are not required to wear any specific type of identification or vest, and handlers are not obligated to carry any certification documents according to the ADA. However, service dogs are typically trained to behave calmly and professionally in public, and they are often equipped with identifying gear such as vests or harnesses. Handlers may carry documentation if required by certain establishments or authorities, but it's not legally necessary.  Any D.U.O dog trained under Do Unto Others Assistance Dogs will be expected to wear a D.U.O. vest, be leashed and under the control of the handler.
Handlers may be asked the following two questions:
Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Can businesses ask for proof of a service dog’s training or certification?

No, under the ADA, businesses cannot require documentation, certification, or proof of a service dog’s training. They can only ask the two questions mentioned above if the need for the service dog is not obvious.

Can service dogs accompany their handlers on airplanes?

Yes, according to the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) in the United States, service dogs are allowed to accompany their handlers in the cabin of an airplane free of charge. However, airlines may have specific requirements regarding documentation and advance notice, and it's advisable for handlers to check with the airline prior to traveling.

What’s the difference between a service dog and an Emotional Support Animal?

Not all animals that individuals with a disability rely on meet the definition of a service animal for purposes of ADA.  According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), an emotional support animal is any animal that provides emotional support alleviating one or more symptoms or effects of a person’s disability. Emotional support animals provide companionship, relieve loneliness, and sometimes help with depression, anxiety, and certain phobias, but do not have special training to perform tasks that assist people with disabilities.

I’ve heard of Therapy dogs, what do they do?

Therapy animals provide people with healing contact, typically in an institutional or clinical setting, to improve their physical, social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. While these types of animals receive extensive training and may interact with all sorts of people, including an individual with a disability, they are not trained to perform a specific task for an individual with a disability.

What laws protect service dogs and their handlers?
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Provides public access rights to individuals with disabilities accompanied by their service dogs.
  • Fair Housing Act (FHA): Allows individuals with disabilities to live with their service dogs in housing with no-pet policies.
  • Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA): Permits service dogs to accompany their handlers in the cabin of an aircraft.
What happens if a service dog misbehaves?

Service dogs are expected to be well-behaved in public. If a service dog is disruptive, the handler may be asked to remove the dog from the premises. However, the handler must still be provided with the same services as any other customer.

Are there specific breeds used as service dogs?

While certain breeds are more commonly used as service dogs due to their temperament, intelligence, and physical abilities, such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds, any breed or mixed breed dog can potentially become a service dog if they have the right temperament and ability to perform the required tasks. Smaller dogs are commonly used as alert dogs.

How  do I apply for a service dog?

Applying for a service dog involves several steps: research an organization that will fit your needs and consider factors such as their training methods, success rates, waitlists, and any associated costs. Determine eligibility, submit an application, assessment, interview and home visit, waiting period, training and placement.

Questions about Do Unto Others Assistance Dogs

How  do I apply for a service dog from D.U.O.?

Complete the application in full: To receive a service dog

If my SD retires, do I have to give up my dog?

With a D.U.O. service dog, recipients will not be required to return the dog unless they decide that they cannot handle two dogs. At that point, D.U.O. will work with the recipient to find the best placement for the retired dog.

How do I volunteer to raise a puppy/dog?

Fill out an application at: To be a Puppy Raiser
Or contact

As a puppy raiser, how long do I raise a dog?

The commitment to raise a dog for Do Unto Others Assistance Dogs may vary with the age of the dog. Typically raisers have a dog for approximately 6 to 8 months.

What expenses are covered for puppy raisers?

Do Unto Others Assistance Dogs will cover the food and normal veterinary expenses (vaccinations, preventatives) for all its dogs through its training period. If a dog is injured  or becomes ill due to negligence, the veterinary expenses would be the responsibility of the raiser.