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Know the Difference Between Therapy and Service Dogs

Know the Difference Between Therapy and Service Dogs

There are many misconceptions about the roles of therapy and service dogs and their rights in public spaces. While the major difference is that service dogs are trained to assist individuals with disabilities and are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), other factors set these two trained pups apart. 

Recently, one of the experienced trainers at Happy Pup Manor has been certified to train therapy dogs. We thought we would take this opportunity to share some information about therapy and service dogs, the training required for each, and their essential duties.

Understanding the Differences

Both therapy and service dogs are trained to provide a service, but their roles are significantly different. Therapy dogs are specially trained to provide emotional support, comfort, and affection to many individuals in hospitals, schools, and nursing homes. While in public, individuals are often encouraged to interact with a therapy dog. Conversely, service dogs often wear vests or have other indicators that let non-handlers know not to touch or interact with them. Service dogs are trained to provide essential services to an individual disabled handler. You will commonly find services dogs working with seeing and hearing-impaired individuals, those with mobility issues, PTSD, and other medical reasons such as cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. A service dog plays an essential part in the handler’s life and performs tasks directly related to the handler’s disability.

In addition to their interaction and service differences, the rights of therapy and service dogs differ. Service dogs are allowed in public areas that animals are prohibited from, such as restaurants and stores. This right to enter traditionally prohibited areas are protected under the ADA, and handlers cannot be turned away if their service dog with them. On the other hand, therapy dogs cannot enter non-pet friendly areas, and handlers can be refused service if their animal is with them.

Training for Therapy Pups

While you can train your pup to be a therapy dog on your own, the process of learning how to train your pup properly is a lengthy, sometimes difficult process. Working with an experienced therapy dog trainer ensures that your pup is getting the most from their training and will be ready to interact with those who need the most.

In training, your pup will learn the essential obedience commands and behaviors needed to be a successful therapy dog. At Happy Pup Manor, your pup is immersed in a training-focused environment with a dedicated team of attentive trainers. We train your pup in all the basic commands, including those essential to helping your pup pass the certification test. Learning to stay, not to jump, and leash-free walking are included in these behaviors. 

Is Your Dog a Good Candidate?

While the team at Happy Pup Manor firmly believe all dogs are good dogs, being a certified therapy dog requires a specific temperament that cannot always be trained. Pup’s that would do well as a therapy dog include those who:

  • Love interacting with people other than their family or handler
  • Have a calm demeanor
  • Are patient with all types of people
  • Can stay calm in stressful situations
  • Have an overall friendly and confident demeanor

Start the Process Today

Now that you know the difference between service and therapy dogs, and know the qualifications for a therapy dog, call Happy Pup Manor! Our experienced and compassionate trainers are here to help your pup become a successful therapy dog. Call us today, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a time that works best for you.

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