Two service dogs training at the mall, laying in front of a motorized car ride for kids outside a store front

Fake Service Dogs (Part II)

I understand that managers might have trouble identifying a real service dog, but remember, if the dog is misbehaving, you have the right to ask them to leave so you do not really need to refuse them entry. I was recently talking to Heather Turner, a SCORE mentor, who has counseled two restaurants and an inn. She advises that you when ask them to leave, that you can ask the “dog” to leave, but you can’t ask the handler to leave, if it’s a “real” service dog the handler will leave with the dog.

You also are not financially responsible for any damages the dog incurs, so don’t feel like if you let them in and something happens, that you’ll be out the cost of the damages! After you ask the first question, is the dog a service dog, I encourage you to ask the second question, what tasks can they preform? If the person can’t answer this then it’s probably not a service dog. If they say something like, “Deep Pressure Therapy” or “crowd control”, these are real tasks that dogs are trained to do!

It amazes me how many people try to pass off their regular dog, that has no training whatsoever, as a service dog. These dogs misbehave, cause utter chaos, and have accidents when they should not, making real service dogs look bad. This causes a general policy of “no dogs” and people who have legitimate service dogs are given are hard time when trying to enter a store or restaurant that has this policy. When you see a service dog, they may not be tasking at that exact moment, so you can’t say, “Well, I don’t see that dog working, so it’s not a service dog.” As a former service dog handler, please, if you have any question at all, ask the handler, but if the answer isn’t what you think it should be, please don’t give them a hard time!