At Appalachian Dog Training, LLC we clearly distinguish the differences, roles, and rules of service dogs, therapy dogs, emotional support animals, and facility dogs. Each type of dog has a different skill set, temperament, and rights or limitations to access public spaces. Learn which type of working dog can best help you or many!
Dogs have an amazing capacity to help us mitigate this sometimes very challenging world in a loving and comforting fashion. However comforting their mere presence, this alone does not make a dog a service dog. To be a handler with a service dog one must have a disability with significant impairment of life functions, and have a dog trained to perform tasks that mitigate the symptoms in virtually any environment without falter.
Emotional Support Dog (ESD)
Having a dog that makes your feel better, safer, or just more comfortable is not a service dog. This type of dog is an emotional support dog. When you benefit psychologically from the presence of your dog, there are housing rights that may allow you to keep your pet as an emotional support animal where pets are not allowed. An emotional support dog does not require any training, does not perform any tasks, and does not have the right to access public spaces with their handler, such as the grocery store or restaurant.
Have you seen a dog visiting a school, hospital, nursing home, or airport to help provide comfort everyone? This type of dog is a therapy dog. A therapy dog works as a "team" with his or her handler. They naturally have a calm and people-oriented temperament. Training is required for both the dog and the handler. The therapy dog must never jump onto people and must demonstrate excellent, controlled obedience while working. The handler must learn how to position their dog to help clients reach them safely, in addition to learning and following the guidelines of the establishment they are visiting, including, but not limited to, HIPPA laws. A therapy dog may not have to be registered, however, passing a national certification test proves the teams working ability and may provide insurance coverage for the therapy dog team during their visits. Our Therapy Dog Training Program prepares you for the certification test with Alliance of Therapy Dogs.
Facilities sometimes have special needs of love and comfort only a canine companion can provide, such as family center for displaced children and teens, domestic crisis safe havens, or rehabilitation centers. Facility dogs are trained to live on-site, providing love and support to all residents 24/7. The facility dog requires extensive training, similar to that of a service dog, however facility dogs are not trained to perform tasks for disabilities. Facility dogs can only access the facility where they reside. They cannot go into grocery stores or other facilities like hospitals. One person is responsible for the ongoing care and handling of the facility dog, usually the program director or long term employee.