Service Dog Training : How Can Your German Shepherd Qualify To Be A Service Dog

German Shepherds are one of the most common and easily trained dogs in the service dog industry.

Their loyal nature, attention to every detail, movement, and potential threat or disturbance makes them excellent guides for those who need a little extra help from a canine companion.

Even the German Shepherd Dog Club of America; or GSDCA; agrees that this breed really excels in a service position.

Service dogs must be thoroughly trained and obedient to the absolute T. Any variations from the behavior that is expected of them could be harmful; or even fatal; to the person that relies on them as their service animal.

This is why German Shepherds are such a common choice for the job. They are faultlessly loyal and obedient if properly trained for the task at hand.

What is a Service Dog?


A service dog is trained very specifically to help people with disabilities; either physical or mental.

There are a broad variety of neurological and other psychological illnesses that German Shepherds acute sensory systems can pick up on prior to any other symptoms showing.

These include but are not limited to:

· Alerting someone of an impending seizure

· Alerting someone to changes in glucose levels

· Sensing an impending Post Traumatic Stress Disorder episode

Service dogs are also used to help with other disability based problems, including:

· Alerting someone that their owner is in need of help

· Picking up items that are dropped

· Helping the hearing impaired remain safe

· Helping those with autism refocus and remain calm

· Assisting the movement-impaired get around and retrieve items

· Opening and closing doors, drawers, cabinets, etc…

· And many others

By law, a service dog is allowed to go anywhere that their owner is allowed to go. Medical Service Dogs site provides a great list of these locations.

It includes some places that you may not have guessed, including the following:

· Restaurants

· Taxi cabs

· Hotels and motels

· Retail stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, etc…

· Theaters and other event venues

· Any form of public transportation, including airplanes, buses, trains, boats, etc…

All of these businesses are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act; or ADA; to allow access to registered, official service dogs.

They cannot inquire as to what your disability is, or demand proof that your dog is certified.

Qualifications and Requirements for a Service Dog

In order to qualify for a service dog, you must be impaired in some way that a service animal can actually help you with, such as the examples listed above.

A service dog is not the same thing as an emotional support animal. As noted by Service Dog Central, the two should never be confused as they are drastically different.

Claiming that an emotional support animal is a service dog can land you in a lot of trouble.

Oddly enough, there is no actual requirement for certification or proof that a dog is a trained service animal.

You can choose to outfit your dog in one of the service dog vests that proclaims their profession to anyone who can read to help avoid confusion, but you can buy one of these vests anytime that you want.

However, the members of the community involved in this very specific type of dog training have come up with their own sort of regulations and rules to help identify quality services animals.

It helps a lot that there is a very hefty fine in addition to other legal complications including losing your pet if you are found to be fraudulently posing your pet as a service animal in order to receive perceived ‘perks’ or ‘conveniences’.

If you are serious about getting your dog trained as a service animal there are some recommended steps that you should take:

· Choose an appropriate breed for the job at hand (you’ve already done this if you’re a German Shepherd owner)

· Assess the animal’s overall health and age. Puppies are not appropriate service animals because their training is incomplete.

Old dogs are not appropriate service animals because they will not live for very many years, meaning you’ll have to start over with another dog very soon.

· Test your pet’s personality. While many German Shepherds make great service dogs and are very patient and careful with their master, others may have too many aggression or anxiety problems to be an effective service animal for someone who is in serious need of help.

· Look for a reputable, high quality dog training service or independent dog trainer in your area that can help with service dog specific training.

They can help you teach your dog all of the skills that it needs to be an effective servant to you as their master. Working with an effective trainer provides excellent results, as you can see in this YouTube video.

Where You Can Get Your Dog Service Trained

It depends upon where you live really. However, if you live in the United States you can have your dog trained anywhere that you please.

You can even choose to go completely do-it-yourself on your dog training if you feel confident enough to tackle the task.

Working with a trainer or center that will work with you on specific paperwork and video documentation of your Germans Shepherds service training is a good idea, however.

While it isn’t completely necessary, it can help out a lot if you face persecution, or violations of your right to enter a business or facility with your service animal.

This documentation is also very helpful if charges are brought against you or your service dog.

While there is no actual law that requires you to have this documentation, it is a good idea to have it, as James Harleman of notes.

It is much more polite than simply expecting others to accept that your dog is a service dog just based upon your say-so.

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