Prepping Your Home for a Service Dog
A service dog is a dog that is trained to perform specific tasks that aid a person with a physical or mental disability to perform activities of daily living. Trained service dogs must meet certain standards of behavior, and are required by law to be allowed anywhere that is open to the public. If you are considering getting a service dog, or better yet, getting ready to welcome a service dog into your home in the near future, there are several things that you can do to prepare for this life-changing event.
The very first thing that you need to do is prepare yourself. If you are going to be the service dog’s handler, the best place to start is knowing your legal rights. Beyond the right to take your dog anywhere that the public is granted access, you also have the right to privacy concerning your disability. You do not have to disclose the nature of your disability, or any details about your medical condition that you are not comfortable with. In fact, the only two questions that an owner or manager is allowed to ask you concerning your service dog are:
- Is this animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task is this animal trained to perform?
With that being said, it is also important to understand the realities that will accompany having a service dog. While you are legally entitled to privacy concerning your disability, life happens, and you will have to deal with people pointing, staring, and asking potentially inappropriate questions. It is beneficial to know your legal rights, so that you are not taken advantage of in such situations. It is also crucial that you develop an attitude that is assertive, and practice finding humor in unexpected or stressful situations.
If you are worried about any part of preparing yourself for bringing home a service dog, talk to your dog’s trainer about your concerns. The same applies to prepping your house to welcome your dog; the trainer will know exactly which tasks your dog will be performing, and will work with you to create a functional space for you and your dog. When having these conversations, there are a few important aspects to consider:
Check the amount of space available in your home. Your doorways and halls might be large enough to meet your needs now, but how well will you fit once you and your service dog are moving through the house? Take a look at bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen spaces as well, and consider how easy it is going to be to move around.
If you find that it is going to be difficult to move around or to access important items, consider re-organizing to make things easier for your dog to get to. Storage bins and buckets are easy for dogs to get in and out of, and can be stacked against a wall out of the way. Large or decorative items in the hallway can be moved to a room with more space, and any cords or other medical supplies that might be obstacles should be tucked or strapped so that they are out of the way.
Sometimes, reorganizing isn’t enough. It’s likely that you will have to add at least a few modifications to your home to prepare it for your service dog. Again, this is where frequent communication with the trainer is invaluable, because they will help you understand what will be most beneficial for you and your dog. Think about how service dog-friendly your light switches are, and add pulls to your doors. You might also add grab bars in your bathroom, bedroom, and/or hallways.
One crucial part of preparing for a service dog is to make a plan for emergency situations. Know what you and the dog will do in the event of earthquakes, fire, tornado, home invasion, and other emergency situations.
Finally, you want to double check that the products you are using in your home will be safe for your service dog. Not all products are dog-friendly, and the last thing you want is to accidentally hurt your new companion.
When it comes to carpet cleaning, you can trust Blue Sky Chem-Dry to keep your home safe and healthy for you and your companion. Our products are green-certified, and completely safe for pets. Even though your service dog will be well-groomed and well-behaved, it will still inevitably shed some hair and dander, which will end up in your carpet. That means that you will need carpet cleaning more than ever to maintain the air quality in your home. Our proprietary cleaning process will clean deep in your carpets and will dry in hours, not days. You can also call Blue Sky Chem-Dry if your service dog does have an accident. Our Pet Urine Removal Treatment eliminates animal urine odors at the source, so the smell won’t keep returning. Give us a call today at 866-776-9198 for a free quote and learn more about what we can do for you!