Service Dogs

Golden State Service Dogs Standards for Service Dogs: Since service dogs are held to high standards, and not every dog is fit for duty, we help evaluate dogs overall behaviors, temperaments, obedience levels and performance abilities, as well as the handlers responsibilities, expectations, and requirements for qualification standards. GSSD Owner-Trained Service Dog Qualification Standards include:

  • Dog must obey all obedience and skilled task verbal and hand commands from handler 90% of the time on the first time being asked (using approved gear only), be fully potty trained, and only relieve themselves in appropriate locations on command only
  • Dog must be altered (spay/ neuter certificate required)
  • Dog must be well behaved and under control at all times in public and at home, working calmly with no aggressive behaviors (no biting, snapping, growling, lunging or aggressive barking- this includes during positive-play)
  • Dog must past the Group AKC CGC Test, demonstrate that they can be well behaved in public and not disrupt business or block aisles, solicit food or other items from the public (no begging for food/petting, space-invading passers by, no sniffing/mouthing merchandise unless handler is purchasing it)
  • Dog and Handler must complete the GSSD Annual Review Command Evaluation with a minimum of 3 skilled task commands directly relating to the handler’s diagnosed disability
  • Dog must be cleaned/ well-groomed and working in an approved GSSD vest while in public. The vest must include required documentation and a full clean-up kit.
  • Handler/Dog Team must comply with Our Dog Health Standards and dogs must pass an Annual Health Exam with their vet to verify the dog is healthy to perform required tasks. For Mobility Support Service Dogs, the dog must be size/stability appropriate; x-rays required at 24 months of age to check for genetic disease like OA and CHD, shoulder, elbows, hips/OCD; handler should talk to their vet about PennHIP and OFA with sedation to make a personal choice on what will be the best option. Handler is responsible for all costs.
  • Handler must provide GSSD with disability verification and a doctor’s prescription (once minimum qualifications have been reached; Annual Renewal Required)
  • Handler must document 120+ hours of public access training and an additional 30+ general obedience hours, documented over 6+ months (potty training and socialization play may not be counted towards the required hours). In order for GO and PA hours to be counted, dogs should be vested and working for a minimum of 1 hour (small mini-sessions are a valuable training tool, but in order for hours to count towards requirements we want to be sure the dog can actually work for a minimum of one hour). Upon meeting minimum qualifications, the handler should document maintenance training with their dog for their next Annual Review (organized/ documented monthly).
  • Handler must be able to appropriately respond to access questions in public and understand laws that protect service dog handlers’ rights while demonstrating appropriate interaction/ participation, self-control, self-confidence, and a sense of responsibility/ attention
  • Handler must be mature (no age restriction) and able to provide for their dog’s emotional, physical, and financial needs (handler’s under the age of 18 years must have responsible guardian/custodian support)
  • Handler must complete GSSD’s Annual Review to monitor team success and standards of minimum qualifications (any handler that allows their service dog’s qualification to lapse in their Annual Review will be placed on probation and might be required to complete additional training or testing)

Our Golden State Service Dogs Vests: Clients are fully responsible and liable for their dogs, as agreed in the Responsibility Contract signed. Golden State Service Dogs reserves the right to refuse or terminate services to any consumer at any time. If any client misuses a GSSD’s vest or if any dog is unable to perform their duties to our satisfactory or retires, we require clients to return the vest without any cost reimbursement.

Laws that support service dog handler’s rights: Please see our definitions page here.

NOTE: Federal Law states that purchasing service animal ID items for any animal that has not been specifically trained to perform service animal tasks or passing a pet off as a service animal is criminal. Since we are committed to upholding service dog standards and etiquette, we screen all consumers and dogs in order to insure all our clients meet minimum qualifications for owner-trained service dogs.