What Should Be on a Service Dog Certificate Template?

What Should Be on a Service Dog Certificate Template
Photo: Unsplash.com

When you decide to train your dog to be a service animal, one of the first questions you might ask yourself is, “What should my service dog certificate look like?”

That’s exactly what this article is going to explore. Look at the important parts of the template, additional things you might find on some certificates, and what a suitable way to get one is.

By the end of this article, you’ll know everything you need in order to get your dog its very own certificate.

Important Parts of the Template

When you get your service dog certificate, you’ll see a number of different parts. Here are the common ones you can expect to see on pretty much all of them:

Issuing Organization Name and Logo: This identifies the organization that issued the certificate—it will vary depending on which institution you get your certificate from.

Certificate Title: Usually mentions “Service Dog Certificate” or “Service Animal Registration.”

Dog Information: This section usually only includes the dog’s name but may also mention the breed and microchip number or other identifying information.

Date of Issuance: This indicates when the certificate was issued.

Statement of Service: This might be a general or specific statement about the dog’s status as a service animal trained to perform specific tasks for the handler’s disability.

Signatures: This part, usually in the bottom right, will have a signature from the issuing organization representative and sometimes a veterinarian or trainer.

Some certificates may include additional details such as the following:

  • Handler Information: This section includes the handler’s name, address, and sometimes contact information.
  • Expiration Date: Some certificates may have an expiration date, though this doesn’t hold legal weight.
  • Embossed Seal or Hologram: Some certificates may include visual security features to enhance their perceived validity.

Things to Remember

While some organizations offer service dog certificates, they often hold no legal weight in the United States under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This means businesses and other entities cannot require them as proof of a service dog’s legitimacy.

That doesn’t mean they’re useless, however. They can sometimes be quite helpful for public education purposes. In situations where someone unfamiliar with service dog laws questions a handler’s right to be accompanied by their dog, a certificate might serve as a visual cue and initiate a conversation about the dog’s purpose.

However, once again, handlers are not obligated to present any documentation beyond answering the following two questions:

  • Is the dog trained to do work or perform tasks specific to the disability?
  • What work or tasks is the dog trained to perform?

Businesses and public entities cannot rely solely on a certificate to verify a service dog. They are only allowed to ask the two questions mentioned above to determine if the dog meets the legal definition of a service animal.

One concern, when it comes to these certificates, is that some institutes will often sell them without proper verification. This raises certain ethical issues since these certificates do not undergo the due processes and can be misleading, potentially allowing untrained animals access to public spaces where they might pose a safety risk.

At the end of the day, the true hallmark of a service dog is extensive training and reliable task performance. Responsible handlers are expected to prioritize professional training and maintaining their dog’s public access manners, and certificates should never be a substitute for these crucial aspects of service dog life.

Getting a Service Dog Certificate

If you’re looking to get a service dog certificate, the important thing to remember is to get the proper training for your dog alongside it. This makes sure that you get both an authentic certificate for your dog, and the necessary training for your dog to perform its duties in the field.

Every service dog certificate will have information about the issuing organization, signatures, and your dog on it. Some might have additional details like the handler’s name and expiration date.

Keep in mind that getting a certificate for a service dog isn’t a legal requirement. You are only required to make sure that your dog has received proper training for the task you want it to perform.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is provided for general knowledge. It does not constitute legal advice, and readers should seek advice from qualified legal professionals regarding particular cases or situations. 


Published by: Khy Talara


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