What is a Service Dog, A Therapy Dog And An Emotional Support Animal?
A Therapy Dog primarily goes to various facilities, such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. and offers comfort to others. A Service Dog serves to alleviate a disabling condition on the part of his owner/handler through trained tasks. Service Dogs Handlers may bring their trained service dog with them almost everywhere they go. Therapy Dogs must ask permission to go into a public place, and are not allowed in most stores. Emotional Support Dogs are pets that provide comfort to their owners and only allowed in pet friendly places. However, with proper documentation, ESA’s are allowed on planes and in housing which otherwise prohibits pets.
The moment a volunteer with a therapy dog walks into a room, you can instantly feel a change in mood. All eyes focus on them, as smiles spread across everyone’s faces. From working with a child who is learning to read to visiting a senior in assisted living, therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people.
If you are seeking training for your dog to become a Therapy / Facility Dog, we will teach the dog the following skills in public and/or stimulating environments (*some skills may not be applicable depending on the size of the dog). If you have a specific organization in mind for certification, you are encouraged to ask them what their requirements are before we finalize training so you can ensure all skills required are covered.
– Various temperament test items
– Accepting a friendly stranger
– Sitting politely for petting
– Appearance and grooming (including nail clipping)
– Heel and loose-leash walking with distractions (with flat collar or harness with no metal links)
– Recall – “Come” command around distractions
– Reaction to loud noises (may have a reaction, but must recover quickly and remain under control.
– Familiarity with medical equipment they may encounter in a facility setting
– Supervised separation – how your dog reacts when you walk away
– “Sit” and “Down” on different surfaces without needing to be lured
– Reactions to another a dog while on leash
– “Leave It” command (with treat being dropped in front of them and being able to walk past it)
– “Stay” or “Wait” command
– * “Lap” command – Dog will place its paws on your lap
– * “Visit” command – Dog will place its head on your lap from either side and allow you to pet their head
– * “Up” command – Dog will place paws on indicated object (i.e. wall, table, store counter)
– * “Jump On” command – Dog will move its entire body onto an indicated object
– Allows brushing by stranger
– Taking treats nicely
– American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certification