Unfortunately, the amount of “fake” service dogs is increasing daily. People believe that if they treat their dog as a service dog, they can take them anywhere they please. This is disgusting behavior and often gives a bad reputation to legit hard-working service dogs. We compiled a list of some of the most common signs that a service dog is “fake.”
- The dog is being pushed in a shopping cart or carried. Service dogs are trained to monitor certain bodily functions and must be kept close to their owners. If a dog is being hauled around in a shopping cart or carried throughout a store, it cannot perform its duties.
- The dog is barking or whining. Some service dogs are trained to bark or whine as an alert to warn their owner of an impending medical emergency. However, a legit service dog would never bark at another dog or whine out of impatience.
- The dog is not on a leash or pulling on a leash. You will only see a highly skilled service dog out in public with a leash. Furthermore, service dogs have excellent leash manners. If you see a dog yanking on its leash, chances are they are not a service dog.
- The dog has indoor accidents. Service dogs are fully house-trained. Whether they did it on purpose or not, urinating or defecating indoors is unacceptable for a service dog.
- The dog looks nervous. Service dog training requires much socialization. If you see a service dog, it will seem calm and confident, regardless of its environment. Non-service dogs are scared by loud noises and big crowds, often tucking their tails between their legs.
- The dog is aggressive. A dog that is growling, lunging, or showing additional signs of aggression is not a real service dog. Service dogs are trained in protection, but this doesn’t mean they get aggressive with other animals.
Unfortunately, fake service dogs create a bad reputation for people who need their animals for medical or emotional purposes. It is also an insult to the hard-working service dogs that undergo months of intense training to learn how to do their jobs. We do not know what you will do with this information, but if you decide to approach someone about their dog, remember to do so politely. They have no legal obligation to answer a long list of questions.