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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!

The team at DTE Denver all really value the relationship between dogs and their owners!
— Kelley Rosequist
Posted May 17th 2022
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DTE is great! They really helped to work on my dogs leash aggression. Very knowledgeable and can tell they love dogs!
— Katie Petri
Posted May 14th 2022
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We had a great experience with Dog Training Elite. We worked mostly with Salena and our puppy loved her. Trainings were effective and they gave us all the tools to reinforce everything she learned. They were awesome to work with and our puppy learned so much.
— Sara James
Posted May 9th 2022
google
DTE has completely changed our family dynamics with our puppy Ned. We were hesitant about using an e-collar at first, but after completing the training we would do it all over again. We wanted Ned to be trained well enough so that we could take him everywhere we go without added stress. Walks are more enjoyable without him pulling to get ahead, no more table surfing, and he actively listens to us on the first command. Highly recommend DTE, the staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. They answered all of our questions and explained every aspect of the training. Jason was great to work with!
— Ellen Claire Tipp
Posted May 6th 2022
google
We have had such a great experience with Dog Training Elite. We've had three different trainers work with our very anxious 2 year old boxer. When we started we couldn't safely walk him. We have now walked to a park full of kids, scooters, and people and he held a down! Money well spent!
— Jodi Parker
Posted May 5th 2022
google
DTE was recommended by a friend who was using them. After letting her know my pup was having issues playing with other dogs, she let me know how effective they have been with their dogs. I was hesitant because of the price point, but these are skills my pup will use for the rest of her life, so I decided to take the chance. Having them come for individualized sessions and teaching was key for me. But then the follow up of group classes would be the deal sealer. Communication before and after the sessions was/is a bit lacking, but if you really needed to be in touch, someone would get back to you quickly...within the day. I look forward to continuing the training with her 16 group classes! I gave a 4 at this point because we're really only a quarter of the way through the training.
— Valerie Silberman
Posted May 5th 2022
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Snowie has learned so much! We loved the in home training as well as the group classes! Evan was so awesome with her!
— Jamie Bryan
Posted April 30th 2022
google
Colleen was amazing! She walked us through training our 3 Brittany’s. There is a remarkable positive improvement in both their demeanor and behavior. Two of them are rescues that endured previous abuse. Colleen helped us work through their fears and insecurity.
— Maureen Evans
Posted April 28th 2022
google
We have been in training since Jan 2022. It is amazing how with the right tools your dog will shine. We have a golden lab, hes 7 months old, he is being trained for a service dog for my grandson. Matt and his trainers have been awesome with him. He is doing things that are amazing to watch. When you see a puppy turn into an obedient dog its a wonderful feeling. We are in the adolescent stage so yes it gets rough but so worth it when he shows off and does an awesome job. I see our experience going forward to be hard work but Matt and all of his trainers will be right by our side as we get to our goal. Thank you guys so much for taking care of our future worker!
— Bobbie Schoonover
Posted April 28th 2022
google
We have an Australian English Shepherd Mix who was incredibly aggressive to the point we couldn't have guests over to our house. DTE worked with her and by the end was letting the trainers give her belly rubs. We really couldn't believe it. At the beginning of the program that never would have happened. We had reservations in the beginning about using an ECollar, however, our dog now wags her tail and gets excited when we grab it from the counter. She truly is a different dog and I can't recommend DTE enough!
— Megan Newcomer
Posted April 26th 2022
google
Evan, with Dog Training Elite, is THE BEST! I recently moved to Utah and wanted to continue training with my 3-year-old GSD. She was still having some reactivity issues that I couldn't get to the root of. During our consult, Evan pointed out behaviors that both myself and my girl were doing that created miscommunication between us. After 5 sessions, we solidified her obedience and established clear communication between both her and myself. I'm confident as her leader and love that she checks and frequently! Evan introduced a new training tool that works for both her and I! Her reactivity has greatly improved from where it was. Sessions with Evan were fun, safe, and he always explained the 'why's' behind what we were doing. The group classes are amazing and have challenged us to grow as a team, continuing to build on what we learned during training! Everyone at DTE has been fantastic! My girl is calmer, more confident, and our relationship is even stronger all thanks to Evan and DTE!
— Sarah Ann
Posted April 25th 2022
google
Dog Training Elite is absolutely amazing. It has been a wonderful experience from the very start. All of the trainers are incredibly knowledgeable and willing to help with anything we need. In just a few months, we've seen a major transformation with our rambunctious 2-year old Aussie/Lab mix, Maho, thanks to everyone at Dog Training Elite. We are so appreciative and happy we sought out help from this organization!
— Whitney Sayre
Posted April 22nd 2022
google
If you’re reading this review, you’re probably wondering if elite dog training is going to be worth it for you. So let me share my story to help you make your decision.. Two months ago I decided to bring home a lab puppy: Mocha. This was my first dog ever. It was not an impulsive decision- I had done my research and had given it much thought and preparation. I was ready. But, oh boy, was I wrong about that. I was so not prepared for what came next! Weeks of sleepless nights (The little ball of fuzzy cuteness turned into a relentless all night barking machine after dark) Potty training. Crate training. Off! Don’t bite people! And then the walks.. Mocha was an uncontrollable force of nature, even at 10 weeks old, to the point of literally choking herself. I tried all the YouTube videos. Bought half of Amazon’s collars, leashes and devices that promised miracles. Nothing worked. Three weeks into this I realized I needed help. And this is when I found Elite Dog Training. I signed up for the Gold package with the 5 in house training sessions and hands down this was the best decision I ever made (after getting this cute puppy in the first place). Evan did all 5 sessions and he was absolutely amazing. Mocha adores him. She’ll do just about anything to hear him say “Yes!” Each session was partially her learning something new and partially training me on how to continue teaching her. It was magic! I didn’t realize how easy this was going to be. After only 2 sessions my life had already gotten significantly better. After 4 sessions , random people stopped me on walks to ask me how I got my puppy so well behaved. We just completed the 5th in house session and I have a really happy puppy, who is very proud of herself for having learned these things. After Evan left, she came over to show me again what she had just learned - wagging her little tail while she did every command without hesitation, her little puppy face lighting up knowing she got them all right. So..Today, when the doorbell rings, she goes to her “place” and sits down. When we walk around the neighborhood she heels and walks beside me - and then when we get to the park she can “break” and run on a longer leash and go do fun dog stuff . In the dog park she can run off leash and play with other dogs and when I call “here!” , she stops whatever she is doing, comes running and sits in front of me. She sits and lays down when asked to. We can walk past people and most dogs without her going ballistic (even when the other dogs are out of control) Being in training was also helping her to understand other things in her routine. So although not part of her training, she stopped barking during the night and she can be by herself for a couple of hours without barking up the neighborhood. And oh yeah …She figured out what drop it! means (must have for lab puppies that literally pick every piece of trash on the street). … Did I mention that she’s not even 5 months old yet ? So yeah… it was more than worth it! Every pet owner needs Evan in their lives. We can’t wait to get started on our 6 months of group training!
— Gudrun Bonte
Posted April 7th 2022
google
Charmone really knows her stuff! She is a professional and gets the desired results!
— Jasmine Garland
Posted April 4th 2022
google
All the people working in the San Antonio facilities were amazing! I highly recommend this group to anyone in need of dog training and already have!
— Jacquelyn Davis
Posted March 31st 2022
google
DTE was a blessing to myself and my dog! They have great communication skills and our meeting reminders were really helpful for my schedule! All of the trainers had a great amount of patience and Thor is a new dog! I can't wait to join them for group classes!
— Lauren Griswold
Posted March 31st 2022
google
Such a great training experience!! They take the time to come into your home and assess your dog and their needs. Evan Sutton was the best trainer and so patient with my pup. I would recommend to all my friends!
— Brittney Pearson
Posted March 22nd 2022
google
We signed up with DTE and honestly I wasn’t sure how effective they would be. My dog Bo is so anxious and aggressive I never thought we would be able to fully enjoy him. We were assigned Evan and I can’t begin to tell you just how amazing of a person Evan is. Evan connected with Bo and helped him do things I never thought possible. The pic of him next to Evans dog was the first time I have ever had my dog next to another animal that he wasn’t trying to kill. Evan is incredible, kind, caring, and I would recommend him a million times over! Thanks Evan and Bo is such a happier animal because of you. Well worth the money!!!!!
— Erek Winnett
Posted March 18th 2022
google
We signed up with DTE and honestly I wasn’t sure how effective they would be. My dog Bo is so anxious and aggressive I never thought we would be able to fully enjoy him. We were assigned Evan and I can’t begin to tell you just how amazing of a person Evan is. Evan connected with Bo and helped him do things I never thought possible. The pic of him next to Evans dog was the first time I have ever had my dog next to another animal that he wasn’t trying to kill. Evan is incredible, kind, caring, and I would recommend him a million times over! Thanks Evan and Bo is such a happier animal because of you. Well worth the money!!!!!
— Erek Winnett
Posted March 18th 2022
google
we had a great experience working with Dog Training Elite. Trainers were very patient and with our busy life schedule and were very committed to the success of our family's dog training. Looking forward to 6 months of park class. Thanks!
— Lindsey Cowdin
Posted March 16th 2022
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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