What’s the Difference Between a Service Dog and a Therapy Dog?

Oct 06

As a dog owner, you already know how much comfort and support these animals can provide. For example, if you’re feeling blue, chances are your dog will pick up on it and try to comfort you. Plenty of dogs run to their owners’ faces and start licking away tears when they see them crying! Even in the darkest situation, it’s hard to continue feeling sad when you have a dog trying its hardest to make you feel better.

Since dogs are so intelligent and supportive, they’re used in a number of formal ways to assist humans. Police dogs are one example. Dogs who go through this or other types of training can learn to do all kinds of very useful tasks. In today’s post, the two dog occupations we’re going to focus on are service dogs and therapy dogs. While these names sound fairly similar and there’s definitely overlap in both roles, there are some key differences which we’re going to cover.

Service Dogs vs. Therapy Dogs

The role of a service dog is defined by the American Disabilities Act. Dogs in this role can serve a variety of functions. The key definition from the ADA to qualify for this title is a dog must be assisting a person with a disability and the animal must be trained to do a task for the person. This is why service dogs are allowed to go into places where dogs normally aren’t allowed, including bathrooms and restaurants.

Although therapy dogs can play a crucial role in someone’s well-being, the law doesn’t recognize them as a service animal. In terms of differences, this means that a business which prohibits dogs from coming inside has to allow service dogs but not therapy dogs.

How Service Dogs Are Trained

If you’ve ever seen a service dog in action, you know the incredible level of training they display. One example of that training is intelligent disobedience. The perfect example of this is if a blind individual has a service dog and tells it to help them cross the street because they don’t realize a car is coming, the dog will “disobey” to protect its owner.

Because service dogs function at a very high level, their training starts when they’re just puppies. During its first two years of life, a service dog goes through two phases of training that starts with basic obedience and then advances to the specific functions they will eventually perform for the person they will assist.

Whether it’s a service dog, therapy dog or just a pet, all dogs deserve great nutrition, which is exactly what Pet Wants is committed to providing.

dogs, health, Service Dog, Therapy Dog

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