This is an area of dog training that I have become quite passionate about. It is extremely rewarding to see how these dogs change the lives of people who previously were unable to leave their homes; but now, with the support from their dogs, they can venture to the supermarket, the cinema, and out for coffee. In effect, they regain a quality of life they had lost.
What is the difference between assistance and therapy dogs?
Assistance Dog – Trained to perform tasks to assist handlers with disabilities, i.e. psychiatric, physical, hearing, eyesight, seizures. The formal certification process is achieved by passing a Public Access Test (PAT).
Therapy Dog – works with the handler to provide comfort and joy to those in hospital, schools, aged care facilities, courts etc. There is no formal certification process.