Q: How do I get my dog certified?

I assume that you would like it to be IDENTICAL in both structure and legality to the big program certifications.

First step is, of course, the training.

Then comes testing until the trainer (that's you) and the management of the training facility (that's you) are completely convinced that the dog is ready. You can read the ADI test on the ADI website. But ADI doesn't authorize anybody other than ADI members using their test.

Don't skimp on the testing. After all, the whole idea BEHIND certification is the statement (or "certification") that the dog has proven to be suitable. If you have the opportunity to do so, enlist objective third parties to test the dog, even if not everybody else does.

Once the testing is passed and completed, you are ready for the certification itself!

The owner of the training facility (that's you) calls together everybody concerned (that's you and maybe some friends).

The owner of the facility (that's you) gets up on stage and gives a speech, typically about how wonderful service dogs are, and possibly suggesting donations of money.

If there was a puppy raiser (that's you) involved, the owner (that's you) introduces the puppy raiser (that's you).

Then the trainer (that's you) gives a speech, talking about how exceptionally wonderful this dog is.

Then the owner of the facility (that's you) introduces the recipient (that's you).

The recipient (that's you) makes a small speech and expresses gratitude.

Then the trainer (that's you) hands over the leash to the recipient (that's you).

Then you raise your right hand and say, "I, state your name, hereby assert and certify that this dog has been individually trained to assist state your name, and has met all requirements, both social and legal, to be a service dog."

The owner of the facility (that's you) hands the recipient (that's you) a diploma made up by the graphic arts department of the facility (that's you), and a very formal looking, very OFFICIAL, LAMINATED ID card, also made by the graphic arts department (that's you).

This is also a good time for presentation of the OFFICIAL harness, cape, vest, or collar, made or purchased by the equipment department (that's you). Contrary to some assumptions, the equipment may be ANY color, so long as you don't wear white after Labor day.

Then to the sounds of "Pomp and circumstance", the ceremony is concluded, and everyone (that's you) applauds. There usually isn't a dry eye in the house.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, there is a big party and reception to which the participants (that's you) invite all of their friends, particularly the folks on the e-mail group.

Congratulations, your dog is now certified, EXACTLY the way the big programs do it.

NB: many people think that the guvmint is somehow involved, and that "certification" is in some way an offical guvmint process of testing, registration, etc. It isn't. There is no guvmint involvement in certification. Some programs even think that it is advantageous to maintain that fiction. Service dogs are "certified" in exactly the same way that "certified professional psychics" are - self-inflicted.

"Certification of service dogs is a solution looking for a problem, looking hard enough to try to create the idea a reason exists for which it's the only answer." - Desiree (& Roxy) Michaels


Copyright 2001 by Grumpy Ol' Fred