As the number of people with service dogs grow, so does the need for education on service dogs. For years dogs have been trained to provide a service to individuals with disabilities, to include guide dogs, hearing dogs, and mobility dogs. Today, dogs are being trained as service dogs for our veterans with who have PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury). As the use of service dogs are increasing I feel it is equally important to increase the education of service dogs.
A lot of businesses and business owners may be unclear on service dogs; like are they allowed in restaurants, how do I know if it’s a real service dog, what questions can I ask, ..etc. I feel an approach to this involves educating business owners and businesses on service dogs. Providing information on different types of service dogs, providing information on how they can handle a dog in their business that may be acting up, what questions can and can’t be asked, and more.
Being aware of this problem, and having a service dog myself I’ve seen first hand how there is a gap and some unclarity with businesses. I don’t entirely feel it’s their fault; it’s an education piece. So, this year one of my focus is going to be finding a way to slowly educate all types of businesses on service dogs, answer some questions, let them know what questions they can and can’t ask to the handler, how to handle a dog that’s acting up, and more.
I feel offering this education opportunity will be beneficial to not just the businesses, but also to those with service dogs. It’s tightening up the gap through education and will hopefully provide a pleasant business experience for the handler and their companion. The goal is to help cut down on fake service dogs, explain what a service dog is, how they are important, giving business tools they can use to handle and approach service dogs, and explaining why non-service service dogs should not be in business’ (stores and restaurants).
I think providing an opportunity to educate businesses about service dogs is beneficial and something I feel is currently not being addressed. I’m hoping to change that this year. I’ll keep everyone posted. My goal is to host something this year for businesses and business owners to attend.