Service Dog, Therapy Dog, Emotional Support Dog, The Differences

Service Dog, Therapy Dog, Emotional Support Dog, The Differences.

Service Dog, Therapy Dog, Emotional Support Dog, The Differences.Photo by Caleb Fisher

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Dogs are incredible creatures. Putting their pack’s well being above their own, approaching daunting situations without a trace of fear, and working hard even when they’re exhausted all comes naturally to a canine.

Humans have long seen the potential in dogs, with very early people realizing that feeding and sheltering them could lead to unshakable loyalty. Nowadays, though, these animals are put to far more jobs than simply hunting, with service dogs, emotional support dogs, therapy dogs, and comfort dogs acting as just a few examples of jobs they’ve been given.

What exactly do each of these roles involve, though? To give you a clearer idea, this post will be exploring each of them, showing you the difference and making it easier to see why they are so crucial in today’s society.

Service Dog

Living with a disability can make life very hard, whether your condition is visible or not. Tasks which are simple and easy to other people can feel just about impossible, and the world can become quite dangerous when you’re left on your own. Service dogs are trained to turn this around, giving you both freedom and safety when you’re going about your normal business.

Service dogs can be trained to perform specific tasks and work with specific disabilities as suggested by your doctor. As long as your disability qualifies you to have a service dog, most pet pooches will be able to take on this role. Of course, though, for those who need a dog to act as their eyes and ears, you will need to look for one which has had the right training. Labrador retrievers have been tried and tested for this role, proving themselves to be excellent animals for it.

For example, your dog does not only need to be trained to behave in public, it also needs to be trained to provide you the help you need as recommended by your doctor. A PTSD service dog for example can be trained to recognize you are having a nightmare, go and turn on the light and wake you up so that you can end the nightmare and return to a restful sleep. A Lab trained to assist a person with Autism can be taught to recognize when it’s handler is coming too close to the curb. In this case it will walk between the handler and the curb to increase the distance from the busy traffic.

Emotional Support Dog

Depression, anxiety, and PTSD are all extremely difficult to live with. Situations which feel normal to everyone else can be overwhelming, making people suffer with panic attacks and other medical issues, while also making it impossible to do certain things. Emotional support dogs are a great tool when you’re struggling with issues like this.

It’s well known that dogs make great companions, but a lot of people ignore their value when it comes to emotional support. Having your dog with you can make you feel strong, though, protecting you from the press of crowds and the stress of certain situations. Alongside this, they will also act as an excellent sounding board when you’re feeling overly emotional. Having an animal like this by your side can have a huge impact on the way you feel.

Emotional Support Dogs, differ from service dogs, in that they are not trained for a specific task. Rather they are there for you to pet and snuggle if you feel the need. They also do not wear a vest.

In the USA there are some states who have an Emotional Support Designation and certificate. In Canada as of the date of writing this, we do not. So officially there is no such thing as an Emotional Support Dog in our Country. However, the service-quality dogs we breed certainly can act for you in an emotional support manner. You would simply not be allowed the same public access that you would have if you had a service dog.

Therapy Dog

Hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other medical centers have all been trialing the idea of therapy dogs. People in these places will often begin to feel depressed and restless after a few days in bed, and this makes having the opportunity to spend time with a furry friend incredibly important to them.

Therapy dogs are specially trained to provide comfort and companionship to those who can’t find it for themselves. They can break the monotony of a day in hospital, while also making people feel a lot better about their situation, all by simply being there and accepting some pats. Most hospitals and other medical facilities in Canada are beginning to offer services like this, and you can even train a dog to do this job for you at home.

Comfort Dog

Any kind of disaster, whether it’s natural or caused by humans, will always leave a lot of people in disarray. With homes destroyed, people going missing, and health issues being overlooked, it’s all too easy for people to fall into a panic when they find themselves facing an event like this. Authorities need people to stay calm, and this is why they will often use comfort dogs.

Comfort dogs are carefully picked to make sure that they are both brave and have a calm demeanor. These animals have to go into some of the worst disasters affecting populated areas, providing comfort to those who have suffered as a result of the event, and helping authorities to find people who might be trapped in the area of effect. These dogs are particularly useful when children have been caught in a disaster.

A comfort dog does pretty much the same thing as a therapy dog and the two names are interchangeable.

The Difference

If you’ve read through each of the sections above, the difference between each of these dogs should be quite clear. They all serve different roles, with some providing companionship and comfort to those who suffer with long-term disabilities, and others helping to improve the experiences people have in places like hospitals.

Despite the differences between each of these jobs, Labrador retrievers can fill any of them. Labs are well-known for their calm demeanor, ability to sense human emotions, and responsive and obedient nature, and all of these features make them an excellent choice for those who are looking for a dog to help them with their daily lives.

Here at Lucky Labs, we’ve been breeding Labrador retrievers for a very long time. Our family has a wealth of experience when it comes to rearing animals like this, and will stop at nothing to make sure that you get a puppy which will be well-suited to your needs. We’re always happy to ensure the correct temperament in the dog we place with you.

Operating out of Ontario, Canada, we are well-placed to help people across the country, and we’re close enough to the Michigan border to give those in the USA a chance to meet our dogs. You can apply to get your hands on one of our lab puppies on our website, but we’re always eager to help out, and answer any questions you might have before you have to commit to your dog.

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