Frequently Asked Questions
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Service Dog F.A.Q’s
How Much Does a Service Dog Cost?
At Guardian Service Dogs™ we have 2 levels of Service Dog Training; our average is between $18,000 and $24,000. This includes all training and costs associated with training classes. There are no “hidden” costs for example in Advanced Service Dog Training – Public Access classes if your class is at a restaurant your meal is covered by Guardian Service Dogs. Due to our Program, it is important to us that our handlers be able to focus on their Training not any additional costs with that training.
Our Levels of training are:
- Class A – Seizure, Item Aversion, Autism, Dissociative Disorders, and other multiple top-level tasks.
- Class B – mobility, item retrieval, medication reminders, and other multi-level tasks.
- Our goal is to cover as much of the cost of training as possible for our clients through avenues such as donations, sponsorships fundraisers. Since these funds are limited to availability there may be a waiting list in order for a client to begin training. We encourage all clients in need of assistance to be part of the fundraising efforts.
- We also allow clients that are able to, to self-fund their training, this means they cover the costs associated with training their service dog.
There is a $50 non-refundable processing fee for all applications.
What Kind of Disabilities and medical conditions does Guardian Service Dogs™ train for?
- Assisting those with PTSD, TBI, Traumatic Amputation or Paralysis
- Recognizing and assisting during seizure
- Alerting individuals who may be experiencing dissociative episodes and/or flashbacks of emotional trauma
- Assisting those with Item and/or Crowd Aversion
- Emergency Alert activation
- Pulling a wheelchair or stabilizing a person’s gait
- Retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone
- Diabetic and allergy detection and more
Are Donations Tax Deductible?
Guardian Service Dogs is recognized as a tax-exempt organization under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)3 as of September 2015. Donors can deduct contributions they make to Guardian Service Dogs™ as provided in the IRC section 170 Guardian Service Dogs™ is also qualified to receive tax-deductible bequests, legacies, devices, transfers, or gifts under IRC Section 2055, 2106, and 2522.
I would like to make a Donation to Guardian Service Dogs™ to support a team. What do I do?
Thank you for your support! Please email us at email@example.com
If I pay for my own service dog , is it tax deductible?
Yes, there are certain ways your service dog may be tax-deductible, please consult with a financial/tax advisor for official advise. According to the IRS Publication 502 Page 8 https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf : Guide Dog or Other Service Animal: You can include in medical expenses the costs of buying, training, and maintaining a guide dog or other service animal to assist a visually impaired or hearing disabled person, or a person with other physical disabilities. In general, this includes any costs, such as food, grooming, and veterinary care, incurred in maintaining the health and vitality of the service animal so that it may perform its duties.
Does Guardian Service Dogs™ have a waiting list?
Currently, we are accepting applications. We work with clients on many levels when it comes to training and costs associated with the training. For clients that need assistance with the cost of training a service dog, they are placed on a waiting list once funds are available to cover the cost of training the client can then move forward in the training process.
We have a number of programs in the works all pending funding One program is designated specifically for veterans and service members this program is waiting for financial award estimated award date July 31, 2019.
All clients are asked to partake in fundraising efforts.
Clients that are able to self-fund there is no waiting list.
How long does training take?
Our program is approximately 14 months, it can be completed in as little as 12 months but may take as long as 18-24 depending on the dedication of the handler and the complexity of tasks the dog will be trained to perform.
Dogs may not perform any weight-bearing task work until at least 2 years of age to allow for proper structural development and maturity.
Seizure related tasks depend entirely on the frequency of seizures and the tasks the dog will be trained to perform. Guardian Service Dogs can train for early detection and alert for seizures however we will never induce a medical episode just for the sake of training.
What if I don't live in Colorado Springs, CO?
Training currently is held at our office located in Colorado Springs, Co. Due to the intensity of the training program, it is preferred that clients be able to attend regularly scheduled classes once per week, Guardian Service Dogs has a long-distance learning option for clients out of our area. For these clients, training takes place in Colorado Springs, CO once a month for 2-3 days straight. Handlers and their “Service Dog in Training” would need to be able to travel to Colorado Springs, CO for designated training sessions. We currently have an assistant trainer in Northern Colorado, and in Maine.
Can I donate a dog?
This is a tricky question. Yes, you can potentially make a donation of a dog however there are a number of factors that Guardian Service Dogs™ takes into consideration:
1. Guardian Service Dogs does not Train and place dogs with their handlers
2. No dog is selected without first having a handler to be paired with. This is because every dog is selected for a Handler and their specific needs.
3. At Guardian Service Dogs, the “service dog in training” is placed with the handler from the point of adoption in order to begin the bond at the earliest opportunity possible.
4. All dogs must pass K9 Behavior analysis BEFORE being recommendable as a potential Service Dog. The earliest this test can be performed is at 7 weeks of age. The ideal age for the test to take place 8 weeks to allow for trace behavior patterns to emerge.
Do you work with rescues or breeders as a source for the dogs?
Yes, we work with both. The Source for dog adoption is up to the handler. The most important factor is that the dog is able to pass our K9 Behavior Analysis testing and be able to perform the tasks the handler needs.
I already have a dog; can I use my own dog?
For those who already have a pup, the pup will go through our K9 Behavior Analysis test to ensure it passes intelligence and temperament, social attraction, social dominance, sensitivity to touch and sound, drive and other various factors. This is to determine the animals’ ability to be trained and perform duties you will need.
Am I allowed to have other pets in my home?
Yes, we can discuss this further during your evaluation should you have any questions or concerns related to your other pets vs your service dog.
Does Guardian Service Dogs™ take my dog and train it for me?
No. Guardian Service Dogs™ does not offer onsite training nor do we take dog in to train and then place with handlers.
Does Guardian Service Dogs retain ownership of the service dog in training or is it my dog?
No. Every dog is selected specifically for the needs of its handler. Handlers adopt their own dog (except when covered by donations or other funding). Guardian Service Dogs does not believe in ripping apart the bond between a handler and their dog.
Do you only work with specific breeds?
No, we will work with any breed given the dog can pass the K9 Behavior Analysis and be able to perform the tasks the handler needs. Guardian Service Dogs specializes in working with guardian breeds such as Rottweilers, Pitt Bulls, Doberman Pinchers, German Shepherds, Mastiff’s, Great Danes, Akita, Dogo Argentino, Cane Corso, Belgian Malinois, etc.
Are there any breeds Guardian Service Dogs™ does not work with?
There are no breeds of dog that Guardian Service Dogs™ will not work with however wolf/hybrids will not be accepted into the program because the ADA defines a service animal as a dog. A Wolf is not a dog. There are a number of differences between the two, in addition, breeding wolves and dogs is not advised. Wolf-dogs are generally more bold, stubborn and aggressive, and with the wildness of a wolf versus the lack of fear dogs have, expert say it could create a serious situation (The Difference Between Wolfs and Dogs Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2019/02/05/difference-between-wolves-and-dogs.aspx)
How do I pick a dog?
Guardian Service Dogs had a K9 Assessment option for those that are looking for a suitable service dog. This consists of 5 visits to breeders or shelters/rescues to perform K9 Behavior Analysis testing on as many dogs in one visit as possible. Once our K9 Behavior Expert performs testing they will advise you of how each dog tested scored and whether or not they qualify for recommendation. Handlers then make the decision of which dog they will adopt out of the dogs that pass testing.
What are the benefits of using a breeder?
Due to certain disabilities and the wide range of mature dog sizes sometimes it is imperative to ensure the adult size of the dog. For example, someone who needs allergy or diabetic-related training may be able to use a smaller breed, while someone who is 6’2” 250+lbs with a bad back or knees may require the dog to be larger when fully grown to perform mobility-related task work. If you adopt a puppy from a rescue or shelter the genetic makeup can be a question. You may adopt what you think is a larger breed puppy that turns out to be a miniature mix.
I found a puppy at a rescue; would this dog be able to be a service dog?
Possibly, we would have to perform the K9 Behavior analysis to see if the dog will be acceptable to our program and be able to perform the tasks needed. From there we go over potential concerns and other factors such as noted in the previous question.
For K9 Assessment Package, If I select a dog the first visit, do I get a refund?
No. Our assessment packages are designed to allow handlers the greatest opportunity for our k9 Behavior Expert to evaluate and recommend the best candidates for our handlers to select the best possible match. While some clients may find a suitable match on the first visit, we do encourage you to use 5 visits to evaluate as many potential service dog candidates.
Can you train my service dog to activate an emergency alert device in case of a medical emergency?
Yes! We can train your service dog to active an emergency alert device that will make a phone call to a preprogrammed phone numbers that will play a prerecorded message should the handler be incapacitated due to a medical emergency.
For the answers to the Following Questions please refer to ADA Service Animals Info https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm
What is the legal definition of a service dog?
Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability. (ADA FAQ p1 q1)
What is the ADA?
American’s with Disabilities Act
What kinds of animal can be Service Animals?
Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA. (ADA Service Animals p1)
Are Emotional Support, therapy, comfort or companion animals considered Service Animals?
No. These terms are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA. However, some State or local governments have laws that allow people to take emotional support animals into public places. You may check with your State and local government agencies to find out about these laws. (ADA FAQ p2 q3)
Under Federal Law is a Service Animal in Training extended same access rights as Service Animals?
No. Under the ADA, the dog must already be trained before it can be taken into public places. However, some State or local laws cover animals that are still in training. (ADA FAQ p2 q6)
Does a Service Animal in Training have the Same access rights as Service Animals?
Under Federal law no, however, State laws vary and may extend access rights.
When in public is it ever “ok” for someone to ask you questions about your Service Animal?
In situations where it is not obvious that the dog is a service animal, staff may ask only two specific questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability? and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform? Staff are not allowed to request any documentation for the dog, require that the dog demonstrate its task, or inquire about the nature of the person’s disability. (ADA FAQ p2 q7)
When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task. (ADA Service Animals p2)
Where are Service Animals Allowed?
Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go. (ADA Service Dogs p1 right side)
Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment. (ADA Service Animals p2 left side)
Are there any locations that my Service Animal is NOT allowed?
ADA FAQ p7, q25, q26, q33, q34, q35, q36, q37
Is there any time a Service Animal can be denied access rights?
ADA FAQ p7, q25, q26, q33, q34, q35, q36, q37
Can a Service Animals go through a Buffet with its Handler?
Yes. Service animals must be allowed to accompany their handlers to and through self-service food lines. Similarly, service animals may not be prohibited from communal food preparation areas, such as are commonly found in shelters or dormitories. (ADA FAQ p3 q10)
Can I be charged a “Pet Fee” for my Service Animal?
Hotels are not permitted to charge guests for cleaning the hair or dander shed by a service animal. However, if a guest’s service animal causes damage to a guest room, a hotel is permitted to charge the same fee for damages as charged to other guests (ADA FAQ p3 q12)
Can I be charged for damages caused by my Service Animal?
Hotels are not permitted to charge guests for cleaning the hair or dander shed by a service animal. However, if a guest’s service animal causes damages to a guest room, a hotel is permitted to charge the same fee for damages as charged to other guests. (ADA FAQ p3 q12)
Can businesses request proof or documentation of my Service Animal?
Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry. (ADA FAQ p4 q17)
Can a Service Animal be any breed of dog?
The ADA does not restrict the type of dog breeds that can be service animals. (ADA FAQ p5 q22)
What if there is a ban on a specific breed of dog in my living area?
Municipalities that prohibit specific breeds of dogs must make an exception for a service animal of a prohibited breed unless the dog poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Under the “direct threat” provisions of the ADA, local jurisdictions need to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether a particular service animal can be excluded based on that particular animal’s actual behavior or history, but they may not exclude a service animal because of fears or generalizations about how an animal or breed might behave. It is important to note that breed restrictions differ significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In fact, some jurisdictions have no breed restrictions. (ADA FAQ p5 q24)
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When staying at a motel, can the handler leave their Service Animal in their room when the handler leaves the hotel?
No, the dog must be under the handler’s control at all times (ADA FAQ p6 q29)
What should I do if I am denied access because of my Service Animal?
Keep your Calm, Explain the law, show them the ADA pamphlet, call your trainer,
You don’t have to show paperwork but if police are called go ahead and present it. Make sure to take down names if you can so we can deal with the situation appropriately later.
Individuals who believe that they have been illegally denied access or service because they use service animals may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice. Individuals also have the right to file a private lawsuit in Federal court charging the entity with discrimination under the ADA. (ADA FAQ p6 q30)
Can a Service Animal ride in a shopping cart?
Generally, the dog must stay on the floor, or the person must carry the dog. For example, if a person with diabetes has a glucose alert dog, he may carry the dog in a chest pack so it can be close to his face to allow the dog to smell his breath to alert him of a change in glucose levels. (ADA FAQ p6 q31)
Are restaurants, bars and other places that serve food or drinks required to allow service animals to be seated on chairs or allow animals to be fed at the table?
No. Seating, food, and drink are provided for customer use only. The ADA gives a person with a disability the right to be accompanied by his or her service animal, but covered entities are not required to allow an animal to sit or be fed at the table. (ADA FAQ p7 q32)
Do commercial airlines have to comply with the AD
No. The Air Carrier Access Act is the Federal law that protects the rights of people with disabilities in air travel. For information or to file a complaint, contact the U.S. Department of Transportation, Aviation Consumer Protection Division, at 202-366-2220. (ADA FAQ p7 q 37)
Who is responsible for the care and control of the Service Animal?
The handler is responsible for caring for and supervising the service animal, which includes toileting, feeding, and grooming and veterinary care. Covered entities are not obligated to supervise or otherwise care for a service animal (ADA FAQ p2 q9)
Can the Service Animal accompany the handler in the event they have to go to the ER or stay in the hospital?
Generally, yes. Service animals must be allowed in patient rooms and anywhere else in the hospital the public and patients are allowed to go. They cannot be excluded on the grounds that staff can provide the same services. (ADA FAQ p3 q14)
If the patient is not able to care for the service animal, the patient can make arrangements for a family member or friend to come to the hospital to provide these services, as it is always preferable that the service animal and its handler not to be separated, or to keep the dog during the hospitalization. If the patient is unable to care for the dog and is unable to arrange for someone else to care for the dog, the hospital may place the dog in a boarding facility until the patient is released, or make other appropriate arrangements. However, the hospital must give the patient opportunity to make arrangements for the dog’s care before taking such steps. (ADA FAQ p3 q 15)
Can a Service Animal ride in an Ambulance?
- Generally, yes. However, if the space in the ambulance is crowded and the dog’s presence would interfere with the emergency medical staff’s ability to treat the patient, staff should make other arrangements to have the dog transported to the hospital. (ADA FAQ p4 q16)
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