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So my dog that I rescued off the streets is my best friend. I have severe clinical depression and I HEARD that you can get a service dog for it. Well I want MY dog to be a service dog because he's.. well he's my dog lol. I feel stupid calling the place and asking and I don't even know where to begin on training for this sort of thing..
 

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You can get your dog registered as an emotional support animal with a reputable certification agency if you have a letter from your doctor. There isn't necessarily any training you need to go through and you will have the same privileges as with a regular service dog.

However, if your pup is not well behaved and cannot control himself in public and walk nicely on a leash- please do not get him registered. Some people get their dogs registered so they can take them more places or because they think they need them for "emotional support" but their animal does not have proper training and therefore makes it difficult for those of us who really do need service dogs. I would take your dog to a CGC test, if he passes then I would consider him well behaved enough to become ethically certified.

Interestingly, there is no official avenue that you must go through. There is not a "service dog of America" or any similar organization that you have to register your animal with for them to be considered legitimate. Research the institution you chose to get certified with closely, some just sell "service dog certificates" for $60 online and they are not official. It is really based on reputation, where you should get a certificate from. Unfortuneately, I do not have enough experience in this to recommend something to you.
 

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Technically emotional support animals are not service dogs.

The ADA recognives psychiatric service animals as services animals but not emotional support animals.

The difference is:
If the dog has been trained to sense that an anxiety attack is about to happen and take a specific action to help avoid the attack or lessen its impact, that would qualify as a service animal. However, if the dog's mere presence provides comfort, that would not be considered a service animal under the ADA.
Americans with Disabilities Act Questions and Answers: Service Animals
 

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So my dog that I rescued off the streets is my best friend. I have severe clinical depression and I HEARD that you can get a service dog for it. Well I want MY dog to be a service dog because he's.. well he's my dog lol. I feel stupid calling the place and asking and I don't even know where to begin on training for this sort of thing..
There are a few things that you would need to answer before getting started. First is does your depression qualify as a disability? Meaning does it "substantially limit one or more of the major life activities"? If it does then you would be able to get either an Emotional Support Animal or a Service Dog.

So next question would be which are you looking for? ESAs are only allowed in no pet housing and on airlines, but require only general obedience training. Service Dogs are allowed almost anywhere in public with their disabled handler, but require being trained to perform a task to mitigate the person's disability and also trained well enough to behave in public because Service Dog or not if it is not behaved it can legally be asked to leave. Important to add that most dogs that wash out of service dog training do so because they are unable to handle the public access part, task training is generally the easy part, so if you choose to try the service dog route there is a very good chance your dog will not be able to do it, so be prepared for that possibility.

There is no registration of any kind for either ESAs or Service Dogs that is needed or holds any legal standing.

If you have any other questions I will be happy to answer whatever I am able to.
 

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Do you have a therapist or psychiatrist? If so, you could probably start by asking them about it. You should also try to find a dog trainer or behaviorist. Maybe see if there are any organizations in your area that can provide resources. Therapy dog groups might be able to help too.

Depression can be very debilitating...You will need to figure out what your biggest struggles are and how your depression disables you and affects your ability to function in public, or how it may threaten your life or safety. Then you need to figure out what can be done to help you in those instances. From there, a dog trainer can help you figure out how the dog can be trained to perform those actions, or perform similar actions.

This is an interesting article that goes over some tasks a psychiatric service dog can be trained to do. It's focused on PTSD, depression and panic disorders.

http://www.iaadp.org/psd_tasks.html

Also, a final note, while you may need a service dog, your current pet may not be a good candidate for the job. It's just something to be aware of. You will be asking this dog to accompany you to a lot of different places. He has to be ok with strange situations, loud noises, obnoxious people, vehicles, machines etc. Beyond ok. He has to take it all in stride like it doesn't bother him at all. He has to be able to lay still for long periods of time if you go out to eat, or go see a movie. He has to be able to totally ignore other people, other dogs, other animals. It takes a special dog to do service work for a person.

If, with the help of your dog trainer or behaviorist, you decide your pet isn't the right dog for the job, then I'm sure they can help you pick a second dog that's more suitable.
 

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So my dog that I rescued off the streets is my best friend. I have severe clinical depression and I HEARD that you can get a service dog for it. Well I want MY dog to be a service dog because he's.. well he's my dog lol. I feel stupid calling the place and asking and I don't even know where to begin on training for this sort of thing..
First, there is no such thing as Service Dog registration or certification. Anything claiming otherwise is a scam. Some website will let you register a BANANA as a service dog and gladly take your money. As for the rest of your post...

1. Severe Clinical Depression... Are you considered disabled by law or by your doctors? Your depression must severely impede your day to day function in order for you to be considered disabled.

2. Ask yourself what tasks you want this dog to perform that would mitigate your depression? A Service Dog for the blind guides his handler. A Service Dog for mobility impaired may open doors, pick up items, or other such tasks. It must be something the dog is trained to do, otherwise it is not a task and the dog is not a service dog. If there are no tasks, the best you could do is an Emotional Support Dog (which cannot be taken into public areas like Service Dogs).

3. Personal pets usually don't make the cut. A Service Dog cannot have any behavioral issues and must have perfect obedience and manners. Some breeds are also unfit for becoming Psychiatric Service Dogs.

For more information you can look at Service Dog Central. They have a forum with many people who own Service Dogs and know the law and how to go about everything.
 

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An official service dog registration does not exist in the USA and it's illegal for anyone to ask for one. As to whether your dog would be a good and practical service dog, that depends on your dog.
 

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I have looked into this once before myself. all of the comments above are correct but id also like to add that it is different from state to state. For instance I live in New Hampshire. Landlords can not deny service dogs. They are not even allowed to ask about them. However they are allowed to deny therapy dogs. Its very easy to spot a service dog vs a therapy dog.
The amendment was added after they whole craze of registering dogs as therapy dogs and trying to claim it as a service dog.
 

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@nhuckins164
Federal law (ADA) vs state for the disabled can differ, but it is mostly in regards to public access; at which point whichever law allows more freedom for the disabled person trumps the other.

Housing is under a different law entirely. Landlords CAN deny service dogs, regardless of state, based on circumstances. Such as if they own less than 4 units (a homeowner renting out a room in their home for example) or if the dog would cause a fundamental alteration (noise, failure to pick up poop, breed restrictions due to insurance; having the landlord pay extra to include your dog's breed on their insurance is not reasonable accommodation).
 
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