Therapy Dogs vs. Service Dogs

Many people use the terms “therapy dog” and “service dog” interchangeably, but there are major differences between the two.

Service dogs help individuals by performing tasks they cannot do for themselves because of a disability. The Americans with Disabilities act governs the use of service dogs in public places. Service dogs often wear vests stating “do not pet, I’m working” and should not be approached or bothered. Service dogs are allowed into public places normally prohibited to dogs and require a very high level of training to do their jobs correctly.

Therapy dogs DO NOT have federally granted access to the public places that service dogs are welcomed. As opposed to service dogs, that are generally not to be interacted with, therapy dogs are there to be petted and provide comfort and affection to people at places that request visits. Therapy dogs and their handlers generally visit hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes and schools. A therapy dog can also provide stress relief in disaster areas or even for college students taking finals.

To sum it up, a therapy dog is available upon request to visit and provide support to many people and a service dog is there to perform tasks for one individual with a disability.

While Casey Ray’s does not specialize in service dog training, our obedience programs can help your dog head down the right path to becoming a therapy dog.

Set up YOUR free consultation today! Check out our Facebook page at