Public Access Testing
Service dogs don’t just happen. They are never born service dogs. Although knowing the history of a pup or young dog can guide you in choosing one likely to be up to the tasks and lifestyle of a working Service Dog, you will still have to put in the time and effort for your dog to become a competent partner — your service dog.
Once you’ve assessed the potential for a dog to become your service dog, age appropriate training begins. While your dog is engaged in such training, s/he is classified as a Service Dog In Training (SDIT).
Not all SDITs Succeed in Becoming Service Dogs
Periodic assessments (including full veterinary checks for structural and health problems) and training are key to knowing whether to continue with the same dog or to determine the SDIT is best suited to work only in the home or become a pet.
Ongoing assessment is a necessary component of any good training plan.
The goal is for the handler/dog team to work together as necessary to overcome various obstacles of the disabled person.
As stated in the Americans With Disabilities Act, “Service dogs are trained….”
Once a dog is determined to be potentially suitable to be trained as a service dog, training begins in two different areas:
- public access training and
- task training. Tasks are specific to the needs of the disabled person, so task training and assessment is too.
Sometimes they occur simultaneously and sometimes public access training begins well before task training and they are simultaneous later. Public access training always begins immediately.
The Goal of the Public Access Test (PAT)
The PAT is meant to assure the dog is safe, comfortable, and competent in a variety of situations. This is because the person with a disability needs to know that their service dog will assist them with focus and proficiently within the general public, no matter what situations arise.
Before Service Dog Mentors issues a certificate to any team, we administer the PAT along with task testing specific to the team.
What’s Included in the Public Access Test?
This webinar recording provides an overview of what to expect during your public access test. As always, contact us for more information.