Over the past decade there has been a rise in the number of people with Emotional Support Animals. This has caused some confusion around what it means to have a service, emotional support or therapy animal . Here, we explain briefly the differences between each of these animals, the training required for each different type, and debunk some common myths. Read on to learn the differences between each type of animal, which one might be right for you or your loved one, and how Dog Training Elite West Michigan can help.
ESA vs. Therapy vs. Service Animals: What's the Difference?
Service animals are animals that have been trained to assist individuals with tasks specific to their needs.
- Redirecting attention when an individual is beginning to feel overstimulated
- Reminding owners to take medication
- Waking someone who is having a nightmare
Service dogs are valued in the mental health, health care and disability community and are protected under ADA laws which allow owners to take their service dog with them everywhere they go. Dog Training Elite West Michigan trains dogs to serve individuals with autism, diabetes and PTSD.
Dog Training Elite West Michigan trains autism service dogs to benefit and assist children with autism. Autism service dogs can be trained to track their child in case of wandering and redirect a child’s behavior when they are starting to become overwhelmed.
PTSD service dogs help ground owners to reality, especially in public settings. These service dogs can also be trained to recognize signs of a panic attack and regulate emotional responses through pressure.
Diabetic service dogs can alert their owners to their low blood sugar and provide stability, safety and support.
Visit our individual web pages to understand more about the differences and benefits of autism service dogs, PTSD services dogs and diabetic service dogs.
Emotional Support Animals
Although all dog owners may feel the emotional benefits of owning a dog, the dog needs to be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional to a person with a disabling mental illness such as anxiety or depression to legally be considered an ESA. Emotional Support dogs can be of any age and any breed whereas service dogs usually begin training as puppies.
In addition to being prescribed by a mental health professional, owners may wish for their dog to undergo more specific training. If you are looking for emotional support dog training in your local area, Dog Training Elite West Michigan has you covered.
The professional dog trainers of Dog Training Elite West Michigan are experienced with training various types of therapy animals. Trainers work with a dog’s natural temperament to ensure a strong, loving bond between dog and owner. Training can be personalized to fit the needs of the owner.
It is important to note that Emotional Support Animals are meant for just that - emotional support. Dogs trained to assist with specific tasks that may be associated with a disability are service animals. Training a dog to be an Emotional Support Animal or a therapy dog is less intensive than training to be a service animal.
Therapy Animals are very similar to Emotional Support Animals, except that they are often used to bolster the mental health and wellbeing of a community, as opposed to just an individual. Therapy dogs are often seen serving in hospitals, rehabilitation or care centers with their owners.
Owners who feel their dog may be a good fit for this kind of community service can have them receive top-notch training from Dog Training Elite West Michigan.
The most important thing to note as a difference between Emotional Support Animals, Therapy and Service dogs, is service animals are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act which states service animals must be able to accompany their owners wherever they go. Emotional Support and Therapy animals do not have the same protections and public establishments may have their own rules about ESA and therapy dogs.
Whether you’re ready to get a new lease on life with the help of a service dog, or strengthen the existing bond with your dog, Dog Training Elite West Michigan has the experience and resources you need.
Our Balanced Theory
We base our training around the "Classical Conditioning" model (a.k.a. "Pavlovian" or "respondent conditioning"). This includes developing conditioned or automatic reflexes to commands. In its simplest form (after proper conditioning), when the owner says "sit," the dog automatically sits without thinking about it. Our unique techniques ensure our program is a success no matter what behavior we encounter.
We empower owners to train so their dog knows who to obey at all times.
We deal with problem behaviors on a personal basis.
We train wherever issues tend to arise (i.e. jogging, park, home).
We support owners in the off-hours (when training is "not in session").
We work with all members of the household.
Simplified & Customized
We plan training around the owner's schedule and require only 15 min/day follow-up practice.
Additional programs / group sessions offered after in-home training.
We follow up & are invested in the owner's success long-term.
Our high client satisfaction rating sets us apart from competitors.
clas·si·cal con·di·tion·ing PSYCHOLOGY noun A learning process that occurs when two stimuli are repeatedly paired; a response that is at first elicited by the second stimulus and is eventually elicited by the first stimulus alone.
Proud Sponsor of The Malinois Foundation
At Dog Training Elite West Michigan, we believe that Service Dogs save lives. It is our mission to make these life-saving companions available to our Veterans, First Responders, Women Survivors, and Children with Medical Needs. Whether it be for PTSD, Mobility Support, or Special Needs, Dog Training Elite West Michigan work's with the Malinois Foundation to heal and empower these individuals with a specialized service animal, a partner in life, and a new best friend.