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Are Service Dogs In Training Allowed Access To Public Places?


service dog in training

Service dogs are known to be the special customers who accompany their owners in business establishments such as restaurants, stores and cafés. However, if you are still training your puppy, can you also go shopping or dining out with your future service dog? Does a Service Dog in Training (SDiT) have the same right as a well-trained service dog? We will answer these questions and offer you some solutions in this post.

In this article

1. Importance of SDiT access to public places

2. Legal rights for service dogs  

3. Rights for service dogs in training (SDiT)

    3.1 Verified restaurants and shops in the U.S

    3.2 Verified restaurants and shops in Canada            

Importance of SDiT access to public places  

An important part of service dog training is the ability to gain access to public places. As service dogs will assist their owners on various occasions and meet different groups of people in public places, it is necessary to discipline the dog in such as way that it can make contact with other people and animals courteously. However, before becoming a qualified service dog, you must find some outdoor locations where you can practice these skills so that your dog will have the opportunity to become familiar with animals and people of different ages, genders and sizes. Another purpose of early socialization training is to desensitize unnecessary stimuli such as driving vehicles and passersby conversation to avoid distraction from various resources while performing tasks. In the first year of service dog training, dogs should understand the basic socialization skills, which they can learn in public places that are friendly to pets and SDiT but have fewer people and noises (e.g. streets, parks and yards.)

American with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that people who have physical or mental disabilities are allowed to take their well-trained service animals into all public spaces.

Note that:

 •  The service animal must be a dog, but there are no restrictions on the breed and size of service dogs. Other service animals, such as mini horses, may not be allowed if they are larger than 34 inches or heavier than 100 pounds. 

 •    The public areas include means of transport (e.g.  airplanes, trains, ships, subways and buses), commercial enterprises (e.g. shops, restaurants, cafés, hotels and catering establishments), healthcare facilities (e.g. hospitals and nursing homes), public facilities (e.g. parks and beaches), etc. Other private enterprises or companies also have no right to evict a trained service dog or dismiss an employee with a service dog. 

 •  The service dog should be housebroken and able to perform special tasks related to the owner’s disability.

•  The service dog must be kept on a leash or controlled by the owner’s voice or body language.

Read more: Dos and Don’ts of Positive Reinforcement in Dogs Training

service dog in training

Rights for service dogs in training (SDiT)  

Unfortunately, the ADA does not include the access rights of a service dog in training, which means that the employees of the public areas may ban your service dog on the ground that your service dog has not completed the entire training.

However, in many states or regions of the US and Canada, an SDiD has the same access rights as a service dog. To be on the safe side, be sure to check the latest laws in your state or region.

Another good news is that many shops and restaurants in both the US and Canada have confirmed that they indeed welcome service dogs in training. However, certain shops and restaurants only serve the SDiT who is wearing a vest with the sign of “service dog in training”. Also, the dog is required to be under control and kept on a leash. Otherwise, you might be asked to leave if your pup behaves rudely or causes damages or complaints.

Check out the list of verified restaurants and shops in the US and Canada.

United States  

•  Barnes & Noble 

•  Home Goods 

•  Marshalls 

•  Sierra Trading Post 

•  Starbucks 

•  Nordstrom 

•  Abercrombie & Fitch 

•  Neiman Marcus 

•  Michaels 

•  Lazy Dogs Restaurants and Bars (Patio Only) 


•  Winners 

•  HomeSense 

•  Marshalls 

•  Starbucks 

•  Abercrombie & Fitch 

•  Michaels 

•  Nordstrom 

•  Bass Pro Shops 

•  Chapters/Indigo/Coles 

Last tip: It is recommended to have the latest rules for these locations confirmed on their websites/apps or by phone before heading there with your SDiT.

Service Animal Registration