Service Dogs vs. Therapy Dogs: What’s the Difference?

Golden Retrievers can be more than lovable best friends. They can also perform services for us as service dogs and therapy dogs. But what’s the difference between the two? Is it simple terminology or do they perform different tasks? In this case, the latter is true. Read on to learn more:

Service Dogs

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks for people with disabilities. A disability could include a physical, intellectual, mental, sensory, or psychiatric disability. For example, a child with autism or an adult with blindness could both have service dogs, although those dogs would perform very different tasks.

Below are some of the tasks that a service dog could be trained for:

  • To guide blind people in the world
  • To alert deaf people to sounds
  • To detect and lessen the effects of a psychiatric episode
  • To alert individuals of an oncoming seizure
  • To help those on the autism spectrum distinguish sensory signals

Therapy Dogs

A therapy dog has a different role than a service dog. These dogs are trained to provide emotional comfort and affection to individuals. They are not trained to stay with a specific person, but instead they go around to various settings such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and more. Additionally, therapy dogs are not trained to perform certain tasks, but they are trained to calmly handle unfamiliar people and places.

At MN English Golden, many of our Golden Retrievers have been trained to become service dogs. To learn more, contact us today at 507-351-8510.