Service dog handler lobby

siniang

Not Active
Citing you @lostforgottensoul representatively. Not targeted at you personally.

I am willing to do as much paperwork is required

Reading up on it more, apparently the proposed changes are:

"Psychiatric SDs" will be treated the same as all other SDs (medical, guide, ...) for air travel and do not require additional documentation about the handler's conditions (forms, doctor's notes, ...) as currently (? please correct me if I got this wrong) is the case.

The "additional documentation" for SDs DOT proposes are:
- Health form signed by a vet (appropriate, imho)
- Behavior form signed by handler (appropriate, but tricky...how to verify?)
- Relief form for flights over 8 hrs signed by handler

And these three forms will be standardized by DOT.

For ESAs, DOT proposes - IF airlines allow ESAs to begin with, with DOT proposes to make it an airline's choice - the following additional to above paperwork:

- letter from the owner's healthcare provider stating the DSM diagnosis, the need for the animal, and that the provider has an ongoing care relationship with the owner, as well as them having met *in person* to discuss the ESA

I APPLAUD that. The necessity to prove that mental health professional and the owner have not only ongoing treatment but have actually met in person will specifically target a lot of the scam websites.

What I find problematic is that DOT proposed to let the airlines decide whether or not they want to allow ESAs to begin with. Given how vocal they've been about their disapproval...this is bound to become an umbrella ban (and as such, discriminatory for many legit mental disorders)

Also...given the lack of required documentation for SDs....I see this resulting in more fake SDs. PARTICULARLY since those who try to abuse the system hardly know the difference between psySD and ESA (as well as "therapy dog") do begin with...

DOT is seeking comment on possible weight/size limitations for both SDs and ESAs. This is probably important for some of you!

@joeylittle This might be important for you, DOT is seeking comment specifically regarding ESA cats.
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
The "additional documentation" for SDs DOT proposes are:
- Health form signed by a vet (appropriate, imho)
- Behavior form signed by handler (appropriate, but tricky...how to verify?)
- Relief form for flights over 8 hrs signed by handler

I think the behavior form is signing, legally, that your dog has good behavior. I am guessing that if you lie, it is legal paperwork so it can stand up in court. Someone correct me if I am wrong. Just guessing as how that would go. Also, if they require anything from a dog trainer, as a owner trained handler, you are the trainer. Also, in the US, dog training is an unregulated area. So anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, without certifications, and accept clients and start making money. So, unless they require certifed dog trainer, that'd be legal since it's an unregulated profession.

I have not looked into the forms but, I can see this be doable. Especially since you can technically sign as the dog's trainer. You can speak for the behavior of your SD and if I were filling it out, I would talk about those things on a PA test. Those things specific about PA behaviors. I can also sign that my SD daily holds his business for 10 hrs everyday (since he does that while I am at work until I get home) so he can make it 8 hrs NP. That's why I trained him to hold it like that and to not get a dog walker in. So he is already trained to hold it for a long flight.
 

siniang

Not Active
I think the behavior form is signing, legally, that your dog has good behavior. I am guessing that if you lie, it is legal paperwork so it can stand up in court.
Also, if they require anything from a dog trainer, as a owner trained handler, you are the trainer. Also, in the US, dog training is an unregulated area. So anyone can call themselves a dog trainer, without certifications, and accept clients and start making money. So, unless they require certifed dog trainer, that'd be legal since it's an unregulated profession.

I find this problematic, to be honest.

Not the owner-trained part, of course. But if that form basically just is a "my word" kind of thing. (I'm not sure how the actual form would look like, but what you describe sounds more like a waiver of sorts).

Because....dogs aren't robots. Even the best trained dog can make a mistake at any given day. And people who are not familiar with dogs or dog training at all, have no insight into what's "normal". So...in that case...a single even minor mistake (which can look like a BIG mistake in the ignorant eye) can cause you a lot of aftermath. Because...how exactly do you determine that someone "lied"? Unless the dog is obviously going ballocks.

It's easy enough to require a CGC or Urban CGC.

Frankly, the non-existent requirement of any behavioral proof opens all the gates for the fakers...
 

Sideways

Sponsor
Cynical opinion only (!): Airlines requiring SD handlers to sign a document, before boarding a plane, certifying that their dog has been trained to behave to a reasonable standard - likely has very little to do with airlines being concerned about training.

If something goes wrong, and the dog injures a person or property, the airline is going to be sued, because they're the ones with insurance and deep pockets.

That document, though, is not only going to be grounds for the airline to join the dog owner to the action, but to argue that the dog owner, rather than the airline, should carry the majority of the liability.
 

siniang

Not Active
Cynical opinion only (!): Airlines requiring SD handlers to sign a document, before boarding a plane, certifying that their dog has been trained to behave to a reasonable standard - likely has very little to do with airlines being concerned about training.

If something goes wrong, and the dog injures a person or property, the airline is going to be sued, because they're the ones with insurance and deep pockets.

That document, though, is not only going to be grounds for the airline to join the dog owner to the action, but to argue that the dog owner, rather than the airline, should carry the majority of the liability.

Yep, that's my take on it, too.

I still think it's backwards, but, oh well, this is sue-happy America we're talking about :p
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
I wrote up a whole long thing but deleted it cause this


That document, though, is not only going to be grounds for the airline to join the dog owner to the action, but to argue that the dog owner, rather than the airline, should carry the majority of the liability

Is sort of what I was going for. It's for liabilty.

No dog is perfect. We can, legally, train our own dogs, without help, in the US. So, how do you ensure that if that dog is aggressive, let's say, how do you ensure the handler is responsible?
 

siniang

Not Active
how do you ensure that if that dog is aggressive

Genuine question: Don't some SDs growl as a way of protecting their handlers? I feel like I've read this in some diary here.

To someone ignorant of dog behavior or someone genuinely afraid of dogs, that alone will be seen as "aggressive". Because they don't understand. (Wasn't THIS exactly what happened to you in the hospital @Sideways ?)

I just see the possibility of a lot of misunderstandings and unnecessary and unwarranted aftermath for handlers .... that could be avoided easily enough (while keeping some legal protection for people with disabilities who rely on their SDs).

Again, yes, it's legal in the US to owner-train. Just because something is legal in a certain way doesn't mean it can never be changed. I mean, we are talking about legal changes...

Even if owner-trained, as I mentioned, easy enough to require some kind of actual proof (CGC for example). Because...way too many interpretations of "trained" out there. Not from you reliable handlers, of course... but more than enough people. I see it with our new trainees all the time (because we do require basic obedience or some training beyond puppy kindergarten before they start with us).

Keep in mind, all of us here have a lot of insight into dog behavior, dog training, and are responsible dog handlers. That is not the majority of people and there is a lot of prejudice against dogs. I just think a waiver of liability will open the gates to a lot of subjective accusations -- behavioral tests like CGC and Urban CGC do exist for a reason. Without any such proof, unless misbehavior is REALLY obvious, it will become a he said-she said legal case real fast...

They do require it in other countries, so it's not actually something completely inappropriate or unfeasible to ask...
 
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lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
Don't some SDs growl as a way of protecting their handlers? I feel like I've read this in some diary here.

Nooooo! Service dogs cannot be protective. It is even written in the ADA that it is illegal to train personal protective dogs as also service dogs. Service dogs should not be protective.

I let Chopper bark at a knock on the door. Cause I live alone. But that is off duty only. He does not utter a sound while working. Which would include on a plane.

ETA:
Again, yes, it's legal in the US to owner-train. Just because something is legal in a certain way doesn't mean it can never be changed. I mean, we are talking about legal changes

Oh, if you are talking legal changes, that changes the convo completely. You started with what the Airlines requires today. That's not changes. That's what's required today. I am not against changes at all. Just gotta be clear of what I'm talking about.

I think you'd need to change it at the ADA level before you change it at the ACAA level though. To be inclusive. Like the Delta banning pitbull SDs. Now, we can't fly Delta at all because of that. Not very inclusive. So, I think this is what that's meant to do.
 

siniang

Not Active
You started with what the Airlines requires today. That's not changes. That's what's required today. I am not against changes at all. Just gotta be clear of what I'm talking about.

???

I'm talking about the proposed changes by DOT.

More specifically, I'm talking about the behavior "waiver" that DOT proposes.

You're mixing a lot of different topics in this.

Nooooo! Service dogs cannot be protective. It is even written in the ADA that it is illegal to train personal protective dogs as also service dogs. Service dogs should not be protective.

Thanks for the clarification. This was a honest question. "Protect" may have been the wrong wording -- I still feel like I've seen this in diaries here.

But someone genuinely afraid of dogs? Even blocking can be seen as "aggressive". I know people who a terrified of dogs...they misinterpret totally normal (non-aggressive) dog behavior all the time.

So in such cases someone will start to claim the dog misbehaved or was aggressive -- because they don't know better and put their own fear on top -- and unless you have solid witnesses to back YOU up, you're bound to loose the case because you signed the waiver.

To the ignorant eye, dog behavior is extremely subjective and open to interpretation.

And yes, it happens. All the time. You see this in online discussions a lot that people make the most ridiculous claims.

All I'm saying is that your word that he is "well behaved" may mean nothing and that there are more solid ways to proof this.
 
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Sideways

Sponsor
That is not the majority of people and there is a lot of prejudice against dogs.
Yeah, and I think in a lot of instances the prejudice has been earned. It's incredibly difficult with dog owners. You don't know what you don't know - and it's not hard to find handlers that honestly believe they've got it all under control, but actually have very little understanding of their own dog's behaviours.

So, how do you ensure that if that dog is aggressive, let's say, how do you ensure the handler is responsible?
'Aggressive' dogs, arguably, shouldn't be getting on planes, and shouldn't be SDs. The onus in the US appears to be on individual owners to only use dogs with an appropriate temperament as an SD.

But how many times have you heard an owner say "Don't worry, he won't hurt you" when the dog is displaying very clear "I'm gonna kill you if you come any closer" behaviour, right!? This is where people get bit, because they don't know what they don't know when it comes to dog behaviour, what their dog is capable of, and the messages the dog is sending with their behaviour.

Classic example is a "wagging tail" being interpreted as "must be friendly", when in fact the dog is flagging his tail, and trying to say "stay away". Or a dog yawning being interpreted as "he's tired", when actually he's communicating he's stressed out. See that stuff a lot.

I see a role for standardised behaviour and handler assessment here. And not necessarily a government regulated testing regime (which is what we have in my State - a standard behaviour test that all Assistance Dogs and handlers must pass to have public access rights). Kennel councils, for example, could have a role here as an alternative to a government-run standard.
 

Sideways

Sponsor
He does not utter a sound while working.
It may be different in the US. Here in Australia, vocalising is a legitimate form of indicating. Many different types of disabilities benefit from a dog vocalising to their handler as a way of indicating (and yes, my dog vocalises in certain situations - extremely helpful when I'm dissociated and he's not able to jump on my lap because I'm standing).

It's not the case that all vocalising is aggressive behaviour. Public education is still a work in progress on that issue.
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
???

I'm talking about the proposed changes by DOT.

More specifically, I'm talking about the behavior "waiver" that DOT proposes.

I'm sorry. I misunderstood. I thought this is what they are currently proposing. Or currently have. Though, i think they'd still have to go off of what the ADA currently requires. Though its the ACAA so who knows. But, I'm thinking it needs to start inward and work outward. So, ADA then ACAA to follow suit. But just how my brain works. Just find requiring things the ADA does not to be very not inclusive.


Aggressive' dogs, arguably, shouldn't be getting on planes, and shouldn't be SDs. The onus in the US appears to be on individual owners to only use dogs with an appropriate temperament as an SD.

Absolutely agree. Tho, sadly, a lot of people have them. Or pretend to have them, at least.
 
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