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What's the Difference Between
THERAPY AND SERVICE DOGS
WHAT IS A THERAPY DOG
A therapy dog is a dog who accompanies their owner to volunteer in places such as hospitals, schools, assisted living facilities, libraries, and disaster areas. They help many people by providing affection, comfort, and support during scheduled visits.
THERAPY DOGS DO...
Accompany their owner to some volunteer settings
THERAPY DOGS DO NOT...
Accompany their owner to regular places of public accommodation
Help many people by providing affection, comfort, and support
Perform trained tasks to help mitigate the symptoms of a single person's disability
Show friendly behavior toward everyone they meet
Exhibit aggression toward people or other dogs under any circumstances
Know basic obedience cues and can perform them reliably in a variety of contexts
Behave in an overly energetic or unruly way while volunteering
THERAPY DOG TRAINING PATH
B.R.A.V.E. Pet Services LLC will help you and your dog prepare to meet the certification requirements at the Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD). At the very least, you and your dog should be able to pass the AKC Canine Good Citizen test proctored by one of our B.R.A.V.E. canine trainers before attempting the ATD test. However, we have found that dogs who pass the AKC Community Canine test are more likely to pass the ATD test on their first attempt and are better equipped to handle therapy environments.
THERAPY DOG CHECKLIST
1. Puppy Obedience and Socialization
2. Basic Obedience
3. Intermediate Obedience
4. Community Canine
5. Behavioral Evaluation
6. Therapy Dog Skills
WHAT IS A SERVICE DOG
A service dog is a dog who has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Service dogs can assist people with a wide variety of disabilities. For example, a service dog can retrieve objects for someone with limited mobility, alert a deaf individual to the sound of their baby crying, provide deep pressure therapy to someone recovering from a panic attack, or even alert someone to an oncoming migraine.
SERVICE DOGS DO...
Perform work or trained tasks to assist an individual with a disability
SERVICE DOGS DO NOT...
Help other members of the public by providing affection or comfort
Receive protections under the ADA, FHA, and ACAA in public places
Exhibit excessive fear or anxiety toward people, animals, objects, or other stimuli
Show friendly and confident behavior around other people and animals
Exhibit aggression toward people or other animals under any circumstances
Receive an advanced level of training so that they can be polite and reliable even under heavy distraction
Behave in an unruly, reactive, or uncontrollable way while working in public
SERVICE DOG REQUIREMENTS
Statistics show that even among service dogs trained entirely by professional service dog training organizations, 50% or more of the dogs do not make it through training. The unfortunate reality is not all dogs and not all humans are suited for this work. We understand that training your own service dog requires a huge commitment of time, energy, and money. For this reason, B.R.A.V.E. has developed a list of requirements for both owner and dog to meet before beginning training to ensure the highest likelihood of success in our program.
Has a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act and can provide documentation from a licensed medical professional of said disability.
Is at least 14 years of age. Minors must also have an adult facilitator who is willing and able to help them with their dog's training on a daily basis.
Able to participate in training for an extended period of time. On average, service dog training takes two years to complete. However, some dogs may take longer.
Able to commit time to practicing with your dog daily in between sessions. This will include taking your dog off your property multiple times a week to train.
Is aware that your dog may only be able to help you at home or in places pets are allowed if they are found to be unsuitable for public access.
Willing to wait until we evaluate your dog's suitability and help you train foundation behaviors before putting service dog identification on your dog or taking them to places pets aren't permitted.
No history of aggression toward people, other dogs, or animals.
Is easily trained. Each dog is assessed individually and there are no legal restrictions on breed. However,
some breeds are more likely than others to to exhibit characteristics suitable for service work.
No history of a serious behavioral issue such as excessive fear or separation anxiety.
Under three years of age and able to pass a health screening at the vet, including x-rays of elbows and hips.
SERVICE DOG TRAINING PATH
B.R.A.V.E. Pet Services LLC can help you through every step of the service dog training process, from dog selection to task training and public access. Although we recommend enrolling in our in person group courses due to the added benefits for socialization, we can also work through the curriculum with you privately or virtually and supplement your dog's education with additional socialization. Our goal is to center the owner and dog's needs in everything we do, working in conjunction with you and your dog's health care professionals to develop a highly individualized training plan.
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