How To Catch A Fake Service Dog: Guide

There has been an increase in the number of service dogs turning up in public places. This might not seem bad, except that some of these service animals could be fake. It is not unconnected to the fact that some people try to pass their pets off as service animals.

How to catch a fake service dog

They do this to take undue advantage of the benefits that people who have genuine assistance would get.

Passing your dog off as a service dog is not only unethical, it can also cause issues for those who do not have fake service animals. In this guide, we’ll look into some practical methods to identify a fake service dog.

How To Catch A Fake Service Dog

1. They Are Being Carried Around

Service dogs are trained in different kinds of jobs. Irrespective of their specialty, they always need to be ready to work.

This implies that they cannot be carried about in a purse or driven about in a shopping cart. However, some dogs may be held close to a person’s chest. These dogs are trained to monitor certain bodily functions.

2. They Seek Attention From Strangers And Other Pets

Service dogs are trained to provide service to their owners, and they should do just that. They know they have a job to do. Hence, they should only focus on the person at the other end of the leash. You should not find service dogs poke nosing into other people’s affairs.

If you observe that a “service” dog is going around seeking belly rubs or head pats, you might just have spotted a fake service dog.

3. They Are Not On A Leash

However ironic this might seem, you will never see a trained service dog in public without a leash. Although service dogs are capable of staying with their owner, leashes are used to guard the dog.

In addition, using a leash is an essential part of being a responsible dog owner. One sure way to catch a fake service dog is to see whether they are on a leash.

4. They Pull On The Leash

It might seem out of place to state that service dogs need to be put on a leash. Because they are always leashed while working, they have commendable leash manners. Service dogs never pull nor do they stray away from their owners.

It is not unusual to find some service dogs lean into their harnesses as part of their job. Dogs used for support assistance and mobility mostly do this. Even at that, they do not sway their owners in different directions as they wish.

5. They Mark “Territories”

Service dogs should not be spotted marking territories. A dog that has not been fully house-trained should never be taken into indoor places in public areas. Indoor accidents are not always accidental, especially for male dogs.

Instead, it is the dog’s way of marking its new surroundings. You should not find service dogs defecating or urinating in public places like the restaurant or a store. Pooping or peeing indoors is unacceptable behavior for service dogs.

6. They Seem Nervous

Another way to spot or catch a fake service dog is to observe if they are nervous. A significant part of service dog training is socialization. Service dogs are trained to always look calm and confident no matter the situation going on around them.

If you discover that a ‘service’ dog is disturbed, frightened or uneasy by the loud noises or big crowds, it is a big indicator that it is a fake service dog.

In addition, service dogs would neither cringe nor tuck their tails in between their legs.

7. They Attack Other People And Animals Unprovoked

Although some service dogs are trained to protect their owners, this does not translate to attacking other people or animals without being directed to.

Ways to catch a fake service dog

Any service dog that growls, attacks, or shows other signs of unnecessary aggression is a fake service dog.

8. They Steal Food

It is almost considered a norm for pets to steal food. Stealing food is a hard habit for pets to break. Whether it is off a table, on the ground, or out of someone’s hand, pets generally find it hard to resist.

However, one of the first lessons service dogs learn is to resist temptation. You should not find a service dog stealing food.

9. They Sniff Everything

When you hear the word “dog”, part of the things that come to mind is their high sense of smell. All dogs rely on their sense of smell.

It is very common to see dogs sniffing everywhere when they are being taken on a walk. However, service dogs are trained to stay focused, and you should not find one sniffing everything in the grocery store.

If you find a so-called service dog tweaking its nose at the restaurant or a gathering, know that it is a fake.

10. They Whine Or Bark Unnecessarily

Some service dogs alert or warn their owner of impending medical emergencies, either by barking or by whining.

Asides from these occasional sounds, a service dog would never whine out of impatience or bark at another dog. Service dogs that whine or bark unnecessarily should be regarded as impostors or fake service dogs.

How To Spot A Fake Service Dog Certificate

It should be noted that there is no official registry or database of service dogs. Hence, owners of service dogs are not required to get or carry any kind of certificate. In addition, businesses are not allowed to ask for one.

In the same vein, there is no centralized certification process or test for service animals. The only way to be certified is to get an ESA letter with LMHP’s license from a certified mental professional proving you have an emotional disability.

After Spotting A Fake Service Dog, What Next?

If you suspect that a service dog is fake, it only makes sense that you notify the relevant authorities. The best way to do this is to report the owner via the Americans with Disabilities Act website.

There are also phone numbers you can call to report a known or suspected violation.

A good alternative is to report the issue to your local police department using a non-emergency line. The police will investigate the person and ascertain if your claims are accurate.

Stop Passing Pets Off As Service Animals!

Fake service dogs put unfair scrutiny on the people who need their animals for emotional or medical purposes. They are also an insult to dogs that go through months of intense training and practice to be exceptional at their jobs.

The reputation for service dogs is at stake, and this is linked to the fact that some pet owners think no-pet policies should not apply to them. In some states, it is considered an illegal act to pass your pet as a service dog when it is not one.

How To Catch A Fake Service Dog – Conclusion

Spotting or catching a fake service dog is not always straightforward. There is no online registry for service dogs, so no quick search can be done to verify the animal’s legitimacy.

However, once you know how service dogs act, catching a fake dog will become easier. Follow the signs discussed in this article, and you’ll help to depopulate fake service dogs.