Service dogs are one of the most useful resources for people with disabilities to live a more independent lifestyle. These dogs provide valuable help in a variety of everyday activities that may not be able to be accomplished on your own when you have a disability. Selecting a service dog, however, can be a little tricky. Dogs, like people, are all individuals and a perfect match may take some time to accomplish.
The first thing to understand is that not all dogs entering into a training program are going to reach their goal of becoming a service dog. The training program can be overwhelming for the dog, or the dog may not have the temperament needed to be a service dog. It is a hit or miss type of situation. However, if you keep the following tips in mind, you will have a much easier time finding and training the right service dog for your needs.
Tips for Choosing a Service Dog
• Pick a breed based on need not on preference. You may love a little lap dog, but your disability may benefit from you having a much larger dog. Pick a dog that will have the ability to meet your service needs.
• Talk to a breeder or a veterinarian about dog breeds. Dogs are bred for different reasons and have different personalities. Hounds, for instance, are hunters and are very independent dogs. They often prefer the company of other dogs to humans.
• Check the type of fur. Caring for your dog is essential for their good health and service. Dogs with longer hair will need to be brushed several times a week and may shed more during the change of seasons.
• Puppy or older dogs can be trained for service. Working as a service dog is based mostly on temperament and willingness to learn. You can accomplish this with either a puppy or an older dog.
The most important thing to remember is that after you pick a dog to enter into service, you have to choose a qualified trainer. Training the dog to act as a service dog should be handled by a professional that knows how to interact with the dog. The trainer should not be one that is so aggressive that they intimidate the dog. You want to be able to build a relationship with the dog once it has been trained. Dogs that have been scared during training are emotionally insecure and often do not bond with their owner.
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Please note: VAT is removed in the checkout process
In the UK, disabled people do not have to pay VAT when buying certain disability aids and services (This can be claimed by friend or family member purchasing on their behalf). Not everything supplied to disabled people is necessarily zero-rated for VAT. Goods and services on which you do not have to pay VAT are usually known as 'zero-rated' or 'eligible for VAT relief.
Who is eligible for VAT relief?
You must be 'chronically sick or disabled' to qualify for VAT relief. The HMRC comment on this is as follows. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they either:
have a physical or mental impairment that has a long-term and severe effect on their ability to carry out everyday activities;
have a condition that doctors treat as a chronic sickness - like diabetes, for example;
are terminally ill
VAT Relief on our Disability Aids
All products on the Aids for Mobility website are flagged with an option to claim VAT relief during Checkout if it applies to that item. When you add a zero-rated product or service to your Basket, you will be asked to tick a checkbox to confirm that you, or the person for whom you are buying the item, are eligible for VAT Relief.
How VAT relief works
If you are claiming VAT Relief you will be asked to complete an extra few questions during Checkout, where we will ask you to provide brief details of your disability and confirmation that the product is for 'personal or domestic use'. We will keep a record of this declaration along with your order details. You can then buy the product(s) in your Basket at a price that excludes VAT. You will be asked to make this declaration each time you place an order that includes zero-rated products. It is a legal requirement that we record this information for every order, and we apologise for the inconvenience.
More information from HMRC
You can find out more about VAT Relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you cannot find the answer to your questions there or would prefer to speak to an adviser, you can call their Helpline on 0845 302 02 03.
The helpline is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. (Closed weekends and bank holidays).