Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs – What’s the Difference?
If you are in PA, you may have heard of emotional support animal or ESA. An emotional support animal works like a companion animal for people and patients, for offering therapeutic benefits.
Usually such animals are either cats or dogs, although a patient can choose other pets. The whole purpose of an ESA is to offer relief and support for disability, psychological symptoms or emotional stress. Check some of the basic facts you need to know before getting an ESA certificate.
To get an emotional support animal in PA , you have to check with your physician to consider the option of proving verifiable disability, as stated by law. Your doctor or medical professional will give a note or a certificate, which will mention the concerned disability and the need for emotional support animal that will offer therapeutic care and healing.
However, the animal isn’t treated a service animal and therefore, there is no need for any formal training. In fact, all domesticated animals, including rodents, birds, reptiles, cats and dogs, can become an ESA.
Emotional Service Dog in PA
If you are in the US, you may have heard of emotional support animal or ESA. An emotional support animal works like a companion animal for people and patients, for offering therapeutic benefits. Usually such animals are either cats or dogs, although a patient can choose other pets. The whole purpose of an ESA is to offer relief and support for disability, psychological symptoms or emotional stress. Check some of the basic facts you need to know before getting an ESA certificate.
To get an emotional support animal, you have to check with your physician to consider the option of proving verifiable disability, as stated by law. Your doctor or medical professional will give a note or a certificate, which will mention the concerned disability and the need for emotional support animal that will offer therapeutic care and healing. However, the animal isn't treated a service animal and therefore, there is no need for any formal training. In fact, all domesticated animals, including rodents, birds, reptiles, cats and dogs, can become an ESA.
There are professional companies, which can assist you in evaluating if you qualify for ESA evaluation letters, but these services are just meant for assistance. Ultimately, only licensed medical health professionals can offer you the certificate on their professional paper. Check online and you can find simple forms that will help finding your qualification. Don't miss on asking the rules and regulations with your doctor in detail. As a pet owner, you have to find the benefits of having an ESA, so that you can exercise your rights.
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1 Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are happy and energetic and will encourage you to perk up even when you're not feeling too great. Not only do these dogs make good pets, but they are also great as Emotional Support dogs due to their intelligence and gentle demeanor.
2 German Shepherd
According to PetGuide, the German Shepherd is a highly versatile breed, namely because its intelligence enables it to be trained for a variety of different purposes. These guys can surely make great emotional support animal dogs!
Poodles are also born performers, super social, great with kids, hypoallergenic, great at adapting to their environment, and they typically live longer than most other dog breeds, too. However, like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, poodles require some serious grooming. (Their hair literally never stops growing, and they don't shed.) If you don't mind being responsible for a dog who's more high maintenance than you are, then you should seriously consider adopting one of these cuties.
The Pomeranian is a very small breed often favored by elderly individuals who need a companion at home. These little dogs require relatively little exercise but they will take all the love and affection they can get.
10 Golden Retriever
Coming in at number one is the golden retriever, which is well known for being energetic, loving, and comforting. They're super social and if you can handle a lot of dog hair in your house they'll be perfect for you.
Top 10 Emotional Support Animal Dog Breeds
Basically, a service dog or animal is the same as an assistance dog that undergoes a lot of training to assist people suffering from disabilities - mental and physical. They can also be a best friend for people with severe depression. Service dogs can be specifically trained by service dog organization to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. However, the owner can also train the animal. Some dogs are donated from different breeders and some are abandoned dogs donated from local shelters. However, not all dogs can be a service dogs. Things like temperament, the ability to learn complex tasks, etc. Come into play within the dogs training. But any breed or mixture of breeds of dog might produce a representative capable of service work. In short, depending on breeds, your dog can have all of the qualities in terms of health, temperament, trainability and physical ability. These characteristics can lead them to be more than just your pet but a service dog/pet instead.
So, what's to expect after your dog has been certified? Honestly, for most, owners expect service dogs to be treated as animal on shift or working animal in public. Why? Simply because every owner's safety purely depends on dogs ability to handle distractions. During the training, your dog is prepared to avoid distraction as much as they can especially when wearing their gear and at the same time they are trained to be relax and friendly when the gear is removed. An owner's permission is a must before other people interacts with the dog while in public places.
What you might not know is that you can actually train your own service dogs. Nowadays, more people are choosing to train their own dog because there are times that training programs just aren't able to train the dog to the owner's individual needs. However, not all countries allow that type of training. Luckily, this is permitted to some countries including US but there are certain criteria to be considered. Trainers have to have skills which allows them to understand that their experience in training advanced service dogs are different from training the average dog simple obedience skills. Owners may need to hire a professional trainer or organization that is willing to train owner's dog. Owner-trainers usually start training their dog when they are still a puppy until they reach the right age to be evaluated. The only downfall is that some find it difficult to deal with emotional conflict in rare cases when a dog failed the evaluations and decide whether to re-home the dog and start again or to just keep it as a pet.
On the other hand, professionally trained puppies were raised accordingly via very careful research and also had to undergo a regime that has a lot of strict guidelines and mostly given a success rate of 85 % and above after evaluation which is way higher than owner-trained puppies/dogs. Why is that so? This is because program trainers are expert in manipulating the genetics or say early stimulation of puppies until the event that they become service dogs.
If you are planning to get a service dog, you don't have to worry about bringing them to where you are. In fact, as soon as your dog got registered, they are allowed to go anywhere you go. You can feel free to bring them to any restaurants, buses, schools, ride taxis, take airplanes, stores, movie theatres, sporting events, watch concerts with you, visit doctor's offices, and any other public place. Legally speaking, it is a requirement of federal and state laws to always have your dog with you. What makes it more exciting is that they do not have to wear any identifying gear, no need to wear their vest as well. So everything could actually be owner's discretion. The truth is that a lot of service dog owners choose to dress their dogs in vest and identifying apparels to avoid questions and confrontations in public. So by doing so, it makes their life easier and at the same time it helps keep the dogs away from distractions as much as possible. If you bring your dog elsewhere, keep in mind that it is illegal to ask for specific identification from service dogs partners. If somebody did, tell them it is not allowed by law. You can bring ID cards with you, but take note that it should be done voluntarily, again, this is NOT required and should never be expected.
If you don't have disability, it's recommended for you to learn how to act the right way in cases that you see service animals in public. Keep in mind that you should never distract the dog on shift by calling, clapping, and even by offering food. You should never attempt to touch the service dog. You can speak to the dog owner but not to the service dog. Since we're avoiding distractions here, you should not get offended if your request to pet the assistance dog is not granted. You need to understand that if the owner lets the dog to greet you, you are distracting the dog's ability to stay alert on their owners. Don't be rude by telling the person that dogs are not allowed but instead ask if the dog is assistant dog. If the answer is yes, then stop questioning. If the person doesn't look disabled, never assume that the dog is not a service dog. Remember, it's wiser to observe first. If the dog pays too much attention and conduct close interaction to owner, chances are you are looking to a service dog.
On the other hand, if you are a service dog owner, you still need to pay attention on your dog's behavior and standards in public. People without disability will expect appropriate behavior from your dog. When going out, make sure your service animal is clean and doesn't have bad odor and most importantly, the service dog should not defecate or urinate in inappropriate places. Registered service animals should never make unsolicited contact with members of the general public and the animal's conduct should not disrupt the normal businesses no matter what. As an owner, it's a must for you to have the animal trained not to show aggression towards other people and animals at all. Service dog should obey all the commands of their owner. It is always important to have the animal work quietly and calmly as possible especially when wearing gears, and as a service animal, they are specifically trained to work out in public. Lastly, assistant animals should stay at least within 24 inches of its owner unless required to work in a greater distance. People with allergies are not protected under the law unless the allergy is really disabling. The person with a disability who is using a service animal is protected. One good place on the internet to get a proper registration for the dog and or animal is at http://www.registeredservicedogs.com.
by Jasmin Espinoza
Registered Service Dogs / Staff
Emotional Support Animals
Generally speaking, both therapy dogs and companion dogs are your best friend and also your constant buddy. They obtain this classification from being able to assist the owner with a multitude problems. Therapy Dogs and Companion Dogs can also be classified as having almost the same abilities as a Service Animals but basically are NOT animal assistance dogs that help individuals with physical disabilities.
But what exactly is the difference between Companion Dogs and Therapy Dogs?
Okay, let me start by defining what a therapy dog is. Usually, they are found in retirement homes, nursing homes, hospitals, and schools. They aide people with difficulties in learning, and help to calm stressful situations that can be normally seen in disaster areas caused by natural hazards, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, technological hazards including nuclear and radiation accidents, or sociological hazards like riots, terrorism or war. In short, Therapy Dogs are specifically trained to provide affection and comfort to people who needs it as I mentioned while ago. They are well known for their temperament. They are patient, friendly, confident, gentle and easy in whatever situations... Your dog needs to have these characteristics to be classified as qualified Therapy Dogs. Why is that so? This is because they are expected to enjoy human contact, can be petted and handled by people carefully and even clumsily. They come in all breeds and sizes. It is a Therapy Dog's job to have other people even the unfamiliar one to have contact with them and these people should enjoy that connection. But, why? Okay, as we all know, children always love hugging animals, while adults love petting the them. In some situations, the Therapy Dogs might need to be lifted onto, climb onto, placed onto individual's lap, sleep on an adult's or kid's bed, and either sit or lie comfortably there. Therapy dogs need to be comfortable on this situations and must cope depending on a person's need to be able to provide emotional support to both adults and children. They are expected to be stroked, held, and sometimes just watched.
People oftentimes got confused between therapy dogs vs. service dogs. I wanted to clear it up. Therapy Dogs are not service or assistance dogs. Service dogs directly assist humans, it is legal for these dogs to accompany their owners in almost all areas and in fact, in the United States alone, Service Dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. Therapy Dogs on the other hand are not mentioned on this law simply because they did not provide direct assistance for people with disabilities so this is why some institutions gives limit and prohibit access for Therapy Dogs but, in most cases, they allowed it, however, institutions may impose requirements for Therapy Dog. There are organizations that provide testing and some accreditations for Therapy Animal to assure the institutions that they were tested in accredited manner. Establishment accredit dogs who are found to be positive on people, possess good manners in public locations, in good health with up to date shots, and should be always obedient to owner's command. Most important is that they should not be aggressive.
To make it specific, training Companion Dogs corrects behaviors such as jumping on people, digging, inappropriate barking and chewing and at the same time enhancing the dog's mental and physical activities. It deepens the bond between the dog and the owner, providing a higher level of satisfaction and enjoyment that we get from the dog's companionship. Training also ensures dog's safety and their happiness that is beneficial for your family, neighborhood and even the entire community.
When do you actually need to train your Companion Dog or to enroll them in a class? The answer is Now. Nowadays, veterinarians encourage owners to have the puppy trained even before the completion of shots. It could begin in as early as seven to eight weeks old. Why? The truth is the number one cause of death for dogs under 3 years of age is not actually infectious diseases - it is the behavioral issues between puppies as they grow up to be dogs.
This only proves that delaying the training until the puppy finishes the vaccines may somehow be damaging beliefs which could affect the dogs in the future simply because they are missing almost 16 weeks when the puppy was isolated from the world.
For those who are not aware about training Companion Dogs, obedience training is the most important and the most effective training the owner and trainer can give to a puppy or dog. Training can make your Companion Dog more than just a pet. In reality Companion Dogs will always be valuable member of the family. The dog will never fail to provide pleasure, protection and bond of companionship which is essential in promoting respectful relationship between your family and your dog. However, this respect cannot be easily exerted by improper handling methods or mistreatment but mostly earned through leadership and proper training.
There is no single answer as to why people choose to have either a pet or a companion dog. To some, having just a pet is the right answer. For others, the Companion Dog is the better choice. Just keep in mind that Companion Dogs undergoes a lot of training including extensive obedience training making them capable of handling many situations and more exposed to environments that many dogs will never see. They are even trained to call 911 in emergency cases and these benefits maybe most of us will want. However, at the end, it is still your choice.
Dog Registration is as important as Dog training. One good way to get it is by visiting accredited websites like http://www.registeredservicedogs.com. This site provides legal documents and certification even for your Service Dog, Therapy Dog and Companion Dog. This will help somehow to ensure that Dogs can handle public situations in an acceptable manner.
Jasmin Espinoza, Staff
Staff / Registered Service Dogs