There is no government provision for certification of service dogs in the United States. Certification of service dogs reflects the standards, training and quality of the organization or individual who certified the dog.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) states:
“Q17. Does the ADA require that service animals be certified as service animals?
A. No. Covered entities may not require documentation, such as proof that the animal has been certified, trained, or licensed as a service animal, as a condition for entry.”
Assessment and evaluation of service dogs is important, even if it is not a legal requirement. Cooperative Paws SDC® graduates receive tools to assess service dogs. Additionally, they learn about meaningful ways to document service dogs’ training.
Because SDCs choose how they wish to apply their knowledge and skills in service dog training, they vary in whether or not they choose to offer some type of certification to the dogs they work with. Many SDCs incorporate service dog training into their pet dog training businesses. However, some SDCs work for nonprofit service dog programs and still others do both!