The legal situation
Since June 2021 there is an assistance dog law in Germany. This can be found under the link https://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/bgg/__12e.html and the following pages. However, the law is currently only available in German. I have therefore written out the most important regulations here.
1. an assistance dog is a specially trained dog. He was trained for a disabled person and helps him in everyday life. An assistance dog must pass a test together with his human. For this, the law provides several possibilities:
1. you and your dog have passed a training and examination in Germany. This training and examination must take place at an approved training facility and with an approved examiner. At the moment there are no approved training centers or examiners. Therefore, this possibility is currently eliminated.
2. the training of your dog has been paid for by a German health insurance company, a pension provider or a liability insurance company AND it has been recognized by them as an aid. There are also other cost units, best we talk about this personally.
3. you have passed a qualified team test together with your assistance dog outside of Germany? Wonderful! Then you can apply for recognition of the training and exam. A test is qualified if there are training standards and defined behaviors and the examiner was not involved in the training. For the application you need a proof of the training with details what you have trained, an exam certificate and a proof of a disability. I know that in many countries there is no such state proof. Therefore, Germany also accepts a certificate from your specialist doctor or a certificate of a disability pension or a need for care.
If you have been living in Germany for a longer period of time and have started a training as an assistance dog team together with your dog before 30.06.2023 AND have completed this training with an examination by 30.06.2024, you can also have your dog recognized as an assistance dog upon application. I will be happy to explain to you exactly how this works and what special features you need to pay attention to.
Access Rights and Carrying Possibilities
In Germany, trained and certified assistance dogs with a certificate are allowed to go everywhere you are allowed to go with street shoes. Your assistance dog is therefore allowed to accompany you to the supermarket, to a hotel or to the train. A landlord must also accept a recognized assistance dog. In everyday life, however, this is often very difficult. Many people do not know assistance dogs and also do not know that they are allowed to accompany their human (almost) everywhere. Therefore, it is very important to get the recognition according to the assistance dog law as soon as possible.
Assistance dog forms / tasks
There are five different types of assistance dogs in Germany:
* The guide dog for people with visual impairment or who are blind.
* The mobility assistance dog for people who have a disability with limited mobility. These include paraplegia, amputations, limitations after a stroke, and the like.
* The signal assistance dog for deaf or hard of hearing people.
* The indication and warning dog for people with neurological or metabolic diseases, or anaphylaxis. These include mainly diabetes, epilepsy and narcolepsy, and severe allergies.
* The PSB assistance dog for people with psycho-social disabilities. These include, for example: PTSD, autism, dementia, depression.
When multiple disabilities occur together, the disability with the greatest need for support counts. In the case of diabetes that has resulted in a visual impairment, a guide dog will be used in most cases.
In the case of PTSD that coincides with mobility impairment due to amputation, PTSD will usually be the primary focus.
In Germany, as mentioned above, there are currently no state-recognized organizations. However, there are member associations of Assistance Dog International here as well. Of course, the government is also aware of ADI and most airlines only accept dogs trained by ADI or the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF). Some airlines accept other credentials as well. It's best to talk to the airline early on. For our trained teams I have my own trainer number with Lufthansa. So the teams trained or checked by me can fly with Lufthansa.