Difference Between Service Dogs, Therapy Pets, and ESA

Since ancient times, dogs have been seen assisting and interacting with humans in hunting, farming, and protection. These three types of dogs satisfy all the important needs for the benefit of the human being. You cannot use these terms interchangeably because each group has its own definition of specific recognition in terms of their legal rights and the jobs they do.

What are service dogs? What do they do?

The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) defines that one type of working dog, service dogs, is specifically trained to help a group of people or simply a person with disabilities to provide them with comfort in their specific needs. Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act clarifies that these disabilities can be physical, psychiatric, mental, sensory, or other intellectual disabilities. The duty of service dogs is related to the disability of their owner. There are few services that these dogs can provide. These are given below:

  • Guide dogs with the blind help them in navigation.
  • Dogs that signal or listen with deaf people alert them with sounds such as the phone ringing, the smoke alarm, the alarm clock, the cry of a child, or the door. They paws or nudges to alert their partner.
  • These types of service dogs, i.e., psychiatric dogs, are specifically trained to detect and then lessen the effects caused by the psychiatric episode in psychiatric patients.
  • Service dogs also fulfill their role of helping physically disabled or people who use wheelchairs find things, open and close cabinets and doors and carry items for their partners who cannot.
  • Autism assistance dogs are specially trained to help people with autism. They do their duty by distinguishing necessary sensory signals, such as smoke alarms, from other signals. They can also alert your partner to repeated behaviors or overestimations.
  • A kind of service dog is trained for patients with seizures. They can recognize a stroke, and during a seizure, they can guard you and go for help.

Service Dogs

What Rights Do Service Dogs Have?

The Americans with Disabilities Act made it clear that service dogs can go anywhere with their owner they want to go. Service dogs have access and are allowed to go where animals are prohibited. Their owner can bring them to all public places such as shops, restaurants, and libraries. Even other pets are not allowed in the accommodation, but service dogs must be allowed. This type of dog can travel by public transport, including bus, train, plane, etc. You should know that each airline sets its own rules for service dogs to travel on their planes. Most airlines do not allow these dogs to sit or pass through the aisle in the emergency exit line and require that service dogs sit on the lap or feet of the traveler. Airlines cannot charge the pet travel fee for service dogs.

What is a Working Dog?

Working dogs are trained for a specific purpose to assist and perform the task to work as an aid to their human partners. Working dogs function as detective, search and rescue, hunting, military, and police dogs. They have the excellent ability to smell; their sense of smell is so strong that they help their human companion where they fall short. Some of the functions they perform are:

Search and Rescue

They play a role in searching and rescuing people in different situations ranging from natural disasters to finding missing persons. They perform this function by using a target object scent or a scent in the air to find their target. They are also beneficial for many other situations such as body searches, avalanches, disasters, and drowning situations. The most common breed of dog used for this purpose is a hound.

Explosives Detection 

 These canine partners work with the police, military, and TSA (Transportation Security Administration) have found explosives and other dangerous objects. Dogs that perform this task have to undergo exceptional training that allows them to detect hazardous and explosive items. They alert their handler to know about the presence of such suspicious objects. The most common dog breeds used for this purpose are the Belgian Malinois and the German Shepherd.

Cancer detection

You won’t believe it, but doctors indeed made it possible through Labrador Retrievers to detect or sniff out cancer in patients. They alert the handler by sniffing the sample and sitting in front of the cancerous person

They do this by smelling a person; cancer cells have a different odor than normal cells and result in a distinct odor on the person’s breath. They alert the handler by pricking their nose when smelling the patient. In one particular case, the laboratory-made an accurate diagnosis of the disease 98% of the time, while commonly used tests found only 10% of the time.

Allergy alert dogs

These dogs are trained to detect allergens and particles in public places like social events, schools, and daily activities. They alert their handler after detecting allergens. They are trained in the same way as police dogs. They do their duty by tracking down drugs or scents. The most common dog breeds used for this purpose are the Portuguese Water Dog and the Poodle Dog.

Usually, working dogs are trained for a specific role in different fields. Often they are not subject to legal consequences. If you have a working dog, do not pet or approach it while he is doing its work, it requires a proper approach without any distraction for its proper functioning.

What is a Therapy Dog?

Therapy dogs play a different role than emotional support animals and service dogs. Therapy dogs are not trained for a specific person; they are basically trained to provide love, affection, and comfort in institutions like schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. They volunteer in clinical settings. They can quickly adapt to a new environment and can easily interact with strangers.

The requirements for therapy dogs are: they must be calm in temperament, comfortable when handled, not disturbed by new sounds and loving people.

Do Therapy Dogs Have Legal Rights?

You will see therapy dogs performing their duties to provide therapeutic environments and comfort to their human companion, but according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they are not included in the group of service dogs. They also do not enjoy the legal rights that the service dog has to access public places. There are no national rules and a uniform state that can certify and regulate these dogs. There are different guidelines from different organizations for therapy dogs. The general rules to use therapy dogs are: they must be authorized, insured, and trained by the institutes that offer such services.

Can My Dog Be a Therapy Dog?

If you want to have a therapy dog ​​or volunteer to turn your dog into a therapy dog, different organizations offer these types of services. There is an organization called the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. They verify the dogs that if they are capable of being therapy dogs, they will inform you about the guidelines you should follow.

The AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program also offers various training programs to organizations. Many therapy dog ​​organizations often require the Canine Good Citizen test.

What Do ESAs (Emotional Support Animals) Do?

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), emotional support dogs are not included in the group of service dogs. Since they are not trained to play a specific role, they are prepared to have a particular person help you with your disability. This is considered the main difference between a service dog and an emotional support dog. They help people with psychological disorders, their contribution is not minimized. They help people alleviate anxiety, loneliness, depression, and some phobias, they are generally considered companion pets. A person with a diagnosed emotional or psychological disorder, such as panic attacks, anxiety disorder, and major depression, cannot have an emotional support dog without a mental health professional’s prescription.

What Rights Do Emotional Support Animals Have?

The emotional support animal cannot enjoy legal rights and access to public places such as service dogs. They have limited rights. They require a letter from the owner’s psychiatrist or physician who prescribed ESA. They are not free to go to all public places as service dogs. ESAs are allowed on an aircraft only in one condition if the carrier has a prescription letter from a licensed therapist or physician. The carrier may also have to meet other requirements. Many people are seen abusing the ESA concept, including also passengers on the United Airlines flight who tried to bring an “emotional support peacock” on board. That’s also the reason why airlines are tightening restrictions on ESAs. To continue, we can now wait for other commercial and public places.


Each type of dog is unique in its own way, and it is important to know their specific abilities. However, these different types of dogs can help your pet in specific ways.

Traveling With Your Dog

Traveling with a dog is every pet owner’s fantasy, but only a few can fulfill this dream. If you are thinking of traveling with your dog, first find out what is safe and comfortable for him. It is important to take care of their safety because if your pup does not feel comfortable with you on the trip, it is better to leave him alone at home.

Traveling With Your Dog

Here are some expert tips and advice to follow if you want to travel with your furry friend.

Pre-travel Requirements

Pay a visit to your vet first

Before embarking on any trip, it is important that you first visit your vet because the vet is the only person who can tell you if your dog is in good health and if he can travel or not. Furthermore, a vet can also provide you with the necessary documents that are essential for travel.

You can also ask your vet about essential vaccinations and blood tests before you travel according to the special requirements of your destination.

Gather all the necessary equipment

There are many types of equipment available on the market that can make traveling with your dog easy and comfortable. Necessary gadgets to include on your dog checklist are:

Dog food
Portable water bottle
Dog bed
Portable water feeder
Dog travel car seats
Dog leash
Poop bags
Tag and microchips

If your pup wanders away from you while traveling, he can easily get lost anywhere. But if your dog has any identity, it’s easy to track him down. You also need to ensure that your dog must wear a leash or collar along with his name and contact number.

In many countries, there are microchips available which are very useful for such a situation. Along with that, you should always have a recent photograph of your dog that you can use in an emergency.

Useful Tips For Different Mode Of Traveling With Your Dog

How to travel by car?

Traveling with your dog by car is not easy, especially if he is not used to car rides. First of all, you need to make your dog comfortable traveling by car. You can let him in and out of the car, so he is not afraid of a car ride. As soon as your pup is comfortable with the car, you can take him for short rides.

If your pup is prone to motion sickness, it is best to take him on an empty stomach on the trip. Similarly, make sure there is plenty of water available during the journey so that they stay hydrated. A portable water bottle can make serving the water easier.

A professional tip for a dog owner is that if you let your dog roam freely in the car, do not allow him to stick his head out of the car window, as this can be the source of injury. If you are traveling and keeping your dog in the crate, make sure your car is well ventilated so that he gets fresh air at all times.

If you are traveling by truck, never allow your dog to ride in the back of an open truck. If you have a small puppy with you, a pet travel seat can go a long way. If your children are also traveling with you, advise them not to tease your puppy during the trip.

Try to take frequent breaks during the trip so your pup can go to the bathroom. As you stop along the way, make sure you don’t leave your pup alone in the car. If necessary, you can leave it with a family member. If your dog did his business during the potty break, be sure to clean the area. For this, you can use poop bags.

How to travel by plane?

If you want to travel with your dog by plane, you need a health certificate. Most airlines have strict rules on travel policies, requiring a health certificate almost 10 days before traveling. Similarly, some airlines do not allow travel if your pet is less than 8 weeks old.

It is also your responsibility to consult your veterinarian before traveling by plane and see if tranquilizing your pet is a better option or not. Similarly, keep a close eye on the temperature of the flight, whether your dog is comfortable in it or not.

Different airlines have different services and rules. Some airlines have a rule that you can bring the crate on the flight, but it should be according to their size requirement. Similarly, some airlines only allow a dog to travel in cargo.

Before boarding the flight, always take your dog to the bathroom; many airports offer specific areas for pets. If you have a long flight, be sure to provide the dogs with ice cubes to keep them hydrated during the long flight.

Some puppies do not feel comfortable while traveling and suffer from anxiety.  You can take their bed during traveling, so they feel at home and do not suffer from anxiety. Many dog ​​beds are available in the market that are easy to use and can be carried for travel.

Traveling by Boat or Train

If you’ve planned to travel with your dog by train, first make sure your rail line allows dogs on board. This is because some rail lines have specific pet policies and only allow a few pets on a particular train. Traveling with your dog on the train is easy because it stops at various stations, and you can take your puppy for a walk or potty.

If you want to travel by boat, they have different policies. Some cruise lines only allow dogs in a private cabin, while some ships have kennel service on board. While leaving your dog in the kennel, make sure he is comfortable and fully vaccinated.

Final words

Traveling with your dog means fun, and this fun will be doubled if you are traveling with your dog. You just have to make sure you select the best way and follow the tips mentioned above to make traveling easy for you and your dog.

References and Citations


How to Introduce a Dog to a Cat

According to a recent study:

“It has been observed that dogs were less likely to threaten cats, but there was a higher incidence of cats threatening dogs.”

How to Introduce a Dog to a Cat. Most people regard cats and dogs as enemies, but it is not like that. Most dogs do well with kitties; however, some dogs do not like living with cats. A good relationship between cats and dogs that live together depends on their temperament, age, and activity level.

Cat an=nd dog training`

Suppose your dog has lived with a cat in any part of his life. In that case, it is important to understand that each cat has an individual nature, so each new introduction will be different.

If you want to know how to introduce your dog to a cat, read this article to the end.*

How to introduce a dog to a cat?

Here are some tips to keep in mind when introducing your dog to a cat:

  • When introducing your dog to a cat, pay attention to the body language of both animals. As if any of them become aggressive, it means that they are not happy to meet. You should also provide a safe space for your cat, where she can go if something goes wrong.
  • For the first few days, introduce them slowly under your own supervision and let them investigate each other’s scent. Once they calm down in each other’s presence, you can move on to the next step.
  • Bring your kitty and doggie into a room, but keep your dog on a leash. Keep doing this until the dog begins to ignore the cat, and you are sure the doggie won’t hurt the kitty.
  • Suppose things are going in the right direction. In that case, you can allow both furry companions to hang out freely under your supervision. If you think they are becoming good friends, you can allow them to interact more freely.


Remember one thing that each dog and cat has different nature so that you work at a proper pace where both are comfortable. Sometimes the introduction gets along with each other quickly, and sometimes it can take several months. That is why it is advisable to take steps carefully and slowly.

*This article is for informational purposes only. Please consult a professional dog trainer for more information.  

This Week’s Topic: Play Tug With Your Dog

Playing Tug With Your Dog

Tug:  Once your dog starts grabbing at a toy, starting a game of tug is easy.  Just gently pull the toy and your pup is likely to pull back!  Soft toys are best for this.  Below we will teach you how to play tug with rules so that your dog learns how to control their biting and jumping, and “say please” in order to continue the game.

The games we teach are super-fun and great for releasing energy, but they must also teach communication and rules.  For example, never allow your pup to grab your hands or clothing.  Whenever he does this, immediately fold your arms and turn away from the game as if you are completely turned off.  For an instant, your pup will be surprised, stop mouthing you, and look up as if to say, “What did I do?” In that instant, you can praise and re-engage the game.

See our post on House Training Your Dog.

HOUSE TRAINING! Six Rules That Lead To Success

House Training Puppies

HOUSETRAINING! Six Rules That Lead To Success

  • Your pup should always be supervised or confined. Supervise your pup closely or have him in the crate (or pen if you are using wee-wee pads).  Supervised means if your pup has an accident, you will see it taking place.  The only exception to this rule is if you know your pup has just “done all of his business” and now has an “empty tank.”  Then, you may be able to get away with a brief period of less intense supervision, but never no supervision.


  • Take your pup to the right place as often as he needs to go. Learn your pup’s patterns and set up your routine accordingly.  Watch for sniffing, whining, circling, panting, or suddenly wandering away from you.  These are signs that he needs to “go.”  Take him to his place to go!  Also, take him after he: chews heavily on a toy, plays hard, or wakes from a nap.


  • Give your pup a treat *immediately* after he “goes” in the right place. The right place is going to be outside or the wee-wee pad, depending on what you are training for at any particular time.  Choose one high-value food treat that you will only use for going to the bathroom in the right place.  This makes it more memorable.  Hint: If you are using wee-wee pads, and you eventually want your pup to “go” outside only – do not offer a food reward for going on the pads.  Save that for outside.  For now, offer lots of verbal praise instead.


  • If you catch your puppy “going” in the wrong place, interrupt him with “eh! eh!” or one sharp clap, then:
  1. If you think he will relieve himself further, immediately take him outside or to the wee-wee pad. If/when he finishes in the right place, praise him warmly and give him that special food treat.  Or…
  2. If you think he has already relieved himself enough that he is not going to “finish” outside or on the wee-wee pad (this is the most likely scenario), then be sure to confine him immediately after you catch him in the act. This is so that he does not run over to play with your towel while you clean up the mess.

Remember, when you catch him in the act, DO NOT yell harshly – you only need to interrupt the unwanted behavior – you never want to frighten your pup to the point where he thinks he should hide from you.

  • NEVER scold your pup if you find a mess AFTER he has had an accident in the wrong place. He will NOT learn anything from this after-the-fact correction, and it will make him nervous, which makes training far more difficult.


  • Always clean up accidents as quick as you can with an odor neutralizer, such as Nature’s Miracle or equivalent. Household cleaners are not the same as pet odor neutralizers!

Dog Training Pricing and Training Packages

Basic Obedience Training package
5 One on One private Lessons
Basic obedience training, Including includes sit, down, crate training, house training.
Designed For Puppies 8 weeks to 12 months
Advanced Training Package
10 private one on one training sessions
Basic obedience training and advanced behaviors, including stay, leash walking, drop, and go-to place.
Designed for puppies 8 weeks to adult dogs
Basic Board & Train
Call For Pricing
1 Week board and train program
Board and train program covers Basic obedience training, Including crate training, house training and leash walking.
Perfect for puppies to adult dogs

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For more information about our board and train program please contact us and we will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.