Types of Dogs
These highly trained dogs are partnered with adults with physical disabilities to assist with daily tasks and increase independence by reducing reliance on other people. Some of the tasks they may be trained to do for this individual are turn on lights, open and close doors, pick up dropped objects, fetch a remote control, fetch the phone in case of emergency, and even push buttons to open automatic doors. These dogs are certified Service Dogs and the individual with the disability has the right under the ADA to take the dog out in public with them even to places that do not allow pets. The physical disabilities could include but are not limited to spinal cord injuries, Cerebral Palsy, MS, Spina Bifida, amputees, etc.
These dogs are also certified Service Dogs and can do all of the tasks of a service dog but they wear a harness with a rigid handle and provide balance to individuals who may need this service. The individual who receives a Balance Dog also has the right under the ADA to have this dog accompany them to public places of business.
Home Helper Dogs
These dogs are trained to perform the tasks that might be needed by a person with a mobility disability. However, these dogs are not Certified Service Dogs and as such cannot be taken out to places of business but they perform the tasks at home. These are generally dogs that are happy to do the service dog tasks but are not happy or comfortable in public. They may pull excessively on the leash, or bark at things out in public to show their unhappiness or fear but are great companions and helpers in the home.
Facility Therapy Dog
These specially trained dogs are paired with Therapists, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, or Speech Therapists and are used in various ways in these practices. Sometimes they provide a shoulder to cry on, sometimes adults and children will talk to a dog before they will talk to another human. These are not Certified Service Dogs and have no right to enter places of business except the ones required for them to assit the therapist. These dogs could also be placed in locations such as a Ronald McDonald house.
Classroom Therapy Dog
Therapy Dogs for the Ministry
These dogs are placed with a minister in a church setting or a chaplain in an institutional setting. The dog accompanies the minister in his daily activities including visiting those in hospitals, nursing homes, or even private residences. He can be present during worship, help with children's stories, and provide comfort to those who are distressed.