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Are Dogs Allowed in Target?

Are Dogs Allowed in Target?

If you have your dogs with you, do you think you are then going to be allowed to enter Target? Now, it is completely understandable if you think that the answer is an absolute and clear no to this question, but that’s not always the case.

You see, some store names are more laid back about this entire issue of dogs being in their store. Of course, we are not just talking about pet stores here. After all, it’s kind of expected for you to take your dog in with you.

So, where does Target stand when it comes to dogs being allowed in their stores? Are they strict, or are they quite laid back about it, which is certainly the case with some companies?

The Answer

The answer here is along the lines you may have expected in that there is both a yes and a no to the question.

The yes part is that dogs are allowed into Target, but only if they are service dogs. Your pet dog will not be welcome.

We do stress that you should not seek to take your dog in there, even if it is quiet and you felt as if it was a good idea.

But hold on a minute because if you thought you could simply say your dog was a service dog, then that’s not the case. Instead, Target has some very clear rules as to what is expected in this area.

dog in shop

But Why No Pets?

Target is very clear as to why they do not allow any dog, aside from service dogs, into their stores. They state in their rules that it’s down to safety for customers.

It’s also because they sell food products that are open to the air. This means there is a risk of some sort of contamination.

But they think differently about service dogs because of two reasons.

First, it’s because of the job they are doing. Also, there’s the simple fact that without them, the individual would find it impossible to shop in Target.

That would be discriminatory against them, and Target certainly does not want to be doing that.

Next, service and support dogs are so well trained that they simply ignore anything else going on and are focused on the job they are trained to do.

They will not be going sticking their noses in anywhere that it’s not wanted. So this issue of contamination does not apply.

But you certainly cannot say the same for your own pet dog. They may be well trained, but not in the same manner as a service dog. That is where the difference really comes into its own.

dog outside store

Service Dog Rules

So Target has some very strong rules when it comes to service dogs and which ones are allowed in their store. You see, you cannot just turn up and state that your dog is a service dog without meeting certain criteria.

Instead, your dog needs to be registered as a service dog. They must also be wearing either a vest or a harness that actually identifies them as being one.

That means it’s clear to everyone in the store what is going on. In this respect, Target is no different from any other store around.

But Target does have quite an extensive list of which service or support dogs are allowed in their stores. So, let’s go through them. It lets you know what to expect the next time you are in Target and see a dog there with its owner.

The List of Service Dogs Allowed in Target

When it comes to service dogs, then a number of different ones will spring to mind. However, let’s go through each of them and explain why they are allowed in Target with their owners.

As you will see, it’s not simply a dog that helps someone who is blind that is actually allowed into Target.

Psychiatric Dogs

We are starting off with the one that is a bit different. This is a service dog that is not always allowed in every store for some reason, and that is those dogs that offer some form of psychiatric support to their owners.

These are dogs that are sometimes also known as emotional support dogs. It’s easy to see why they get this name when you check out the areas where they help.

That’s because these dogs help people suffering from conditions such as anxiety, PTSD, depression, social anxiety, and other conditions. In fact, anything that makes it hard for them to be outside, and near people.

These dogs help people to remain calm and feel better about their surroundings. That means they can then go ahead and enjoy checking out what Target has to offer. It makes sense that these service dogs are allowed to come into the store.

Medical Assistance Dogs

The next section of support dogs allowed in Target is those that offer medical assistance. That means these dogs are trained to identify when their owner is not feeling well due to a heart condition, diabetes, or anything else along those lines.

Once again, it makes so much sense for them to be allowed in the store considering the role they play in helping their owner.

At the same time, they will also reduce any potential anxiety their owner has about not feeling well when out in public. So they help in more than just one way.

An Emergency Response Dog

An emergency response dog is a service dog trained to help their owner if they have a seizure or are prone to collapsing when out in public. They are trained to carry out certain actions when their owner faces this sort of emergency.

Once again, it will reduce the anxiety of their owner with the simple fact that their dog is with them. It means they know they will help should they run into difficulties.

Dog on leash

Mobility Assistance

We have decided to include dogs that help people who are blind, deaf, or physically disabled in some other way into a category called mobility assistance.

Once again, you can easily see why Target allows this type of service dog into their stores. Also, it’s the category we are all most familiar with anyway.

Target states in their rules and laws that a service dog must have a harness or vest identifying them. That does also make it easier for staff to identify what the problem may be, should the owner-run into difficulties.

However, this is relatively common across the various stores around the country, so Target is not doing something different here.

Should You Still Check?

Some people argue that you should still check with your local Target store. This will ensure it’s safe to take your service dog into the store in advance.

To be honest, it’s not really needed if your dog is registered as a service dog, and they have their harness or vest.

Those two things alone will make a real difference to the reaction you would get if you ventured into a store with your dog in tow.

People are not going to comment or throw you out as soon as they see that the dog is working and helping you in some way.

Remember, the rules just state that service dogs are allowed, and they do not differentiate between them.

What About Training Dogs?

All service dogs need to be trained when young to allow them to then carry out their duties and tasks when they are older and fully grown.

That does involve a need for them to be taken into all sorts of environments and conditions to help with their development.

That translates to them being required to go into stores such as Target to become accustomed to the noises and sounds that surround them. For that reason, Target will allow dogs in training to come into their store. 

However, the same rules apply to dogs in training as they do to actual support dogs that are helping their owners.

That means they must be registered as being dogs that are training. They too need to have vests and harnesses on identifying them as such. 

Apart from that, you should have no problem taking a dog in training at Target.

Overall Conclusion

So it is pretty clear that you are unable to take your pet dog into Target. They just do not allow it in any way, or for any reason.

However, service dogs are allowed into the store. But remember they need to be registered as one, and also to be clearly identified.

As you have read above, there is a long list of service dogs that you may be aware of. When you think about what they do, then it makes sense why they are allowed to come into Target.

So, unless you have a service dog or one that is in training even though the same rules apply as service dogs, then keep your pet dog away. You are just not going to get in the door.

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