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Therapy dogs are working dogs (dogs with jobs), but they are not a type of service dog.
Therapy and Service Animals - do you know the difference?
Therapy dogs are given basic obedience training and then tested for both obedience and temperament. Once they pass a therapy dog test with their partner, they can be registered with a therapy dog organization. Registration offers several benefits both to volunteers and to the facilities they visit.
Therapy dog registration typically costs about $30 per year and includes liability insurance, and support from the national organization in the form of providing educational and promotional materials, staff to address questions, regional club listings, and community resources so that therapy pet partners can find ways to interact with one another. It's a terrific bargain for the price. Additionally, a person registered with a specific therapy dog organization has immediate recognition due to standardization. If you know the requirements of a given organization, then you know the minimum standards for all teams registered with that organization. You know what you are getting, and this makes it easier to find welcoming facilities to visit.
For the facilities, the liability insurance coverage on registered teams can address their own liability concerns, making it administratively feasible to participate in a therapy dog program. The facility has an assurance that the team has been prepared and tested to meet minimum standards for a reliable volunteer service. Most therapy dog organizations require some sort of annual veterinary exam to ensure the health of the dog and minimize the risks of zoonosis. Most organizations have strict grooming protocols, for example requiring that the therapy pet be bathed no more than 24 hours before scheduled visits. When a facility chooses a therapy dog organization to welcome, they can be assured that the teams have been screened and the dogs maintained in good health, according to the organizations published standards.