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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 can help.

Dog Training Elite offers top rated autism service dog training near you.

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In-Home Dog Trainers Near You in your local area

Dog Training Elite is proud to have professional autism service dog trainers near you.

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 trains dogs to serve individuals with autism, diabetes and PTSD.

Dog Training Elite 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.

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 has you covered.

The professional dog trainers of Dog Training Elite 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.

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 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.


Dog Training Elite is the top company near you that uses professional positive dog training methods.
Empowering Owners

We empower owners to train so their dog knows who to obey at all times.

Personalized

We deal with problem behaviors on a personal basis.

Environment Specific

We train wherever issues tend to arise (i.e. jogging, park, home).

Supportive

We support owners in the off-hours (when training is "not in session").

Involved

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.

Continued Training

Additional programs / group sessions offered after in-home training.

Lifetime Investment

We follow up & are invested in the owner's success long-term.

Satisfaction Ratings

Our high client satisfaction rating sets us apart from competitors.

See Our Pricing

We help your dog become a valued companion and beloved member of the family. Read what our customers have to say and then give us a call!

I highly recommended Dog Training Elite Denver for all training needs. I have trained 3 dogs through their service animal program with great success and have first hand the efficacy of their method in resolving all types of behavioral issues. On top of everything, the DTE Denver team has provided over the top personalized support through every challenge I have faced with my precious pups. I’m a big fan - to say the absolute least!
— Alexa Tetzlaff
Posted May 23rd 2023
google
DTE-Denver truly lives up to their tagline. They absolutely are the last dog trainers you'll ever need. I found DTE-Denver after my Goldendoodle was certified as a therapy dog through another trainer, but I didn't feel that her behavior was as reliable as I wanted it to be in order to to feel safe with students in my classroom. After 4 months of training with DTE, my pup passed her therapy test and is as reliable off-leash as she is on-leash. We love all of you at DTE-Denver! Thank you for changing our lives and the lives of the students Kona will continue to help for years to come!
— Catherine Kaminski
Posted May 22nd 2023
google
Thank you Dog Training Élite Northern Utah for the work with my puppy Charlie. Charlie has already brought joy to this human near to end of life. Dan, Colleen and your staff have been amazing. Thank you for the patience you show teaching Charlie’s human (me) to be a better handler. You are amazing and I would recommend you to anyone.
— Rosie Holmes
Posted May 13th 2023
google
The trainers at Dog Training Elite are amazing! We are first time dog owners, and really appreciate their expertise and willingness to answer our many questions. They really individualized the training based on our puppy’s personality and abilities and helped us know how to continue and reinforce his training at home. We are so glad we found such fantastic trainers for our cute puppy Scout!
— Sara Margetts
Posted May 6th 2023
google
We've tried dog training before with a different company but gave up due to no results. When we tried DTE we were skeptical but even just the free hour-long consultation with Evan showed us this place cared more than the other. We also noticed results after the first session. We worked with Deidre, Ryan and Evan to train our dog as a service dog for PTSD clients we work with. They are a great team and each of them know how to cheer you on and encourage more from you and the dog. Plus, they focus on building confidence and, when you're the only handler/dog in a public space with good behavior it really goes to show how much hard work the team and us put in. We could not recommend these guys more!
— Zachery Linscott
Posted April 29th 2023
google
I contacted Matt at Dog Training Elite because my 6 year old dog was holding me hostage. I couldn't leave him with anyone, I was uncomfortable when company came over. I tried local store Training classes but there were still problems. My dog was dragging me up and down hills, barking and jumping at other dogs and being possessive of furniture and other items in the house. He now plays with other dogs, walks along side of me, sits calmly and waits for commands. He is a happy dog now and I no longer worry about his behavior. Thank you Dog Training Elite.
— Debbie Cooper
Posted April 23rd 2023
google
All of the trainers are amazing to work with. They explained things to us in a way that was very easy to understand so that we were confident whenever we did our homework each night with our dog, Jango. It's been so fun watching Jango learn and grow throughout this process, we are so proud of him and are grateful for all of the trainers that worked with us. Jake, Jeff, and McCall, thank you so much! You all are amazing!
— Ashlee Taylor
Posted April 22nd 2023
google
I did a lot of research before picking Dog Training Elite. I am so happy with my decision. My puppy had learned so much in the 6 at home lessons. He had some aggressive behavioral issues that have gotten significantly better since we started training. I couldn’t recommend them more!
— Jane Hodell
Posted April 21st 2023
google
The Ballards have changed my life by training my dog and I to be the best team we can be! If you are looking for service dog training, I would highly recommend. DTE’s training program works fast and it sticks! Han Solo and I have so much fun at group classes. They make things fun and structured. You are not only training your dog! You are finding a like minded community to support you in the process. ☀️That’s a beautiful thing ☀️ Thank you guys for being such a compassionate company!! 5 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Posted April 13th 2023
facebook
Whitley and her team are professional, intelligent, fun, honest, and kind. You won't go wrong trusting them with your pup! They are excellent teachers that really care. I firmly believe they're making the world a better place, one dog at a time!
— Denise Hall
Posted April 11th 2023
google
I can not say enough about DTE. They are AMAZING. Trevor, Opal, Colleen, Dan and Melaine are super human dog lovers. Not only have they set our dogs up on the road to success they put my family there too.!!! I recommend them completely. They are just amazing.
— Cynthia Volk
Posted April 9th 2023
google
We started the training less than two months ago, and the results have been dramatic! We were dealing with a highly energetic English setter who was constantly barking in our fence to any walkers passing by, plus reactive behavior toward other dogs when walking on a leash. I had tried the usual trainers with a reward-based program with no success. This is not my first dog ownership. My previous experiences were with dogs that were much easier to train. The barking was, for me, a significant problem due to its impact on the neighbors. However, after the first visit with Neal, the barking was gone!! The training immediately corrected the jumping on the couch or at the counter. We have completed the home visits and are participating in the group classes with fantastic success. He is still a happy and playful puppy. The difference now is that he obeys our commands and understands the limits. Neal and his team have been professional, knowledgeable, and friendly. Thank Neal, Ashley, Azure, and the rest of the team for all their help.
— Debora Gama Lima
Posted April 8th 2023
google
I could not be happier. I worked with Ky and he is exceptional in his training program. So happy with the degree of training and instructions. If you follow what your instructor tells you to do your dog will have the best manners which makes awesome service dogs and companion. I can not even express how please I am with my service. Thank you so much I really appreciate everyone and everything.
— Carla Ammons
Posted April 7th 2023
google
George did a fantastic job with Cooper and helped him with his anxiety and fear of new people. Cooper loved working with George and has a lot more confidence thanks to him
— Matt Sumners
Posted April 5th 2023
google
Matt and his team do an incredible job and they all have the best hearts. I reached out to DTE with a fear reactive dog, completely hysterical over a bite incident. Within 30 minutes Matt was at my house for an evaluation, and upon meeting my dog he decided that he did not think the aggressive program was necessary, and we gave the obedience program a try first, and he was right! We met a few trainers before finding one that not only bonded with my dog, but one my dog felt comfortable with, and for the remaining sessions it was him we had the pleasure of seeing once a week. He pushed all of us out of our comfort zone, challenging me to work hard and earn that trust and confidence my dog again. I am happy to say that with DTE’s obedience program we are now able to take the dog with us to eat on the patios of populated bars without so much as a bark or a growl. My dogs trust in me, my trust in him, and my trust in myself have all benefited from working with Dog Training Elite. I now have the tools to keep my dog, and everyone else safe, happy, and comfortable; and not only has the reactivity gotten better but my dog is overall better behaved, more obedient, less anxious, and just all around a better listener. I could not be more pleased or more grateful for my experience with Matt’s team of trainers.
— Mallory Newberry
Posted March 31st 2023
google
Dog Training Elite was just what we were looking for to train our new dog. We did the one on one sessions with McCall and she was fantastic. She was able to be firm and get our puppy to learn new commands while still keeping it fun. She was fantastic at helping us feel empowered and helping us work through the different behaviors our dog had.
— Kassidy Favero
Posted March 30th 2023
google
Five stars to Matt Willis and his staff of Dog Training Elite for their excellent work in training our miniature Australian Shepherd Poodle (Aussiedoodle) to be a psychiatric service dog. At four months they began teaching my small dog along with my husband and me. At age twelve months Maya became a certified psychiatric service dog. She now qualified to accompany us in restaurants, grocery stores, airplanes, public transportation and other public places. Without the expert assistance of Hunter, Dom, and particularly Matt obtaining certification would not have been possible in so short a time with such a young dog. I would recommend Matt and company to anyone wanting his or her dog to be obedient, follow commands and provide comfort, companionship and assistance. They are absolutely the BEST!
— Cindy
Posted March 29th 2023
google
Dog Training Elite San Antonio is an exceptional training center for dogs. Their dedication to service and hyper-care is reflected in their innovative training approach. Their team of local dog trainers, Geneva, Wolf, and Team, at Dog Training Elite San Antonio is made up of skilled and trustworthy professionals who embody the values and mission of the organization. Their commitment to excellence is evident in the quality of training they provided Redford & Sofie, and the results they achieved. Overall, if you are looking for a caring, reliable and effective dog training service in San Antonio, we highly recommend Dog Training Elite San Antonio. Their commitment to service and effectiveness makes them a standout choice for dog owners looking to improve their furry friend's behavior and obedience, ultimately enriching quality of life.

Posted March 28th 2023
facebook
My Boykin spaniel is a smart but stubborn pup. Before training he could accomplish most of the basic in a controlled setting but failed with distractions. He has been doing training now for 3 months and his public outing are now like I have a whole new dog. He is still a work in progress especially when meeting up with other dogs but the group classes are helping immensely with that. We just accomplished walking through hobby lobby for over an hr without any issues. Something I would have never thought possible with his nose/smell drive.
— Kristen Woelfel
Posted March 25th 2023
google
Me and my puppy Napoleon had a great experience with Dom our trainer. He is amazing! I was worried about the collar and he was very gentle yet firm and guided us through it all. I highly recommend this program for anyone who wants to train their puppy !
— Sri kolli
Posted March 24th 2023
google

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Proud Sponsor of The Malinois Foundation

At Dog Training Elite, 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 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.

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