Psychiatric Service Dog Partners provides a Service Dog in Training (SDIT) Manners Evaluation, a Public Access Standard, and a Public Access Test for use by service dog handlers and trainers. We designed these service dog public access resources to be used together. We also have a fun quiz on service dog handler etiquette, so you can learn about public access behaviors from another perspective!
For businesses operators and agents of other places of public accommodation, PSDP has created a section for professionals. We designed resources in that area to boil down fairly involved laws to simple and practical guides that are useful in running a business and training employees.
About our evaluations
Our SDIT Manners Evaluation helps handlers and trainers mark progress in the beginning of a service dog training journey. This also makes it easier to figure out when a team is ready to transition to training in no-pets places, as allowed where you live. Our public access standard and test for service dog handlers establish a baseline for behaviors a service dog should and should not show in public. The standard offers guidance and explanations, while the test provides the practical skills evaluation.
Our service dog public access test reflects an approach that differs from other tests. Most service dog public access tests have many items and many situations, but the team only needs an 80% rating (or thereabouts) in order to pass.
Our service dog public access standard and test use a minimum threshold. This means that any service dog, regardless of size or working position, should be able to meet the standard. Since every item on the standard and test is important, a pass on our test requires a score of 100%. In this way, PSDP’s public access test is both more restrictive than other tests (only a 100% earns a pass), and less limiting than other tests (only basic service dog behavior is required).
Our evaluations are only valuable if they are used in good faith and in capable hands. Whether a professional dog trainer or not, the evaluator must be able to be accurate and honest. Just as the nature of individuals’ disabilities contains unpredictable variation, so do the needs of the working relationship of a service dog and handler. Handlers are strongly cautioned to think of taking the PAT or SDIT Manners Evaluation at one point in time as a baseline snapshot of a dynamic journey. Positive results today don’t mean you should stop all training tomorrow.
The following initial pages contain information on our service dog public access standard and test, including the printable (PDF) versions, plus the SDIT Manners Evaluation. Our quiz on service dog handler etiquette is also linked below them.
Lessons on dining with service dogs (video)
We embedded our Out to lunch with service dog teams YouTube video just below. This under-four-minute video is a great primer on the basics of dining with a service dog. Much of the video consists of text without sound. For blind and low-vision individuals, the script is on our Out to lunch with service dog teams PSDP page.