In the U.S.
What definition would you like to see in society between service dogs and therapy dogs?
The legal definition for Service Dogs is the following:
Published September 15, 2010
Effective Date March 15, 2011
Signed by Attorney General Eric Holder
July 23, 2010
Revised definition of “service animal.”
“Service animal means any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Other species of animals, whether wild or domestic, trained or untrained, are not service animals for the purposes of this definition. The work or tasks performed by a service animal must be directly related to the handler´s disability. Examples of work or tasks include, but are not limited to, assisting individuals who are blind or have low vision with navigation and other tasks, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing non-violent protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, assisting an individual during a seizure, alerting individuals to the presence of allergens, retrieving items such as medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and helping persons with psychiatric and neurological disabilities by preventing or interrupting impulsive or destructive behaviors. The crime deterrent effects of an animal's presence and the provision of emotional support, well-being, comfort, or companionship do not constitute work or tasks for the purposes of this definition.”
A Therapy Dog is not a Service Dog. Handler's of Therapy Dogs may be disabled but not always so. A Therapy Dog is usually a pet owned by the handler and are not under Public Access Rights. They are only allowed into non-animal locations by invitation.
Therapy dogs are given basic obedience training and then tested for both obedience and temperament. Once they pass a therapy dog test with their partner, they can be registered with a therapy dog organization. Registration offers several benefits both to volunteers and to the facilities they visit.
Therapy dog registration typically costs about $30 per year and includes liability insurance, and support from the national organization in the form of providing educational and promotional materials, staff to address questions, regional club listings, and community resources so that therapy pet partners can find ways to interact with one another. It's a terrific bargain for the price. Additionally, a person registered with a specific therapy dog organization has immediate recognition due to standardization. If you know the requirements of a given organization, then you know the minimum standards for all teams registered with that organization. You know what you are getting, and this makes it easier to find welcoming facilities to visit.
For the facilities, the liability insurance coverage on registered teams can address their own liability concerns, making it administratively feasible to participate in a therapy dog program. The facility has an assurance that the team has been prepared and tested to meet minimum standards for a reliable volunteer service. Most therapy dog organizations require some sort of annual veterinary exam to ensure the health of the dog and minimize the risks of zoonosis. Most organizations have strict grooming protocols, for example requiring that the therapy pet be bathed no more than 24 hours before scheduled visits. When a facility chooses a therapy dog organization to welcome, they can be assured that the teams have been screened and the dogs maintained in good health, according to the organizations published standards.
Therapy dogs | Service Dog Central
Service Dogs are trained to be a part of a canine/human team assisting that one human part of the team with a legal disability. A Service Dog is to mitigate the disability of one person.
Therapy Dogs are trained to be a part of a team visiting or doing small jobs for individuals or groups. A Therapy Dog is to bring friendship, cheer or compassion to others.