Fact checked

Can Pugs Be Service Dogs? - Everything You Need to Know

Pugs, with their affectionate and sociable personalities, can be well-suited for emotional support roles. Their small size and gentle demeanor make them ideal companions for individuals dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions, providing comfort and a source of joy through their companionship.

Kristi Carignan
January 12, 2024
May 30, 2023
5 minute read
Updated By
Expert Reviewed By:
Grant FiddesGrant Fiddes
SEO Associate
May 30, 2023
August 18, 2021
5 minute read
Updated By
If you have a disability that impacts your daily life, you should consider a Pug service dog. Find out more about how a Pug service dog could help you.

You may be surprised to learn that pugs can make excellent service dogs. Thanks to their small size, affectionate disposition, and observant nature, they can pick up new skills quickly and offer their owners fantastic emotional and therapeutic support. If you're considering a pug service dog, here's everything you need to know.

Pug Service Dog

Pugs can be a brilliant support to those experiencing psychiatric or intellectual disabilities. Their snuggly and loveable personas make them ideal companions. If you're looking for a dog who can help with mobility concerns and balance, a larger breed is preferable.

What Are Service Dogs?

Before we explore pug service dogs specifically, let's define service dogs in general. Service dogs offer their owners medical and therapeutic support by performing specialized functions related to a disability. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs must meet the following two requirements:

  1. They are required because of a specific disability.
  2. They perform a specific task relating to the disability.

For example, a service dog might support an owner with a physical disability like cerebral palsy by retrieving objects from the ground or opening and closing doors. The dog's presence is necessary because of the disability, and the dog can perform a function that supports the owner in navigating it.

Can Pugs Be Service Dogs?

Yes. Pugs can be service dogs for specific disabilities. Due to their compact size, they are not ideally suited for mobility or guide services. However, they work well for handlers with psychiatric and intellectual disabilities and can perform some retrieval functions too.

They Are A Smart And Trainable Breed

Pugs are known for being smart and observant, which means they're ready and willing to engage in training. With consistent, positive-reinforcement training, they can learn how to assist their owners in various ways and offer therapeutic support.

They Are Highly Adaptable

Pugs are compact, so they can easily slot into various environments. They are well suited for apartment living and can accompany owners on flights, join them at work, or go to school (if they meet the ADA service dog criteria). 

They Are Friendly And Affectionate Dogs

Pugs are incredibly affectionate creatures, always eager to be by their handler's side. This makes them ideal emotional support dogs as they provide incredible comfort and loyalty to their humans. In fact, they are known as natural cuddlers, so they are perfect for handlers who want some extra affection.

Did You Know?

Psychiatric Service Dogs (PSDs) are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act and are legally granted access to places where pets are prohibited, such as airplane cabins, storefronts and restaurants. Find out more

What Tasks Can A Pug Perform?

We know that pugs are affectionate, intelligent, and eager to please their humans. But what exactly can they do in a service-related context? Let's explore. 

Deep Pressure Therapy

Deep Pressure Therapy is an important function of many service dogs. Using their body weight and body warmth, they can alleviate many symptoms of anxiety, depression, and a whole host of other psychiatric conditions.

Provide Tactile Stimulation

Much like deep pressure therapy, tactile stimulation can offer owners a valuable and restorative distraction from a range of emotional and psychological conditions. Through touch, dogs provide their owners with grounding and support.

Danger Or Intruder Notification

Pugs make good alert dogs. If there is a stranger or intruder in your space, they will generally let owners know by barking. You can also train your dogs to alert you to dangerous situations by enacting a pre-established cue.

How To Get A Pug Psychiatric Service Dog

If you are looking to get a psychiatric service dog, Pettable offers a comprehensive PSD training certificate for you and your furry companion.

Take Our Assessment

Pettable takes the stress out of getting a PSD certificate. Fill in a quick three-minute quiz and we will determine your specific needs.

Get A Psychiatric Service Dog

Whether you want to train an existing pup or you're looking for a service dog, the options are endless. Check if your insurance covers the associated costs, and if you're looking for a dog, always go through a reputable shelter or breeder.

Complete Training

Successful service dogs are trained well. Under ADA regulations, they must be well-behaved and able to function without hassle in public. Our online PSD course gives owners all the tools needed to train their dogs successfully. Learn necessary commands and train them to perform assistance tasks to help you navigate your disability.

Can I Teach My Pug To Be A Service Dog?

Legally, any size or breed of dog can become a service animal, provided they get the proper training. If you have a pug and want to train it to become a psychiatric service dog, chat with the Pettable experts and consider enrolling in our online course.

What Disabilities Qualify For A Service Dog?

Service dogs can help handlers with many disabilities, including physical, intellectual, and sensory disabilities. Psychiatric service dogs can also help with various psychiatric conditions, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and panic disorder.

Service Dog Laws You Should Know

There are several important service dog laws that are worth knowing.

  • Fair Housing Act: The FHA is an important law when it comes to service animals and housing. Under this law, landlords and housing complexes may not unfairly discriminate against tenants with service dogs. Service animals are classified differently from pets, and thus, owners don't have to pay pet tariffs or levies.
  • The Air Carrier Access Act: Established in 1986, the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) ensures that people with disabilities can travel with their service dogs. This act oversees that airlines make reasonable accommodations for people traveling with service dogs and ensures that they are not charged extra for bringing the service dog with them.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act: The ADA protects the rights of people with disabilities. It stipulates that any breed and size of dog can be a service animal and legislates that people can bring their service dogs to public places. Emotional support animals, however, are not protected by the ADA. Nonetheless, they are protected by the Fair Housing Act.

What's The Difference Between Psychiatric Service Dogs vs. Emotional Support Dogs?

There are two key differences between psychiatric service dogs and emotional support dogs. Firstly, PSDs are recognized as service dogs under the ADA and get certain legal provisions. Secondly, training criteria are different. PSDs are trained to perform disability-related tasks. ESAs provide many therapeutic benefits but are not necessarily trained to perform tasks.

Nonetheless, under the FHA, landlords do recognize ESAs with a legitimate ESA letter. If you're looking for an official letter, we can easily connect you to a qualified mental health practitioner in your state.

Meet the author:
Kristi Carignan

Kristi Carignan is a seasoned freelance writer with over 20 years of experience crafting copy for global agencies and brands. When she's not writing, she enjoys spending time with her furry companions, Sugar the PomChi and Rudy the Shiba Inu, and indulging in hobbies like crafting and home renovation.

See Archive