Question by MEMA: How do I get my dog certified as an emotional support dog?
My granddaughter’s psyciatrist wrote a prescription for a support dog. She has Bipolor disorder. In order to live alone she’ll need to be reminded to take her medication, to be awakened in an emergency, etc. I purchased a very smart maltipoo. How do I get her certified here in Salt Lake City?
Answer by Kirsten R
Emotional support animals need no certification. A psychiatrist’s note is sufficient for the purposes of housing and flying in commercial aircraft.
Remember that in order to qualify, the owner must be disabled by mental illness. Most people diagnosed with mental illness are not disabled by it, though some are. In the same vein, most people diagnosed with a vision impairment are not blind (they just need glasses). Your granddaughter’s psychiatrist can discuss this with her and help her determine in her specific case whether this applies to her.
If instead you are talking about public access, as opposed to “no pets” housing, then you will probably need the help of a professional trainer. Service dogs require 18-24 months of expert training. Very few pet owners are going to have the skills necessary to do this training on their own. Further, very few dogs have all of the qualities needed to become full service dogs. However, the two tasks you mentioned do not require public access, and would not require as extensive training as they are only needed at home.
Beware of scam organizations that offer certification for a fee. Again, it is not necessary and these certifications mean nothing. A recent court case brought this home when a woman claimed her monkey as a service animal and had one of these certificates and the judge threw her case out of court. Spend your money on training instead of scams. I say this because odds are about 99% that one of these scam organizations will have an ad appear on the same page as your question.
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