What is the difference between a therapy dog, service dog, and working dog?
Therapy dogs are trained to attend to the emotional needs of humans. This can take place in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, senior centers, and any place where a dog can provide comfort and companionship to a human.
Service dogs, on the other hand, are trained to provide services to disabled individuals. This may include being a leader dog for a blind person, or assisting someone bound to a wheelchair. Service dogs are generally granted broad legal rights pertaining to public access because of the nature of their job in assisting the disabled in everyday tasks.
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What training and how much do I need to have with my dog before becoming a Certified Therapy Dog Team?
You will need to have had at least 2-3 obedience training classes. The next step is to have an assessment of your dog with one of our evaluators. The assessment has several dimensions to ensure the suitability of the dog's temperament and attitude for this type of work. It is the temperament of the dog that is paramount. The size, breed, pedigree, or cross-breed of your dog are immaterial. The individual character and how the dog will respond in all manner of situations is the vital consideration.
How do I schedule my dog to be assessed and what can I expect during the assessment?
You may schedule an assessment by calling 248-841-1067 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will schedule a time and a registration packet will be sent to you to complete and return to us prior to your appointment. Please note, all of our evaluators are volunteers and many work full time so there may be a short delay in getting a date set up. It is not designed to set you up for failure but for success. We are looking for calm, relaxed dogs who will walk on a loose lead and will easily settle. We are also looking for the handler/canine bond, reaction to people and other dogs, and the ability to acclimate to a new environment. The assessments are conducted in a public place, typically a dog-friendly establishment. We will do our very best to choose a location that is also convenient for you. The assessment can take anywhere between 30-60 minutes. Please ensure that your dog is brought to the assessment on a flat collar and lead (harness permitted upon receipt of veterinary letter). Please also bring poo bags, an appropriate grooming implement, food rewards and ALL your paperwork.
What happens after the assessment?
7-10 days after the assessment, you will receive a letter of acceptance into the program or a denial. Should you get a denial letter, please do not panic! We will provide a detailed explanation as to why you were denied with some suggestions on items you can work on and later be re-assessed! If you are a probable candidate for our training program, you will receive an application and information on our next 12 week certification program.