• Rhesa Houston, DVM

A review of disruptive behaviors of service dogs

Updated: May 17, 2018


In my work as a veterinarian, I’ve come across stories on how businesses are having more customers with service dogs. As a business entity, do you and your employees know what the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines as disruptive service dog behavior?

At Assistance Animals Consulting, we are veterinarians, recognized experts uniquely qualified to serve the community by providing resources for education, behavioral understanding, and guidance regarding working animals. Our veterinarians are here to support you and your business.

The ADA defines disruptive service dog behavior as any of the following:

  • Barking when not specifically related to the handler’s disability.

  • Aggression towards people and other animals.

  • Inappropriate elimination - urinating or defecating within the business facility.

  • Being non-responsive to the verbal commands of the handler.

If a dog barks just once, or barks because someone has provoked it, this would not be considered disruptive service dog behavior.  


Please see the next blog post in this series for what to do when a service dog is disruptive.

To learn more about the ADA provisions for Service Dogs visit: https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.html#res

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