Psychiatric Service Dogs

Tips for Dating with a Service Dog or Psychiatric Service Dog

If you have a service dog or psychiatric service dog, the thought of dating may come with an extra layer of anxiety. Will your date be confused by your service dog? Will they understand its purpose or look down on you for it? Will they be respectful of your service animal? How much do you have to explain up front? All these questions can add a lot of anxiety to an already stressful endeavor. However, this is no reason to give up on love or to avoid putting yourself out there. Here are some tips to dating with a service dog or psychiatric service dog.

When Should You Tell Your Date About Your Service Animal?

This is entirely up to you as an individual. Some people include their service animal immediately in their dating profiles, so people know up front they have one. Some individuals prefer to wait and get to know someone first, before explaining they have a service animal, so their potential date gets to see some of them and their personality before their disability and service animal. At some point as communication with your date moves forward, it will be an important topic to discuss, as your service animal is likely a big part of your life.

How Much do You Have to Tell Your Date About Your Service Animal?

Again, this is up to you as an individual. You may feel pressured to explain why you have a service animal and the disability you have. But don’t give into this pressure, as information about your disability or mental health struggle is yours to share at your own time and pace. You do not owe your date this information right off the bat.

Should You Bring Your Service Animal on the First Date?

This is up to you and what you are comfortable with. Depending on your disability or mental health struggle, you may need your service animal with you at all times. If this is the case, you should probably tell your date you have a service dog you will be bringing with you, just in case they are allergic, have a fear of dogs, etc. This will avoid any unpleasant surprises on the date. If you are able to leave your service dog behind, you may choose to do this, so your date is not distracted by the dog and is instead fully focused on getting to know you. Or your service animal may create an easy conversation starter during the date, if you choose to bring it. These decisions are up to you and your comfort level as you navigate a new dating adventure.

Can You Bring Your Service Animal Into Someone Else’s Home?

Service dogs are allowed to go anywhere with you in public, travel with you, and live with you, as they are deemed necessary medical equipment under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). However, these rights do not extend to private property or private homes. Get permission from your date in advance if you are visiting their home with your service animal.

How Should You Discuss a Future Life with a Service Animal?

As you get to know the person you are dating better, it is important to discuss if they are okay having service animal in their lifelong term. It is also important to discern if they are supportive of you and your disability or mental illness in the long term as well. It is up to you at what point it is appropriate to have these conversations, and the exact timing will be different for everyone. Having someone who is supportive of your service animal is very important.

In conclusion, dating with a service animal or psychiatric service dog may seem daunting and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. With good communication and clear boundaries, your dating experience with a service animal can be a positive one. In order to officially take your service animal out in public, you will need a service animal letter of certification. You can get one by talking to our experts at United Support Animal today at 800-918-3151 or by taking our pre-screening test.