Fake Service Dogs Harmful
Service dogs are highly trained animals that assist their disabled owners in completing tasks they might not be able to do on their own. These dogs require extensive training and socialization, which can take up to two years or more. They learn to remain calm and focused on their task and handler while ignoring distractions. In contrast, fake service dogs do not have this level of training.
Using a fake service dog is not just dishonest; it is also dangerous for the service dog community. Misrepresented service dogs may not be appropriately trained to be in a non-pet-friendly business, which can lead to problematic behavior such as sniffing, barking, eating off tables or floors, jumping or lunging at others, or even pottying in indoor spaces. These behaviors can create frustration for business owners and others and damage the reputation of legitimate service dogs. This can result in increased struggle and discrimination against handlers and their service animals, even leading to denial of access to public places that do not allow pets.
Fake service dogs can also distract real service dogs from their work, which can have serious consequences. Aggressive or reactive fake service dogs may attack or injure a real one. It's important to note that reputable service dog organizations do not allow reactive dogs to be working service dogs.
Service dogs are not cheap, and any wrong interaction could be disastrous for someone who relies on their service dog as a lifesaving companion. Therefore, it's crucial to think twice before bringing a fake service dog into public spaces. By doing so, you are not only putting the service dog community at risk, but also compromising the rights of individuals with disabilities who rely on their service animals to navigate the world.