Generally speaking, both therapy dogs and companion dogs are your best friend and also your constant buddy. They obtain this classification from being able to assist the owner with a multitude of problems. Therapy Dogs and Companion Dogs can also be classified as having almost the same abilities as Service Animals but basically are NOT animal assistance dogs that help individuals with physical disabilities.
But what exactly is the difference between Companion Dogs and Therapy Dogs?
Okay, let me start by defining what a therapy dog is. Usually, they are found in retirement homes, nursing homes, hospitals, and schools. They aide people with difficulties in learning, and help to calm stressful situations that can be normally seen in disaster areas caused by natural hazards, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, earthquakes, technological hazards including nuclear and radiation accidents, or sociological hazards like riots, terrorism or war.
In short, Therapy Dogs are specifically trained to provide affection and comfort to people who needs it as I mentioned a while ago. They are well known for their temperament. They are patient, friendly, confident, gentle and easy in whatever situations... Your dog needs to have these characteristics to be classified as qualified Therapy Dogs.
Why is that so?
This is because they are expected to enjoy human contact, can be petted and handled by people carefully and even clumsily. They come in all breeds and sizes. It is a Therapy Dog's job to have other people even the unfamiliar ones to have contact with them and these people should enjoy that connection.
Okay, as we all know, children always love hugging animals, while adults love petting them. In some situations, the Therapy Dogs might need to be lifted onto, climb onto, placed onto an individual's lap, sleep on an adult's or kid's bed, and either sit or lie comfortably there. Therapy dogs need to be comfortable in these situations and must cope depending on a person's need to be able to provide emotional support to both adults and children. They are expected to be stroked, held, and sometimes just watched.
People oftentimes got confused between therapy dogs vs. service dogs. I wanted to clear it up. Therapy Dogs are not service or assistance dogs. Service dogs directly assist humans, it is legal for these dogs to accompany their owners in almost all areas and in fact, in the United States alone, Service Dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability.
Therapy Dogs on the other hand are not mentioned in this law simply because they did not provide direct assistance for people with disabilities so this is why some institutions give limit and prohibit access for Therapy Dogs but, in most cases, they allowed it, however, institutions may impose requirements for Therapy Dog. There are organizations that provide testing and some accreditations for Therapy Animal to assure the institutions that they were tested in an accredited manner.
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