Did you know that there are many types of working dogs? Each one has a different function and different training and jobs. Some are covered under the law and some aren’t. Here you will read the different types and how we at SSAR will be involved with them.

  • Emotional support dogs (ESA’s) are dogs that do not require any training. With a doctor’s prescription they are allowed on airlines and in no pet housing. They do not have access to places like stores, restaurants or any other public area. They are there to help the emotional disabilities for their owners. They do not wear vests or have ID’s as they do not have to have formal training.
  • Therapy dogs (TD) is a dog that is trained and handled by its owner. This type of working animal is done on a volunteer basis. Often times this individual will go through a class and testing to become registered through an organization to visit nursing homes, schools, hospitals and other similar facilities. The therapy dog is there with permission and can be asked to leave at any time. Therapy dogs to not have public access and do not go into stores, restaurants or other public buildings due to health code laws. They are trained, usually by their owner; to go help others feel better. While dogs are more common in this job, most programs do allow any domesticated animal to also take the classes and tests. Just to name a few other species…Cats, llamas, horses, rabbits and goats have been known to be a therapy animal.
  • Service dogs (SD) are dogs that are individually trained to mitigate the disabilities of its owner. There are many types of SD’s that include but not limited to Seizure alert, guide dogs, mobility, hearing alert, psychiatric, and autism alert. While many SD’s are trained by a school or program, many states do allow owners to train their own. There are many important things to take into consideration about Service dogs. First, the owner must be substantially limited by their disabled as stated under the federal and/or state laws. Second, the dog must be trained to mitigate that disability. Third, it is the owner/handler that has legal rights not the animal. And last, under the law a service dog is classified as ‘medical equipment’. A service dog is the only working dog that has the right to accompany their disabled handler (or a trainer) in business. They are allowed in all places the general public is allowed to be minus 3 exceptions. Private homes, churches (must get permission) and surgical/sanitized areas. This means they can go to stores, restaurants, malls, doctors’ offices, and any other place their disabled owner/handler must go. Interfering with a service dog is illegal as is pretending your pet is a service dog. You can be fined and/or even spend time in jail. Training for a service dog takes upwards of 2 years and we are lucky to have a trainer on our board that has been training both service dogs as well as therapy dogs for more than 15 years.
  • Search and Rescue (SAR) dogs are dogs that are trained to do what the name suggestions. Search and rescue. There are several types of SAR dogs that include but are not limited to cadaver dogs, live search dogs, tracking just to name a few. Training for this type of dog also takes great time and expertise and we are privilege to have a member on our team! While these dogs are very valuable they do not have access to public places. They accompany their owner where they are needed.
  • Police dogs (K-9 unit) are highly trained dogs that help the men and women in blue to perform their jobs at a higher level. They are trained to track a suspect, look for drugs and even explosives. These dogs usually come from specialized breeding programs but can at times be shelter dogs (rare) or dogs that have been donated to the police force. Interfering with a police dog is illegal and you can be fined and/or spend time in jail.

Please contact us via Facebook, our website, or e-mail if you wish to discuss more about adopting an animal with the potential to be an Emotional Support Animal or Service Dog. Or if you wish to discuss your personal dog’s potential to be a Therapy Dog or Search and Rescue Dog (or wish to adopt a potential candidate), we can help you with details on that with you as well.