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Target is ranked eighth among the largest retailers in the United States of America and a lot of people pay frequent visits to Target to make a variety of purchases. It’s also common for us to take our dogs with us when we’re going out because it can be a good time for some exercise in the form of walking and that way they’ll be less likely to get themselves in trouble which can happen if you leave them alone for too long and they get bored or curious and don’t have anyone supervising them. That brings us to the question, are dogs allowed in Target?
Are Dogs Allowed in Target?
Despite having a Bull Terrier named Bullseye as their official mascot, Target isn’t really dog-friendly. Like a lot of other major retailers in America, they have a strict no pet policy and only allow service animals. This is to ensure the safety of customers. Your dog might be well behaved but not everyone’s dogs are. Another reason for this is that health regulations for grocery stores prevent them from letting in regular dogs and a lot of local health codes prevent this too.
The penalties can be very harsh if these health guidelines are violated so most retailers just stick to not allowing any pets. The strictness in enforcement varies from store to store though but that’s down to the employees in charge.
It’s best to not bring your dog to Target though, because it’s against store policy, and if you have a service animal make sure you have proof to avoid any unnecessary problems.
Being an American corporation, they only allow service dogs that meet the standards of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). These are special animals whose jobs are to help disabled people navigate situations and perform tasks that they wouldn’t be able to perform on their own.
Unlike humans, these animals can be with them 24/7 and the owners need the animals with them at all times and that’s very important for some of the services these animals provide which we’ll cover here. Because of this Target and all other retailers have to let these animals in with their owners and they are required by law to allow service dog owners access to all spaces open to the public with their service dogs and they must be in complete control of their dogs.
Types of Service Dogs
Service animals are usually dogs but can be any animal from parrots to pigs and even small horses. According to the ADA, these are the types of service animals:
1. Allergy Detection Dogs
These dogs are trained to detect allergens that might be harmful to their owners by smell and alert them. Because dogs have a better sense of smell than us, they can pick up the scent of the allergens long before their owner They usually wear vests with pockets where medication and medical information about their owners are kept and they are more commonly paired with children because they have worse reactions and are not as careful as adults. This will help them have more independence and put the minds of their parents at ease.
2. Autism Service Dogs
These dogs are trained extensively and rigorously to aid people with autism. They help perform a wide range of tasks and can help interrupt harmful behavior, alert parents if their autistic child gets into danger, and generally help them navigate social settings. They are also trained to make sure autistic children don’t run away and can track them if they do and they provide emotional support and companionship which can boost their owner’s confidence levels and help them keep their emotions in check.
3. Mobility Assistance Dogs
They assist people with mobility issues to perform a variety of tasks like opening doors, turning lights on and off, bringing objects they can’t reach, and even helping to pull wheelchairs up ramps. They can also help to provide balance while moving and may come with vests or special harnesses to help them serve their purpose. Dog’s that help to provide balance or pull wheelchairs have to be big enough to support their owners.
4. Diabetic Alert Dogs
They are trained to detect and alert their owners when their blood sugar levels get too high or too low. When this happens, the owners will then perform tests and take medication accordingly. They are also trained to alert other family members of there’s an emergency and some of them are trained to call 911 on special phones if they’re alone. They usually carry medical information in their vests so anyone who responds knows what to do.
5. Guide Dogs
These are the most common service dog you’ll see and their job is to help visually impaired people navigate their surroundings. They usually wear a harness that their owners will hold on to when moving around. They are trained to be selectively disobedient, so they make their own decisions based on what the owner wants. As an example, if the owner wants to cross the street and asks the dog to do so, they’ll check and wait to make sure there are no cars coming before they cross the street. They go through extensive training and Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds are the most common breeds trained for this purpose.
6. Hearing Dogs
They are trained to hear for their owners and act accordingly. They respond to all sorts of sounds like smoke or fire alarms, knocks on the door or a doorbell ringing, phones and alarm clocks, and can be trained to respond to the person’s name as well. When they hear the sounds, they’ll lead their owners to the source of it or to the appropriate place to respond to it, depending on which sound they’re responding to.
7. Seizure Alert Dogs
They are trained to provide assistance during and after seizures and can detect them. Unlike humans, they can stay with their owners 24/7 which really comes in handy because you can’t tell when a seizure will happen. They are trained to alert others in the family or call 911 on special phones if they’re alone and to move them to a different location if they’re currently in an unsafe place. They can also perform deep pressure stimulation in an attempt to end the seizure and help their owner to regain consciousness and bring them medicine after the seizure is over. They usually also wear vests with medical information for anyone who responds.
8. Psychiatric Service Dogs
They are trained to be companions to people who have mental conditions like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They can sense the changes in the mood of their owners and can tell when their owners are about to start having negative experiences or symptoms like flashbacks or anxiety attacks. They also help their owners be more confident and can help to act as a barrier between them and others to preserve personal space.
What About Emotional Support Dogs?
Emotional support dogs or therapy dogs are different from psychiatric service dogs. These dogs aren’t trained to help their owner with any disability like the service dogs. The owners just have them to make them feel better and they are not allowed because they aren’t classified as service animals under the ADA. They only provide comfort and do not actually perform any tasks to aid disabled individuals. Service animals aren’t legally considered as pets and emotional support dogs are. Target allows service dogs, not pets.
To avoid unnecessary problems, it’s best to leave your dogs at home when going to Target but if you have a condition where you require a service dog then you shouldn’t be worried. You’re free to go there with them without any restrictions but you have to keep them under control to ensure the safety of other customers.
Service dogs are trained to be calm and friendly so this shouldn’t be a big problem. You could also just them with you when you’re going to other pet-friendly stores, but you’re not likely to find any grocery stores that will be willing to let you in with your pet. Some restaurants allow it but they usually have spaces outdoors and only allow pets outdoors. However, if you find a pet-friendly store, be sure to look out for treats for them at checkout.