For Businesses

A service dog handler pays for her drink at a coffee shop.

It pays to welcome all customers!

The use of service dogs is on the rise, so the average business is increasingly likely to have customers with service dogs. Prepare your business before any issue arises, avoiding costly problems other businesses have endured—including bad publicity!

Psychiatric Service Dog Partners has created this section of our website to help U.S. businesses and other places of public accommodation understand service dog access laws and satisfy their compliance burden. We want to make it easy to digest complex laws and implement employee training that keeps your business running smoothly for you and your customers!

Begin by reviewing this page and our “Gatekeeper Guide”, then explore our Resources—and especially our FAQ on Laws—to satisfy any further curiosity. We’re happy to consult with you and lend our expertise if we might be able to help with your service animal policy, or any specific service dog issue.*

Gatekeeper Guide screenshot (click for Gatekeeper Guide)

Gatekeeper Guide

The next step is to distribute our Gatekeeper Guide to your employees. We recommend doing this during a short group meeting, but you don’t have to bring everyone together if that’s impractical. However, it can be extremely helpful to have a dedicated time (or portion of a regular meeting) in which to present both the guide and a tailored version of the ideas in our staff training pointers (linked below).

Staff Training

Staff training can easily avoid being another boring compliance measure and actually turn into a welcome departure from usual activities! Allowing employees to ask any questions about the proper treatment of customers with (service) dogs in a group setting can generate ideas specific to your business, so everyone can learn more together, misconceptions are identified and replaced, and the right concepts and best practices stick.

In addition to our Gatekeeper Guide, we have the same document available in a two-per-page version. You can cut and post this version at various stations, such as cash registers, as a reminder about the laws and your policies.

2pp Gatekeeper Guide screenshot

Two-per-page Gatekeeper Guide

We embedded Out to lunch with service dog teams just below. This under-four-minute film serves as an excellent employee training video for restaurant staff members and others.

Additional resources

Straight from the source: The Department of Justice offers a three-page overview of service animals (2010) and a nine-page in-depth FAQ document (2015), respectively linked below:

For a basic FAQ on service dogs, PSDP offers an engaging brochure:

PSDP flyer 2021

Business operators often have questions about how to accommodate those with service dogs if there are also those with allergies or fears present. Our Laws FAQ briefly covers this, and Dr. Morris explores this more in-depth in an article based on her experiences:

Laws FAQ

Allergies and Fear of Service Dogs

North Carolina and South Carolina businesses can benefit from our more specific Carolina Gatekeeper Guide, also available in a trimable two-per-page format:

Carolina Gatekeeper Guide 2015

Two-per-page Carolina Gatekeeper Guide

PSDP values your perspective as an operator of a place of public accommodation. If you have any ideas about how we can better serve the needs of businesses, please do contact us.

If you found our resources helpful, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our all-volunteer nonprofit, supporting our ability to keep you informed.

*While we can discuss laws with you, we cannot act as attorneys by providing legal advice regarding any specific legal action with which you may be involved.