Question about Therapy Dogs. - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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Question about Therapy Dogs.

I would be interested in getting a GSD and certifying him as a therapy dog (is "certify" the right word for that?)

I was wondering though - are they considered service animals? Meaning you can take them anywhere with you? When I went to Wal-mart, the GSD decal that said "Service Animals Permitted" got me wondering if therapy is also considered a service animal.

Also, is it possible to have a therapy dog that does Schutzhund?

How long does it take for a dog to become a therapy dog, normally? Obviously it doesn't happen in a week or something, but I'm just curious.

Oh - and I don't want to make him a therapy dog ONLY for the reason that service animals are allowed in stores - I'd want to do it regardless.

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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 05:53 PM
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speaking only for T.D. Inc, your dog is registered not certified, service dog is something different, to become a T.D.Inc team, there is are 3 one hour tests are required, your pupper can not bark at people, or other dogs, has to be well behaved around other dogs no aggression what so ever and not draging you around on the leash, heres a link to the T.D. Inc website, with more info
Therapy Dogs Inc.

forgot to add, yes, therapy dog can be Schutzhund also, I tested a GSD last year that was in Schutzhund, he passed with flying colors, matter of fact it was one of the better times i had testing, I saw right from the start the gal was in charge, LOL forgot to mention, the dog only understood german

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 06:14 PM Thread Starter
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Is there a minimum age requirement for a dog to become a registered TD, since puppies' temperaments tend to change over time?

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 06:30 PM
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yes, 1 year

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
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So a therapy dog is not considered a service dog, meaning you can't take them into stores and such with you?

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 07:48 PM
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No, therapy dogs are not allowed any more places than pet dogs are allowed-- unless it is a hospital, nursing home or other facility they were invited into for doing animal assisted therapy.

As far as how long it takes, it depends on the dog and the organization. Some of the tests are more difficult than others. Most require the dogs to be at least one year old. In general your dog should be able to pass the CGC and needs to be obedient and well-behaved around strange people, crowds, other animals, medical equipment and loud noises. Some of the tests also require things like doing a "leave it" and "drop it" with food, taking treats nicely, etc...

This website has a lot of info on animal assisted therapy and also lists the different organizations and includes links to their websites where you can view the testing requirements:
Dog-Play: Visiting Pets and Animal Assisted Therapy


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 08:14 PM
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A service dog is a dog that assists someone with a disability and is specially trained to mitigate that disability. For example, a dog may be exceptionally well trained in obedience and be able to do service dog tasks such as open doors, carry items, pick up things etc but unless the handler has a disability that limits their ability to do these things the dog is NOT a service dog. To qualify for service dog public access rights under the ADA the dog must meet all requirements under obedience, public access, and service tasks specifically for the PWD's disability.

A therapy dog is a working dog; as are police dogs, SAR, etc but are not service dogs. The term service dog only applies to those dogs that are for disabled handlers and have public access rights because they are considered to be medical equipment. Its illegal to deny access to someone because of a wheelchair, and so equally illegal to deny access to someone because of their service dog.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-14-2010, 08:28 PM
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Different organizations have different requirements. Some will not allow a dog that does SchH or any bitework. Talk to your local therapy groups to plan the best course of action. Where I live, some places only allow dogs certified through Delta. Others want TDI or TDInc.

Like the others have said, no, a therapy dog is a therapy dog, not a service dog. You can only take them where pets in general or therapy dogs are allowed, and again the later depends on where you live and what groups are active in that area.
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