Many people confuse service dogs with therapy dogs, but they play two completely different roles that require nearly opposite characteristics.
Service dogs are one dog for one person and perform specific tasks to help that person cope with a disability. Therapy dogs are one dog for everyone—they bring cheer and comfort to hospital patients, assisted living center and nursing home residents, homeless families, and students.
Service dogs must be handler-focused, desensitized to distractions, and highly trained to do specific tasks. They should not be distracted by the public, as they should focus solely on their owner when working. For service dogs, training can last up to two years before they are placed with a client. Service dogs typically wear a vest that identifies them as a service dog and asks the public not to pet them.
Therapy dogs should be friendly and outgoing, yet calm and obedient and socialized to a variety of people, places, and things. Therapy dogs need to be trained in basic manners and obedience, and are required to take continuing education workshops. Therapy dogs and their owners provide opportunities for petting and affection in a variety of settings on a volunteer basis.
Please visit: Alaska Service Dogs