Updated: Apr 25, 2022
We get many clients who have a huge heart for others and think their dog would be great at helping others too.
Don't know where to start? This blog serves as an information hub if you think your dog might like to be a service, emotional support, or therapy dog.
This blog only provides links to other resources as laws and definitions can change and I don't want to risk out of date information.
Where to begin
Regardless of which kind of work, if you have a puppy the beginning process is the same:
Crate Training (Only if they will need it for the work. But it is usually a helpful skill.)
Generally, months 6-12 will be dedicated to obedience training. Working towards a Canine Good Citizen certification is a good goal.
Once your dog is well socialized, house trained, and obedience trained they can begin training for their specific work!!!!!
Service dogs, Therapy dogs, Guide dogs, and Emotional Support Dogs are all different. Research the differences and determine what is the right thing for you and your dog.
This info graph nicely outlines the different kinds of working dogs so you can reflect on which you are working towards.
3. Therapy Dog Resources
A therapy dog is generally trained to work as a team with their handler helping someone else. (As opposed to a service or emotional support dog who helps the handler). They do not have unrestricted public access but are sometimes welcome with their handlers to come to various public and private places to work.
Canine Inspired Change
North Star Therapy Animals
4. Service Dog Resources
A service dog is trained mitigate a handlers disability by performing specifically trained tasks. (As opposed to Emotional Support Dogs who provide comfort and soothing but do not need to perform specifically trained tasks or therapy dogs who are not helping the handler.)
Can Do Canines