Dogs are seen as one of the pets that have the knack to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
More than just the layman’s description of such, there’s an inert yet in-depth description of such.
Hence there are Dogs that undergo distinct training under stringent conditions.
However, these types of Dogs (Therapy Dogs) must not be misconstrued for Service Dogs since a lot of people love to use the two terms interchangeably, thereby causing confusion.
However, it is imperative to note that the difference is crystal clear and should be noted to avoid misconstructions and discombobulation.
The differences are first treated in the next section of this piece as well as many other things to take note of, in relation to Therapy Dogs.
What are service dogs?
Dogs are seen as working Dogs trained under certain circumstances to provide or render assistance to persons with disabilities.
They go a step further in assisting individuals to ensure their safety and maximum independence simply by providing mobile aid.
- Dogs, which are also known as Assistant Dogs having been professionally trained, provide assistance services such as assistance to a blind or deaf person, mobility assistance, etc.
What are therapy dogs?
- A clear difference between Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs is seen in the fact that while Service Dogs are granted optimal access to establishments, Therapy Dogs aren’t.
- A Therapy Dog is hence, a working Dog trained by its owner(s) to typically render service on a volunteer basis.
- These Dogs are conditioned to obey voice commands; they are trained not to fret easily, not to beg for food, and are conditioned to adapt to a variety of situations.
- Such Dogs are seen providing assistance to people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, retirement homes, and other disastrous areas.
- Facto, it is quite impossible to distinguish between a Service Dog and a Therapy Dog. Most times, Dogs providing therapy are designated gears like a vest. Much more than the striking and palpable difference is the fact that Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs are individually provided with distinct training, which enables their individual interaction(s) with the people whom they help provide such service.
Unscripted facts about Therapy Dogs
- Strays and shelter Dogs are sometimes trained as Therapy Dogs.
- Nurse Elaine Smith established the first formal therapy Dog program in 1976.
- Therapy Dogs can help soothe patients and lower stress and anxiety since merely petting a Dog helps lower the risk of stroke and heart attack.
- Therapy Dogs were used as early as WWII when they went to visit Soldiers that were wounded and recovering.
Handlers of these Dogs are required to register their Dogs with standard national organizations, with a lot of benefits attached.
Such benefits are providing the Handlers with Community resources, Regional club listings, amidst others.
Once registered, these Dogs receive recognition instantly as a member of the standard organizations.
National Therapy Dog organizations often require an annual fee, which depends mostly on the organization involved, which may include liability insurance.
General Certification of Therapy Dogs
Dog willing to undergo certification must be on current vaccinations with a health certificate from their veterinarian and must be at least a year old. However varying from agency to agency to agency, some of the general tests a Therapy undergoes are stated below:
- Supervised separation.
- General reactions to other dogs and distractions.
- Obedience to voice commands.
- General appearance and grooming.
- Sitting posture while being pet.
- Acceptance of a stranger, though a friendly one.
- The knack to walk through a crowd.
- An addendum, Therapy Dogs should be naturally calm, affectionate, and friendly to strangers.
Insurance for Therapy Dogs.
A dog has met the conditions of being at least one year old, with up-to-date medical records, and has hence been certified as a Therapy Dog, the fee the Dog owner pays to a Therapy Dog registry is used in part to cover liability insurance, just in case of a Dog bite or accident.
Therapy Dogs are registered with organizations; the liability insurance that comes with this privilege will only cover Dogs and Handlers that provide services on a volunteering basis.
A lot of Handlers have the opportunity or right to have access to facilities that allow therapy Dogs.
Such facilities maintain insurance policies that cover their liability needs for granting these Dogs access to their facility.
On the other hand, if a Therapy Dog is provided for commercial use by the Handler, not the facility nor the Handler may be prepared with appropriate liability insurance.
Hence, if a Handler is considering using his (her) Therapy Dog for services through an organization or for commercial purposes, both the Handler and the Dog are properly insured.
A lot of organizations offer commercial Therapy Dog insurance policies that cover all breeds, even regardless of experience.
Once covered by a commercial Therapy Dog insurance policy, both the Handler and the Dog providing such service are fully protected from claims.
Since the Therapy Dog has been highly trained and vaccine, with a current and positive medical health status, its insurance is well covered under this plan.
However, since the Dog and its Handler would occasionally come in contact with situations within proximity to people and proximity to other Dogs.
These events are different, and in the condition of unforeseen emergencies, an insurance policy will give a concrete and solidified assurance that the Dog and its Handler are fully protected against claims
Extensively treated Therapy Dogs and their insurance coverage, including those of their Handlers, a Handler should now note the type of Insurance company and the plan that best suits him (her) and his (her) Dog.
Since these Dogs actually provide free services to those in Nursing homes, retirement homes, Hospitals, Schools, etc., their insurance against sudden happenings should and must be well-ensured.
This would go a long way in guaranteeing their optimal safety.
All Handlers must take note of this. Also, do remember that Service Dogs are entirely different from Therapy Dogs. If you missed something, do scroll up.