Public Access Laws for Service Dogs in Training


A small yellow lab puppy wearing a yellow training vest and purple gentle leader sits in the grocery store. Next to her is a green shopping basket with groceries in it.

If you have a service dog in-training (SDIT), you probably know that your pup is not covered by the American Disabilities Act. This means that each state has its own laws dictating the ability of SDITs to have public access.


Currently, five states do not cover service animals in-training under their public accommodation laws: Hawaii, Michigan, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming.


Check out animallaw.info for public access laws in your state. You can find the specific SDIT laws in the second column after your state. We recommend bookmarking your state’s law for easy access.


Service Dogs and SDIT aren’t required to have identification or anything that proves they’re “official.” However, a lot of organizations provide their puppy raisers with ID cards. It is always a great idea to keep this on you in case someone is asking you to provide proof or leave.


If you are questioned about your SDIT while on a public outing, please use the link provided above as an easy reference!



Some common questions/issues you may run into when in public with your SDIT:


Q: Is that your service dog?

A: He/she is a service dog in training and is currently working. (Elaborate on your organization and what their mission is, if applicable.)


Q: You need to leave since that dog isn’t a real service dog.

A: Reference the link above and familiarize yourself with your state’s SDIT laws. Take this opportunity to educate the person on SDIT laws and your organization!


Q: What do you do when the person will not listen to you?

A: Most organizations will not want you to make a scene and will want you to leave. Afterward, you can write an email or call the company to let them know about your experience and educate them on your state’s laws.


Q: What happens when someone says: We don’t have to accommodate you for housing because it’s not a real service dog.

A: Please reference the link above and find your state laws and housing accommodations for your SDIT in the 2nd column after your state!


Have more questions? Let us know by commenting below!

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