Service Dogs – Therapy Dogs – Emotional Support Dogs
The differences you should know!
A service dog is a dog trained to provide a specific service for their handler. Service dogs can be trained for seizure alert, diabetic alert, allergy alert, PTSD, night terrors, panic disorder, mobility assistance, retrieving and much more. These dogs are trained for specific tasks, (sometimes life or death) to help one person even if there are distractions. These dogs go through extensive obedience training, weeks long of public access hours, as well as specific service training to meet the needs of their new owner. Think of them as medical equipment, they are trained to travel everywhere with their handler to assist with a disability.
Therapy dogs are dogs trained to comfort others. They can be trained to aid others with PTSD, depression, memory loss and more. Therapy dogs go through all their obedience, some public access and learn how to comfort others in hospitals, VA hospitals, children’s hospitals, nursing homes, schools and more. The handler travels with this dog in order to serve others. The dog provides love and affection to others during a hard time. These dogs do not have all the rights that service dogs have. Therapy dogs cannot go into areas that their therapy is not utilized such as restaurant, grocery stores, shopping centers, airplanes and more.
The controversial emotional support animals. Emotional Support dogs do not need any training, but a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist must determine that the presence of the animal is needed for the mental health of the patient. For example, owning a pet might ease a person’s anxiety or give him a focus in life. Emotional Support dogs (ESAs) do have certain rights in terms of housing but not anything close to the rights of service dogs. Many places and airlines are cracking down on the overuse and abuse of people claiming that their dog is a ESA.