Barking service dogs


Service dogs are not pets - they are highly trained and disciplined animals that are valuable, sometimes life-saving, help for the disabled. Whether a service dog helps someone who is emotionally or physically disabled, there are strict rules as to whether or not they can bark.

Do service dogs do bark? Credit: cuteness

Reasons for barking

Depending on the type of service a person needs, their dog may be trained to bark in certain situations. For example, some service dogs are practiced as barking to call for help when their masters are in trouble. You can even be trained to operate a phone and bark into the recipient for help. Other service dogs are trained to bark to remind their masters to take medication in a timely manner.

Anti-barking training

Service dogs undergo thorough training to ensure they are fit for the job. Since they usually need to be prepared for a wide variety of social situations and environments, they are specially trained to remain calm and not aggressive. A dog that cannot control its own barking is almost guaranteed to be considered unsuitable for the service.

Noise disturbance laws

The Americans with Disabilities Act makes it clear that no company can discriminate against a person who uses a service dog. However, this is not without its own exceptions - especially in the case of barking and other disruptive behaviors. A common example used by the ADA is the service dog in the cinema: like any other patron who is audible, a service dog that barks in a cinema can be asked to leave.

No aggression allowed

In essence, service dogs are actually allowed to bark and can even be trained to do so under certain circumstances. However, they are not allowed to bark aggressively, but in accordance with their training. Aggressive barking, which is relatively common in non-domestic animals or dogs with minimal domestic training, is generally forbidden - when a service dog barks it is useful and not a sign of aggression.

From Tom Ryan

Resources:International Association of Assistance Dog Partners: Service Dog Tasks for Psychiatric DisabilitiesInternational Association of Assistance Dog Partners: IAADP Minimum Training Standards for Public AccessAmericans with Disabilities Act: Frequently Asked Questions about Service Animals on Business PremisesThe Bark: Making a Guide Dog

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