More and more frequently, we’re receiving calls from folks to find out if we can help train their dogs to be therapy dogs. Or service dogs? What’s the difference, really?
Service dogs are specifically trained to compensate for or assist a person with a recognized disability. Service dogs live with their disabled human handlers in the home, but are not considered pet animals. The activities of service dogs and their disabled human handlers are governed by the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Service dogs have access to all public facilities or those that cater to the public, whether private or governmental. Service dogs may ride in the passenger compartment of public conveyances, such as airplanes, buses, trains, etc.
- Opening and closing doors or cabinets
- Turning lights off and on
- Alerting their person to ringing phones or doorbells
- Detecting low blood sugar, seizures or other medical conditions
- Detecting the presence of allergens or other hazardous (to the handler) substances
- Fetching things, or picking up dropped objects
- Bracing/steadying, or helping the disabled person get up or remain steady on their feet
- Helping the person dress and/or undress
- Pulling a wheelchair