Does Target Allow Dogs – Are Stores Pet Friendly?

Target, like Walmart, is one of the biggest retail stores worldwide that have some of the best in general merchandise that you can find. Some people wonder though, just what their dog policies are (such as if you have a service animal, or if you just have an emotional support pet that you want to bring along). In this guide, you may be able to find out just what kind of dogs you’re allowed to bring into target stores, and find out if they are considered dog-friendly. You will get some quality answers if you have questions regarding this.

Are Target Stores Friendly to Dogs?

There are a lot of retail stores these days that say that they’re pet-friendly, but it really depends on the pet owners and the managers to make sure that their store will allow them to bring their pet in. Target is one of the stores however that aren’t considered pet-friendly. Why is this? Because pet-friendly stores are considered those that will allow a person to bring their regular pet in – not just a service dog. Of course, Target has to abide by the ADA laws, and therefore, allow service animals and those with disabilities into the store. There’s nothing they can do when it comes to this. However, the way that people behave when it comes to store associates isn’t always acceptable. They generally don’t welcome pets in the store at all, and may even be problematic – or require proof that an animal is a service animal.

They do have a pretty broad definition on what types of service dogs are allowed though, compared to some other stores.

What Types of Service Dogs Are Allowed in Target?

There are numerous types of service dogs. Here are the current dogs that are allowed in Target stores:

  • Regular Dogs (Service Dogs of Course)

Regular service dogs are those which are trained to help those who have a disability. Most commonly, a regular service dog is trained for blind people. When you have this type of dog – known as a “seeing eye dog”, the dog is meant to help you throughout the store if you’re blind.

Medical alert dogs are another special training dog (or one that has been made to help you in case of an emergency where your health may be at risk. If you end up having a health problem, the dog may know how to help save your life. Even diabetic dogs have been known to help an owner in need of their medication and be a true hero should they go through shock or have a severe diabetic episode.

  • Service Companion Dogs

Another dog is a service companion dog. However, they don’t require actual training, and they don’t only service those who have a health problem. Any dog can be a companion dog still has to abide by the requirements of the ADA and be registered so it counts as a service do. But literally any dog might be able to become a certified service dog as a companion dog. 

  • Emotional Support Service Canines

These dogs are mainly to help alleviate symptoms that a person has. For example, if a person is susceptible to extreme panic attacks, an emotional support dog that’s able to help calm them down can be registered with the ADA and become licensed. Owners may have separation anxiety from their emotional support dogs, so Target can sometimes allow them into the stores. They’re very similar to therapy dogs.

  • Some Therapy Dogs Are Allowed

When a person loses a loved one, or they have a dog that is there to help keep their demons at bay, these dogs are meant to help people keep their mind and emotions in check. They often have therapeutic effects on their owners – often allowing them some sort of emotional and physical relief. 

Do You Have to Prove Your Dog’s Viability?

When it comes to your dog credibility, you need to ensure that your dog is indeed able to be proven as a certified service animal of some sort. This means that any store manager who sees someone enter with their dog can ask to see proof of the animal’s service certificate proof. Most of the time, you can prove that your dog is a service animal, even if you have an emotional support dog. Some dog owners may be able to give you certificates of registration so you can prove to any store owner that your dog is a service.

Target makes sure that they maintain their policy globally. This means that every target store has to cooperate with their corporate policies when it comes to service employees. However, there are some employees that won’t really notice when a person comes in with their pet. Because of this, some people simply may not want to deal with anything or have confrontation. But as with some Walmart stores, some employees and managers will enforce the pet policy more directly and rudely than they should. Therefore, it can be deduced that some store locations may not enforce the pet policy the same. Of course, they may have to if they are being visited by corporate though – this means that their policies and enforcement can just be different on a day to day basis.

Of course, right now, the current pandemic has caused a lot of problems and made things more strict. COVID-19 has caused stores to enforce their pet policies with an even narrow set of rules, and due to the possibilities of your service pet getting someone sick, it’s not recommended to bring a dog in unless it’s completely required for your disability as a service dog, and you can provide proof that they are indeed one. You may even want to find a muzzle or a pet mask to help stop and lower the spread of the disease to other customers, and to also protect your dog so that they are less susceptible to the opportunity that could cause them to catch the virus.

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