What is the difference between service dogs, therapy dogs and assistance dogs?
by: BJ Adkins
There are two groups of dogs that are commonly confused.
The first group are therapy dogs, emotional support dogs and companion dogs. These dogs are wonderful friends often visiting assisted living facilities and hospitals where everyone can pet and enjoy them or they may be the soul companion of one individual that takes great comfort in having them around. These dogs do not have a specific skill set and are not federally protected which means they do not have any public access privileges. Therapy dogs interact with people to offer feelings of wellbeing, or encourage rehabilitation through actual contact. Animals can provide a nonjudgmental presence. Hospitals, nursing facilities, schools and rehab centers can be stressful and scary. A dog-just being a normal wagging dog-helps return normalcy to people of all ages who must endure abnormal situations.Service Dogs (aka medical service dogs or assistance dogs)
The second group of dogs are medical service dogs, service dogs or assistance dogs. Those are all different names for the same type of working dogs. These dogs have had the appropriate training and possess specific skill sets that mitigate the challenges of a disability and can often take the place of a care giver for a mentally or physically disabled individual. Because of the advanced training these dogs have, they are recognized and protected by federal law and cannot be denied access into a public venue. Some of the more common disabilities for which these dogs are trained would be Mobility, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Autism, Seizure Alert, Insulin Alert, Hearing Assistance and Seeing Eye dogs.
Is there a certification that service dogs are required to have?by: BJ Adkins
By law, there are no written certifications required, however, we encourage everyone to set high standards both for your dog’s well being and public safety. This would include obedience to the level that they are excellent in all aspects of heeling, sit and down stay, coming when called, not touching/sniffing things that don’t belong to them unless requested and all of these commands should be solid to the point that they do not break regardless of the distractions around them.
Once they are to this level, we suggest getting their CGC (Canine Good Citizen) certification (from Honor: we have a Service Good Citizen Award: C.H.A.D. - Certified Honor Assistance Dog) the dogs are required to pass prior to doing their public access training. These dogs must be focused on their handler and have the work ethic to be alert to their needs regardless of where they are and what else may be going on around them.
Categories for Therapy Dogs: There are two broad categories of therapy service. Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) uses companion animals as a part of the patient’s therapy. Interactions with the dog are part of a treatment plan designed by a health care professional, to improve the patient’s physical or emotional function. For instance, tossing a ball or brushing his coat encourages repetitive hand-eye coordination exercises.
Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) therapy introduces pets to withdrawn people to encourage communication, because patients often relax in the presence of a friendly animal. There’s no formal treatment plan or trained professional needed.
Neither AAT nor AAA dogs are considered service animals by federal law. Service animals are defined as being trained to actively help people with disabilities.
Registering Therapy Dogs
We recommend your puppy/dog be registered, to undergo formal training. Honor Service Dogs Inc. offers home-study courses, private training and guidance to animal-handler teams. If the handler/team is out of state, we offer guidance via phone and internet and over-see your obedience training classes and certification for your C.G.C. by a certified trainer in your area. As we continue to guide you in your dogs visitations, we offer vests, badges and certifications. Our continued support system allows your dog/trainer team to bring the very best benefit to special needs groups and individuals.
How do we reserve a puppy or older dog?
We chronicle every litter with weekly photographs (usually more often!). Preparation is a very important and exciting time! Many of our buyers have had friends throw them a "Puppy Shower"!!
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Honor Service Dogs Inc.
is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
that provides extraordinary golden retrievers to veterans, special needs individuals and service organizations as well as wonderful family pets.
Established in 1960.
P.O. Box 77108, Charlotte, NC, 28271, USA
“The love that your dog has for you is as close as you will come on this earth to the love that Jesus Christ has for you: unconditional. The relationship between a dog and his master is strikingly similar to the relationship between a believer in Jesus Christ and God.” Psalms and Proverbs for Dogs by Chris Nagy
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