German Shepherd Dog Forums - View Single Post - Why not a SD that is also a visiting TD?
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Old 01-09-2013, 04:56 AM   #2 (permalink)
Castlemaid
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Duplication of this document is encouraged. July 2011

This is how a Therapy Dog is defined on numerous sites. Pay close attention to the areas I highlighted in red.
Right from the website of ILGHAUS:
"Q. If I have my dog made a therapy dog or a emotional support dog can it then live in a apartment that doesn’t allow dogs?
A. Therapy Dogs are pet dogs that can be owned by either disabled or non-disabled owners.
THERAPY DOG
Per Delta Society:
Therapy animals and their handlers are trained to provide specific human populations with appropriate contact with animals. They are usually the personal pets of the handlers and accompany their handlers to the sites they visit, but therapy animals may also reside at a facility. Animals must meet specific criteria for health, grooming and behavior. While managed by their handlers, their work is not handler-focused and instead provides benefits to others.
http://www.deltasociety.org/Page.asp…ServiceTherapy
The owner/handler of a Therapy Dog does not have additional rights in Housing or Public Access over any other pet owner."
"Therapy Dogs are not Assistance or Service Dogs. Therapy Dogs are pet dogs with special training and of the proper temperament to work with their owner around and for other people."
I do not know if you are aware, but a mass majority of great Service Dog organizations also do not allow the dual role of Service/Therapy dog for good reason! It is DANGEROUS for the disabled handler to do this.
Can a great Professional trainer and handler train a dog to do both without compromising the Service Dog training or the well-being of the dog? Honestly, the answer is yes and no, it will cause unnecessary added stress on the dog and on the handler as associative behaviors that will create conflict in the dog need to be looked out for 24/7. Can the average service dog handler or owner trainer do it without risk? No, they lack the experience to recognize associative behaviors by doing this and it may put their lives at risk.
Service Dogs are for a disabled handler. They are not pets as defined by law nor should they be treated that way on any level by the public.
Therapy Dogs are as ILGHAUS even defined "Therapy Dogs are not Assistance or Service Dogs. Therapy Dogs are pet dogs with special training and of the proper temperament to work with their owner around and for other people."
ANY good working dog trainer will tell you how powerful association is when it comes to a dog and even more so when it comes to a working dog. Training itself is mostly based on associative behavior.
When this subject reared its ugly head again, I contacted every working dog trainer I know and a lot of other Service Dog Organizations and a lot of other PROFESSIONAL Service Dog trainers. I thought I was out of the loop as claims that this IS in fact acceptable as apparently (according to the majority of the owner trainer crowd) the “handler” in this regard weather the dog was trained by a professional or owner trained knows what’s best for their dog. I passed this information on and got responses that ranged from hysterical laughs to “We won’t certify our dog if they go that route.” To “Yeah and I want my Service dog to be a Police dog too.. What? I can’t do that? You are discriminating! lol.” To “They just will not get it till something happens and they come back with a messed up dog.” “Don’t these people know how many dogs get messed up when they break SD training and they get treated as a pet?” Please forgive me, as I am not knocking all owner trainers. There are a lot of owner trainers that are responsible with their Service Dog and use them for the tasks they were intended for without creating conflict in the dog just to satisfy motivation driven purely by emotion vs. real professional working dog training guidance. Service Dogs are Service Dogs; Therapy Dogs are Therapy Dogs they were never meant to function in a duel role capacity both from a working dog training standpoint to a legal definition of both.

From Pet Partners website formerly Delta Society:
“Are Pet Partners Therapy Animals certified or registered?

Pet Partner Therapy Animal teams are registered, not certified. Certification implies that Pet Partners has participated in the handler's and the animal's training. Whereas registration requires training and screening, Pet Partners does not certify that the team is trained to a certain level. Instead, the team is registered as having met minimum requirements
Furthermore, Pet Partners' commercial general liability insurance will be primary, i.e. it will provide coverage first. However, several notable exclusions exist. They are:
•Pet Partners' commercial general liability insurance does not provide coverage for either member of a Therapy Animal team causing a loss to other Pet Partners volunteers. Such losses are the personal responsibility of the Therapy Animal handler.”
In other words, we don’t know what we are doing for sure so if something happens to the training of your Service Dog or you in connection with the therapy work we are not responsible.
If you want your Service Dog to be a pet and participate in visiting Therapy Dog work, do yourself and your dog a favor. Retire the dog as a Service Dog and go for it. If visiting Therapy work means that much to you and it means more to you than the gift of having a Service Dog… so be it. Or you can Register your dog with someone other than TDI and take your chances.
Ursula A. Kempe, President of TDI has over 40 years of working dog training experience. This decision does not come from delusions or from political pressure nor will she fold under political pressure.
“Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth, for being correct, for being you. Never apologize for being correct, or for being ahead of your time. If you’re right and you know it, speak your mind. Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is still the truth.” -Gandhi
Recourses: DOJ http://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm Pet Partners AKA Delta Society http://www.petpartners.org/page.aspx?pid=267 ADAP (ILGHAUS is a part of) http://blog.workndog.org/adap/
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Last edited by Castlemaid; 01-09-2013 at 05:01 AM. Reason: Helped out with post lenght - will just delete excess next time.
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