Dogs assist their owners in a variety of ways. In addition to serving as obedient, loyal household pets, they can be trained as service canines. Service canines are prepared to assist their humans with specific tasks that make the owner’s disabilities(es) easier to manage.
Both service and therapy dogs are trained to assist with specific issues. However, service dogs can assist with physical health challenges that therapy dogs cannot. Therapy dogs are trained by their handlers to provide psychological support to different people in clinical settings.
Although service dogs, therapy dogs, and emotional support dogs all provide affection, trained dogs serve specific functions that other dogs do not provide. By understanding the differences between Service Dogs and therapy dogs, you’re in a better position to acquire the certifications you need. For more information on their differences, continue reading.
Service Dogs Help Humans with Various Disabilities.
Service Dogs are trained to assist with human disabilities. To officially certify a dog as a service dog, the owner must receive certification with a letter stating how their dog can benefit and provide assistance with their disability. It takes specific training to become a service dog and a therapy dog, but any pet can be an emotional support animal. Service Dogs are trained to assist with intellectual, emotional, and physical disabilities.
Some common disabilities that service dogs are trained to help their handlers with include:
1. mental health conditions like obsessive-compulsive disorder
3. physical challenges like chronic pain
3. cognitive processing assistance for those with Autism
Service Dogs also complete tasks beyond the scope of emotional support animals, like protecting their owner from harm’s way, helping with everyday tasks, and alerting for help. Blind and deaf individuals rely on service dogs for transportation and safety. Some service dogs can also be trained to intermingle with other household pets as a family unit. Therapy dogs can also be trained to help with these types of arrangements, but they are meant to provide general emotional support, love, and affection in clinical settings.
Therapy Dogs are Trained Emotional Support Volunteers.
Therapy dogs are licensed by nonprofits offering volunteer therapy dog services, but they are not recognized under the ADA and are denied the same rights to public access as service dogs. Service dogs, however, offer protection and assistance and go wherever their owner goes. Owners with physical disabilities may rely on service dogs to get around. With therapy dogs, the legal protections are generally limited to wherever they are needed, i.e., public hospitals, rehabilitation centres, etc.
Every Pet is an Emotional Support Animal.
The gentle nature of dogs makes it easy for them to be considered emotional support animals (ESA). An emotional support pet provides comfort, love, and companionship because they desire the same.
Consider which Dog Assistance is Best For You.
Contact Service Dog training programs or nonprofits and ask how each type of animal assistance may help you. Then, speak to your care team to determine which path may be best for you and the conditions you’re dealing with.