Therapy Dogs

  • are trained to a level of obedience which covers basic commands.
  • are encouraged to be accessible to more than one person during a therapy session.
  • when out walking, the handler and dog are “off duty” and can be approached.
  • are normally family pets trained by their owners or basic obedience dog trainers.
  • can be from any breed of dog.
  • generally cost the same amount to raise as any other dog.
  • have no more access to places in the community than regular dogs.
  • have no specific fitness or health regimes to abide by.
  • can continue working for as long as is appropriate (may vary by therapy dog group).

Service Dogs

  • are trained to a high level of obedience, with concentrated training performed by specially trained dog trainers to teach the dog to service the needs of it’s handler.
  • are trained to service the needs of it’s handler and it’s handler alone.
  • when in harness, is working and should not distracted by people approaching it.
  • are bred specially for helping people with disabilities.
  • tend to come from specific breeds of dog.
  • cost considerably more to raise than a regular dog because of the amount of labour-intensive training and overhead cost required.
  • are allowed access, by law, to any facility that their handlers have access to.
  • are carefully monitored for fitness levels and weight to ensure they can continue to perform satisfactorily for their handlers.
  • are normally retired from service at around 10 years of age.

Common Characteristics

Both therapy and service dogs:

  • have a friendly disposition and can relate to people and other dogs in a non aggressive way.
  • play a significant role in adding value to people’s lives.