Category Archives: Dog Training General

Therapy Dog Certification History: Northern Virginia

Therapy Dog Northern Virginia
While we do a lot of therapy dog training at our facility in Northern Virginia, many do not know the history of the therapy dog.

Dogs have always been man’s best friend. While they may have started out as assistants for early man’s hunting expeditions, they have evolved into being spiritual companions on the journey of life. They are members of the family for humans the world over. Today, their role as family pets has evolved even further as they step into their new role of being therapy dogs.

Therapy dogs are used extensively in many settings within hospices, hospitals, schools, nursing homes, retirement homes, and rehabilitation homes. They offer solace and support to people with varying degrees of physical and emotional needs. They are often also clubbed as assistance or service dogs.

The history of therapy dogs can be traced back to World War II, when a dog named Smoky was found abandoned on a battlefield, adopted by a soldier, and later was allowed in the hospital as a companion to the wounded soldiers and their friends, which he continued doing for 12 long years.

In 1976, the first therapy dog training program was started by a registered nurse, Elaine Smith, who had observed the difference that visiting dogs had on patients in the hospital where she worked. It was not until 1982, that a new program was started to have therapy dogs assist with the severely disabled among children. This was called the Tender Loving Zoo and was started by Nancy Stanley.

Therapy dogs today have had a lot of research to back up the experiential claims of their beneficial effects on humans. Research has shown that therapy dogs increase the levels of dopamine and oxytocin in the brain, which leads to increased satisfaction and bonding. Therapy dogs also help to increase confidence levels in children with learning disabilities. They help provide support and socialization to children with autism. Therapy dogs also provide stress release to school and college students in the United States by visiting them on campus in an event called Therapy Fluffies.

The best part about therapy dogs is that there is no age limit to their appeal. They can just as easily break the ice with a three-year-old as they can with a ninety-year-old. Therapy dogs often do not live with people who need their help, as service dogs do. Therapy dogs often visit different organizations, schools, retirement homes, hospitals, hospices, etc., along with their owners and return with the owners to their own homes at the end of their session. They are not exclusively trained to deal with specific tasks and assignments, as service dogs are.

Any dog can be trained to be a therapy dog (as long as no major behavioral issues), but there are some dogs that are specially preferred as therapy dogs due to their innate nature. An example of such dogs would be the Golden Retriever, which is very popular as therapy dogs the world over. This is due to the fact that they are very easy going, affectionate, and loving. They are very patient with children and have a light-hearted demeanor that makes them the perfect therapy dog!

Are you interested in having your dog become a certified therapy dog? If so, contact Off Leash K9 Training!


Nick White
Off Leash K9 Training

Certified Therapy Dog Training in Virginia

At our dog training lessons in Virginia, we offer certified Therapy Dog Courses for dogs of all sizes, ages, and breeds!

Of course we love our cats, hamsters, rabbits, chinchillas, goats, chickens, and any other pets we have. But only one pet has been ever deemed consistently as “man’s best friend” and that is our dogs. In these loving and loyal creatures, one can find comfort, love and companionship. These are things that many people in confined living situations such as hospitals or assisted living homes often need. That is where therapy dogs come in.

Therapy animals serve to bring love, comfort and happiness to places ranging from hospitals to schools or universities. There are many cases where family and friends cannot seem to visit and connecting with a therapy dog often times fills that void. Scientific research has demonstrated that interaction with a therapy dog helps improve all facets of a patient including their mental, emotional and physical well being, which then results in a better and faster recovery. Some of the health benefits include decrease in stress and anxiety, blood pressure, and loneliness. In addition, contact with therapy animals creates an increase in socialization, level of fitness, and mental stimulation.

Do you have a loving dog who would make an amazing therapy dog? Therapy animals must absolutely adore human contact and excessive petting. Additionally, they must be comfortable staying one place regardless of whether it is the floor or a lap. No tricks are necessary, however, ability to follow basic obedience commands is a must. But the thing that distinguishes an ideal therapy dog is a gentle, loving and patient temperament.

If your dog fits the above description, you may not even need to undergo therapy dog training. To test them out, at our facility in Northern Virginia, we do the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen Testing and perform the tests with your dog before doing a formal evaluation. If they can successfully achieve all the objectives, head straight to evaluation!  We are certified Therapy Dog Trainers/Evaluators through TPU (Therapy Pets Unlimited). We provide extensive training to handlers and therapy dogs before pursuing certification.

Once you and your dog have undergone your necessary training, you must head to an evaluation. There are a few organization that only requires submission of a copy of AKC Canine Good Citizen certification and your application, however, a majority of organizations also require testing by members of their own organization. The evaluation includes your dog’s ability to accept a friendly stranger, sit politely for petting, an evaluation of appearance (is your dog well groomed), ability to stay in one place, and a few more skills. As the handler, throughout the evaluation, you will not expected to stand by as your dog performs skills. You should act proactively, as you would on the job, by foreseeing any misconduct. For example, if you enter a room with another dog, gently tell your dog there isn’t a need to bark rather than doing nothing or trying to calm them down after they’ve begun barking.

After you pass your test, you are required to submit a health evaluation done by your vet. The once you’ve register your therapy animal organization, you will officially have therapy dog certification and can serve your community freely!

If you are interested in your dog becoming a Certified Therapy dog, please contact us at or 571-252-5536


-Nick White
Off Leash K9 Training

How do you go about training a German Shepherd in Northern Virginia?


If you live in Northern Virginia, own a German Shepherd and would like to get it trained, there are various competent options available to you in the State. 

Training Issues

The common issues faced by German Shepherd owners are jumping, pulling on the leash, hyper-activity and mouthing, there is a possibility of private classes in dog training in Northern Virginia. Our private classes are useful as they teach the dog on how to behave when there are distractions. The owners are given full support and guidance from our skilled staff at our Northern Virginia dog training facility. They will look after various issues that involve mouthing, nipping or housebreaking.

The centers for German Shepherd training in Northern Virginia will teach your dog important words such as ‘Sit Down’, ‘Come’, ‘Place’ and ‘Heel’. This gives a solid foundation to the training base and it motivates socialization during the playtime of your German Shepherd dog. During the course of basic obedience while training, they will show the dog appropriate behaviour that is required for it to become a member of your family that can also be well-mannered. It will be shown how not to pull on the leash. It will also be taught the basics of how to be polite when instructed to `meet and greet’.

Care during Training

German Shepherds will generally take to growing up as guard dogs in a natural way. It is critical that they should be taught how to be obedient to their masters. They are natural watch dogs and their bark is enough to caution you. The type of bark will also alert you whether it is something standard or unusual. Training a German Shepherd is a matter of high concern and enough care should be taken to check that there are no misguided attempts to make the dog more aggressive. This can happen through abuse or lack of soclialization and it may backfire as the dog is not likely to be kind to the person who is treating him or her roughly. If training is not given properly, the dogs may become fearful and go out of control. They will also not respond correctly in situations that are actually non-threatening.

It is, therefore, important, for the German Shepherd dog in Northern Virginia to get trained in a friendly environment and learn to be well-socialized, clear-headed, and obedient!

See over 50+ German Shepherds we have trained at our facility in Northern Virginia: or

Northern Virginia Based Dog Trainer Sets Second World Record


Northern Virginia Dog World Record Holder

Celebrity dog trainer in Northern Virginia, Nicholas White, who is the owner of globally recognized dog training business, Off Leash K9 Training, set his second world record for the most off leash commands performed in just 5 days of training; during his private 5-day training program in Baton Rouge, LA with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns, White spent over 40 hours working with Molly and Burns – setting a new world record for 14 commands outside and off leash in just 5 days, 
according to the World Record Academy. During his private 5-day training program in Baton Rouge, LA with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns, Celebrity dog trainer Nicholas White White spent over 40 hours working with Molly and Burns - setting a new world record for 14 commands outside and off leash in just 5 days.

  Photo: During his private 5-day training program in Baton Rouge, LA with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns, Celebrity dog trainer Nicholas White White spent over 40 hours working with Molly and Burns – setting a new world record for 14 commands outside and off leash in just 5 days. (enlarge photo)

Celebrity dog trainer, Nicholas White, who is the owner of globally recognized dog training business, Off Leash K9 Training, set his second world record for the most off leash commands performed in just 5 days of training.

During his private training in Baton Rouge, LA with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns; during White’s 5-day training program, White spent over 40 hours working with Molly and Burns – setting a new world record for 14 commands outside and off leash in just 5 days.

All commands listed below:
1. Come
2. Sit
3. Down
4. Focused Heeling
5. Place
6. Send Away
7.Down From A Distance
8. Watch
9. Stand
10. Heel Command (going to left leg on command)     11.Through Command (going between legs)
12. Touch
13. Sit In Motion
14. Down In Motion

With Molly being a high drive and high energy Malinois, White said that teaching her the “watch” command was the most difficult command to teach her. “Watch” requires a lot of attention and focus from a dog, which is more difficult for high energy dogs.

“Molly was afraid of loud noises, so we spent a lot of time working with her to get her over her fear of fireworks and loud noises.”

On the Net: 
Off-Leash K9 Training’s website

Off-Leash K9 Training’s Facebook page

“The average dog would take weeks or more to be able to master 14 commands outside, off leash, with distractions. An amazing training system; combined with consistency, time, reinforcement, and a highly intelligent dog, Molly was able to master these in only 5 days.

Molly’s owner, Paul Burns, said, “I truly cannot believe everything Molly has mastered in such a short amount of time.”

Northern Virginia Dog Trainer Sets World Record in Obedience

Northern Virginia Dog World Record Holder

Northern Virginia based Celebrity dog trainer, Nicholas White, who is the owner of globally recognized dog training business, Off Leash K9 Training, set a new world record for the longest documented extended down with voice command only; this record was set after only 5 days of working with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns – setting the new world record for the Longest Down From A Distance with Voice Command, according to the World Record Academy.

 Celebrity dog trainer, Nicholas White, who is the owner of globally recognized dog training business, Off Leash K9 Training, set a record for the longest documented extended down with voice command only. This record was set after only 5 days of working with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns- setting the new world record for the Longest Down From A Distance with Voice Command. Photo: Celebrity dog trainer, Nicholas White, who is the owner of globally recognized dog training business, Off Leash K9 Training, set a record for the longest documented extended down with voice command only. This record was set after only 5 days of working with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns- setting the new world record for the Longest Down From A Distance with Voice Command. Photo courtesty: Nicholas White (enlarge photo)

 The Guinness World Records’ record for the largest dog ‘wedding’ ceremony was achieved by 178 dog pairs who sealed their marriage with a bark on the notes of the wedding march at the “Bow Wow Vows event” organised by the Aspen Grove Lifestyle Center in Littleton, United States, on 19 May 2007. The ceremony was unofficial and has no legal value but the participants were issued a complimentary wedding ‘certificate’.

Guinness World Records also recognized the world record for the fastest time for a dog to cover 5 m on its front legs; it is 7.76 sec and was achieved by “Jiff” (USA) at TOPS Kennels, Grayslake, Illinois, USA on 9 September 2013.

Celebrity dog trainer, Nicholas White, who is the owner of globally recognized dog training business, Off Leash K9 Training, set a new world record for the longest documented extended down with voice command only.

This record was set after only 5 days of working with Belgian Malinois Molly and her owner Paul Burns – setting the new world record for the Longest Down From A Distance with Voice Command.

 “It was very exciting to take a dog from knowing nothing to setting an obedience world record in less than 5 days,” White said.

“It was very difficult to take a dog who knew nothing to having them set an obedience distance world record in less than 5 days. At a distance of over 350 yards, you can barely see the dog, and can barely hear the command.
We were worried that the dog would not be able to hear the command given. It was very exciting to see our hours of training pay off.

On the Net:
Off-Leash K9 Training’s website

Off-Leash K9 Training’s Facebook page

“We decided to set this record in order to show people throughout the world that regardless of the obedience issues you are having, your dog can be amazing with proper training, physical stimulation, mental stimulation, and consistency.

Non-Visible Underground Dog Fence Installation in Northern Virginia

invisible fence installation in northern virginia


On a daily basis, we install underground dog fences all throughout Northern Virginia.

We are an official Dog Guard® Installer and Distributor, all of our installs and equipment are backed by a lifetime warranty, as well!

An underground fence is an electronic system to stop pets from departing a yard.  A buried wire is energized with coded signals and an electronic collar on the pet receives these signals.  Once the pet approaches the buried wire, the collar makes a warning sound then it provides the pet with a harmless electrical stimulation.

The underground wire is buried about 5 inches into the ground and it emits a radio signal to activate the receiver collar.

Although referred to as “fences”, these fenceless boundary systems are more accurately termed dog or pet containment systems. In cost analysis they have shown to be much cheaper and more aesthetically pleasing than physical fences.

On average, you can have us install a non-visible fence on your property for about 1/4 of the cost of a traditional fence.

For more information, visit our website at:




My Dog Hates Having His Nails Cut or Collar Touched

Dog hates nails cut northern virginiaOn a daily basis we hear stories about dogs who hate having their feet touched or their nails cut, this is generally due to the owners or breeders not doing “body desensitization” with their pups at a young age.

If you have a new pup, it’s highly important for you to do body desensitization drills with this pup starting as soon as you get him/her (8-weeks old).

There are 11 key “target” points that you need to focus on:
1-2: Left Ear and Right Ear
3: Muzzle (open the mouth, check teeth, grab muzzle, etc)
4-7: All 4 paws and nails
8: Neck (collar area)
9: Tail
10. Hugging the dog
11. Brushing the dog

We have dealt with a ridiculous amount of dogs who are collar and feet sensitive and reactive; seemingly, these are the two biggest areas where we have seen this issue. In THIS VIDEO, you will see a 6-year old Basset Hound who I just finished giving a private seminar for who was very “feet aggressive.” These owners were not at fault for this, due to the fact that they rescued the dog at a later age; however, whoever the breeder was (or original owners) are generally responsible for this behavior.

I would say on a weekly basis at our dog training facility in Northern Virginia, we deal with at least 1 dog who is collar reactive; meaning, it is a dog who is friendly but will react negatively if his collar is touched or handled. The main reason that these target points can be an issue is that a child (or stranger) who sees that your dog is “friendly” will not know that these specific areas “set them off.” If this happens, you may be left with an “unexpected bite,” I would HIGHLY recommend clicking that link and reading my blog on how dogs almost never bite “unexpectedly.”

So, what’s the solution to prevent this?

It’s so ridiculously simple to prevent, that it annoys me that dogs become reactive! When you get your puppy, immediately begin doing these 11 key things above on a DAILY basis (and even multiple times per day).

This is how it should break down for you and your pup:
Touch and hold the left paw, praise or treat.
Touch and hold the right paw, praise or treat.
Touch and hold the back left paw, praise or treat.
Touch and hold the back right paw, praise or treat.
Touch and hold the left ear, praise or treat.
Touch and hold the right ear, praise or treat.
Stroke the tail, praise or treat.
Rub around the collar area, praise or treat.
Rub around the muzzle area, praise or treat.
Hug and hold the dog for a few seconds, praise or treat.
Give the dog a light brushing, praise or treat.

If you did this simple drill on a daily basis, not only will your dog NOT become reactive but they will LOVE you doing these things! Why? Because your dog has associated you touching these areas with a reward and/or verbal praise (or even both).

This routine LITERALLY takes about 20-30 seconds to complete; therefore, there are really no excuses as to why you should not be doing this with your pup. Simple things such as these when combined with picking the right dog, socialization, and confidence building, will help ensure that you have a stable and confident pup.

If you do these 11 things with your pup: your vet, your groomer, and everyone who meets your dog will love you for it.

-Nick White
Off Leash K9 Training

My Dog Is Aggressive Towards People: Trainers Dealing with Aggression in Northern Virginia

Dog Trainers for People Aggression

At our Northern Virginia dog behavior training facility, we deal with dogs who are aggressive towards people on a regular basis.

One thing that everyone asks is, “Can you fix my people aggressive dog?” That’s a very tricky question to answer until we really start working with your dog.

First, you must understand WHY your dog has aggression towards people: abused at a young age, lack of socialization at a young age, or bad breeding (genetic predisposition)?

I would say about 90% of the cases is lack of proper socialization at a young age; unfortunately, this is sad because this is the EASIEST and most preventable thing to do with your dog (that is 100% free and cost-free). We will discuss proper socialization and desensitizing your dog to “trigger points” in a different blog.

We (as in Off Leash K9 Training) do have a classification system that tells us the likelihood of being able to completely fix (or address) your dog’s people’s aggression.

We base this system NOT on the number of incidents your dog has had, but the “severity” of the incidents. This is the grading scale assuming that your dog has no medical issue.

Level 1 Aggression:
-Growls and barks at people, but has never actually put teeth on a person.

Level 2 Aggression:
-Growls, barks (not necessary), and has put teeth on someone but has never actually punctured a person’s skin

Level 3 Aggression:
-Growls, barks (not necessary), and has left 1-3 shallow puncture marks on someone. *Shallow punctures meaning not deeper than half the length of the dog’s K9 teeth*

Level 4 Aggression:
-Growls, barks (not necessary) and has left 1-4 deep puncture wounds in a single bite. *Deep punctures meaning deeper than half the length of the dog’s K9 teeth*

Level 5 Aggression:
-Growls, barks (not necessary) and has left multiple Level 4-type wounds on a person.

Level 6 Aggression:
-Has severely wounded a person (long hospital stay due to the dog bite) and/or even killing a person.

Dealing with Level 1 and 2 Aggression: This is the easiest type of aggression. At our K9 Training facility in Northern Virginia, we work with this on a daily basis. We are almost always able to completely fix this, give your dog amazing obedience, higher confidence, and stop their reactivity to people. What this tells us is that your dog may be reactive towards people; he/she has learned GREAT bite inhibition (which we will talk about in another blog).

Dealing with Level 3 Aggression: This is still very workable from a training and “fixability” perspective. We have a lot of steps that we will go over with you in order to get this issue fixed and bring the level down until it’s a level zero. This means that your dog has SOME bite inhibition.

Dealing with Level 4 Aggression: This is where it starts to get a little tricky. This is where we will ask about the specific situation and story behind the bites. Generally, with a level 4 aggression biter, it is workable with the family and people living with the dog (assuming the dog did this with someone in the family). Generally, would not recommend this dog interacting with anyone outside of the people working directly with the dog on a daily basis. This is a dog who has A LITTLE bite inhibition.

Dealing with Level 5 Aggression: Okay, at this point, you have a dog that we would classify as a dangerous dog. Your dog has NO bite inhibition whatsoever, and we would say that they are not be trusted around people.

Dealing with Level 6 Aggression: Your dog is a VERY dangerous dog and training would not help whatsoever. Your dog could never be trusted around anyone and would recommend this dog being put down for public safety.

So, if you have a dog in the level 1-3 zone, this is definitely workable, trainable, and more than likely completely fixable.

We would say that level 4 can generally be managed and controlled and a good possibility of fixing this behavior.

If you have a level 5 biter, we would never trust this dog around people; however, we can give you control over the dog. Depending on your specific situations with a level 5, depends on what course of action should be taken with this dog.

If you have a level 6 biter, training would not even be a viable option for your situation.

Hopefully this blog on dealing with your people aggressive dog will help you in having realistic expectations from training. Also, it will help you realize exactly how severe your issue really is from a professional training standpoint.

If you are at a level 1, 2, 3, or 4, I would HIGHLY recommend getting training as soon as possible, as it is very possible (with time) for your dog to move up the aggression scale.

I would also recommend reading our other blog on dealing with people aggression.

-Nick White
Off Leash K9 Training

Dog Boarding and Training in Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia Dog Board and Train

We have the highest rated board and train program for your dog in Northern Virginia. In fact, Northern Virginia Magazine named us “Best Dog Trainers of 2014, 2015, and 2016!

We have people come from all throughout the US for our board and training program! As you will see, our client list includes: Actor Ryan Reynolds, John Cena, WWE Star Daniel Bryan, NBA Star John Wall, UFC World Champion Jon “Bones” Jones, MLB Star Pitcher Max Scherzer,  National’s Pitcher Gio Gonzalez, Nationals star Jayson Werth, UFC’s Rashad Evans,  Model Marissa Fraering, Actress Carolyn Stotesberry, World Champion Boxer Roy Jones Jr, UFC Announcer Bruce Buffer, film star Ron Jeremy, 3x UFC Champion Rich “Ace” Franklin, WWF World Champion Iron Sheik, Kane Hodder (“Jason” from the Friday the 13th movies), the staff from the hit show “Operation Repo,” and Elliot’s dog from Elliot in the Morning on DC 101!  You can see them and many more on the testimonials page of our website.

While your dog is in our 2-week board and train program, we spend over 50+ hours of “actual” training time working with your dog! As you can see on our YouTube channel, we have over 600+ before/after videos of board and trains alone (1600+ videos total).

While your dog is training with us, they are worked countless hours with dogs, noises, people, objects, and vehicles. You can see all of these various distractions implemented in our board and train videos.

While here, your dog will be near flawless in the following 8 commands:
Heeling (on and off leash)
Extended Down

In addition to these things, we also can address all common and most specific behavior issues, as well; jumping, excessive barking, counter-surfing, mouthing, door manners, etc.

While your pup is going through our training program, we send you daily update videos so you can actually see your dog’s daily progress in our training program!

When you pick your dog up from our training facility, we do a 3-hour turnover with you! The dog already has the commands mastered, now it’s YOUR turn to master our state-of-the-art training system! During these 3 hours, we will break down everything your dog does 1 command at-a-time.

Essentially, our breakdown is demo’ing the command for your (for example; come and sit). We do it 5-6 times, then we have you do it numerous times. Then, we tell you how it’s possible for your dog to mess up the command, and we show and explain to you how to correct it. Then, we literally TRY to get your dog to mess up the command, so we can give you a real example of what it all looks like. Many people are very surprised to find that while doing a turnover, sometimes we CANNOT get your dog to mess up! Although, we really try, so you can see what the correction process looks like.

Once you have a firm understanding of that command and how it works, then we move on to the second command and repeat the above-stated process.

After we go through all of these commands, then we take you and your dog outside and off leash (realistic environment) and have you practice all of these commands with your dog.

Finally, at the end we have YOU to give US a demo with your dog (essentially like an “after” video on our Youtube channel). This is your final test for you to prove to us (and yourself) that you full understand how to maintain your dog’s amazing obedience and behavior.

Additionally, with our 2-week board and train program, we offer a free refresher class for LIFE. If at anytime your dog starts to not do well on a command, you bring them back in and we do a refresher with you.

The Difference Between a Service Dog and Therapy Dog in Northern Virginia

At our dog training in Northern Virginia, we always get asked about Service Dog Training or Therapy Dog Training. Many do not realize the difference between these two types of training.

Canines might be prepared to perform numerous activities to help handlers or other individuals to handle a few troubles. There are no less than two sorts of prepared dogs which are deliberately trained to serve certain capacities relying upon the needs of the handlers; the main ones are therapy dogs and service dogs.

They are comparable in a few viewpoints, additionally distinctive in numerous things. A few associations (TDI, Delta, etc) give expert trainers to prepare both types of dogs for the individuals who need them. Since each one serves diverse capacities, the preparation strategies are coherently distinctive, as well.

Underneath you will discover the breakdown of both types of dogs along with the contrasts between them.

Therapy Dog:

Therapy dogs are prepared to visit open offices, for example, doctor’s facilities and schools or wherever dog comfort and aid is wanted. They are ready to support or empower individuals, for example, patients or kids with handicaps. With a therapy dog, the dogs are not trained to perform certain exercises or tasks “just” for the handler.

In the broadest sense, the dogs urge individuals to manage challenges, illnesses, anxiety, and other mental/mental conditions.

It is widely accepted that when patients pet dogs, their condition could be fundamentally improved. They have also been used to diminish uneasiness before specialists perform surgical operations.

Other than nursing homes and hospitals, therapy dogs regularly visit nursing homes and pediatric offices. They are typically obedient and significantly calm when they are in new environments.

Therapy dogs are always happy and open to having strangers pet them. Now and again, therapy dogs need to experience odd sights, smells, and noises. That is why proper training such as our Therapy Dog Development Course is necessary to prepare them for these things. On the other hand, you (the handler) also needs to know how to handle your dog in these situations.

Service Dogs

Service dogs are prepared just to help the handler to perform a few daily exercises and tasks. These dogs frequently go hand in hand with veterans, injured warriors, elderly, or individuals with fractional incapacities. Much of the time, each dog is specifically trained dependent upon the necessities of the handler.

Service dogs generally go anyplace the handler goes. Most people (and some businesses) do not realize that these dogs are permitted to go just about anywhere: restaurants, houses of worship, libraries, transportation (airport, bus, taxi), and that’s just the beginning. According to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), Service Dogs are permitted to go “anywhere” that humans are allowed to go. This is one major difference between Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs.

A service dog is trained to perform activities to help just the handler. For example, a service dog who is owned by an individual enduring leg damage should be prepared to perform principal tasks, for example, standing next to the handler to provide stability (own can lean on the dog, etc). Another example of a service dog is a diabetic detection dog. It is specifically trained to let the handler know when he/she have hit a dangerous blood sugar level. Again, “trained to perform a specific task.”


The biggest distinction is that service dog is deliberately prepared to help JUST the handler. The dog can do different tasks to help the handler perform every day exercises, while a therapy dog is intended to be everyone’s pet.

An alternate significant distinction is that therapy dogs could be from any breed, while service dogs are generally Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds.

Therapy dogs are just permitted to visit offices where they are invited, while service dogs can go anyplace the handler goes.

I would also recommend reading my blog on, “Fake Service Dogs of America.”