ASSISTANCE DOGS: SKILLED, THERAPY AND SERVICE DOGS
A skilled-dog provides assistance in a home with a person who has special needs. Skilled-dogs are more than just pets, and provide assistance beyond comfort and companionship. In addition to their proficiency with basic manners including housetraining and basic obedience, skilled-dogs are trained specific tasks to assist a person with special needs including: disrupting compulsive behavior, engaging and re-focusing on tasks, synching and calming.
Skilled-dogs are placed in the home between 6 months and 12 months of age depending on the needs and abilities of the recipient and family.
Unlike Assistance Dogs, skilled-dogs are not granted public access
rights within the Americans with Disabilities Act, Air Carriers Access
Act or the Fair Housing Act.
Therapy dogs provide affection and comfort to various members of the
public, typically in facility settings such as hospitals and retirement
homes. These dogs have a special aptitude for interacting with members
of the public and enjoy doing so. A therapy dog has no special rights of
access, except in those facilities where they are welcomed.
Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do
work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such
work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who
are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is
having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take
prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties.
Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog
has been trained to provide must be directly related to the personís
disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional
support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.
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