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Service Dogs and the Americans with Disabilities Act Resources

Learn about service dogs and understand the laws pertaining to them.

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Service Dogs:

Service dog commonly asked questions:

How to interact with a service dog:


External Support Resources

If Atlas is not the right option for you, or we do not have available support in your area, or you are in need of a trainer to help you with foundational skills, below are some resources that could be of use.

Find a service dog non-profit that better fits your needs on Assistance Dogs International’s directory:

Find a positive reinforcement trainer who can work with you through Karen Pryor’s directory:!directory/map

And CCPDT’s directory page:

Find a CGC class and/or evaluator to prepare you for applying to our Client Certification program:

Certification FAQ

No. In the US, there is no official certification for service dogs. Service dogs handlers are not required to show any type of paperwork, certificate, or ID card to “prove” that their dog is a service dog. Service dogs are also not required to wear a vest identifying them as such. And service dog handlers do not need to show any medical proof or documentation that they have a disability.

Under the ADA, for a dog to be considered a service dog, they must have at least one trained task that mitigates their person’s disability and they must be well-behaved in public.

Atlas, like many other organizations, offers its own certification. 

Atlas certification means that Atlas has confirmed through training, testing, and documentation that: 

  • The dog and handler can work safely and appropriately in public places 
  • The client meets the requirements of the American with Disabilities Act 
  • The dog and handler have been trained to work effectively as a team and the dog has specially trained skills that directly mitigate limitations of the client’s disability 
  • The dog is healthy and able to do the work 
  • The dog is being treated well, and all the dog’s needs are met (including food, health, exercise, and companionship) 
  • The dog and handler team are trained to recognized international standards 
  • The client uses only positive, non-aversive training methods in compliance with Atlas’ Training Policy 
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