Are Emotional Support Dogs Considered Service Dogs?

Service dogs are those that are trained to assist or carry out work for people with disabilities such as sensory, psychiatric, mental, and intellectual disability. Some of the tasks they perform include pulling a wheelchair, reminding someone to take medications, or even altering them of sound.

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According to the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Title II and Title III, comfort animals, therapy dogs, and emotional support animals are not service dogs. This is because service dogs only perform the tasks that are directly related to the person’s stability. Even if the doctor writes to a person that they need an emotional support dog, they still do not qualify to be called service dogs.

What is a service dog?

According to ADA, a service animal is a dog that has undergone training to enable it to assist people with disabilities. But the dog must also be related to the specific disability.

Service Dogs and the ADA

People with disabilities are usually unable to perform some routine tasks in their life. Therefore, they require service dogs that are trained to help them with specific tasks i.e. in the case of an autistic child from walking away or for a person with hearing loss, the dog will help notice if anyone is following him from behind.

According to the US Department of Justice, there are many questions about ADA and service animals. The department states that all agencies, businesses, and select NGOs should make some goods or services in such a way that people with disabilities will find it easier to use them. This also applied to the service dogs, and it states that even if a company does not allow dogs on its premises, then it should allow the service dogs as they are helpful to people with disabilities.

Emotional Dog

Emotional dogs, unlike service dogs, offer comfort to their owner just by being present. Since they offer comfort, they are not considered service dogs since this is not a necessity. Also, unlike the service dogs, they do not undergo any specialized training.

These dogs are ideal for people with emotional or psychological disabilities and are the best companions. If you are suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, depression, or other emotional and psychological conditions, then the law allows you to get an emotional dog. They are also used in therapy sessions to improve the intellectual and psychiatric disabilities of the owners.

Are Emotional Support Dogs Allowed Access to Public Areas?

Since emotional support dogs do not undergo professional training, they do not fall under the ADA category. The service dogs, on the other hand, are trained to perform some tasks and help people with disabilities. Therefore, since the emotional support dog does not enjoy ADA laws protection, they are not allowed to access public places such as hospitals, restaurants, and public theatres.

But they are allowing to stay in the apartments even for those with no dog policies, and you can board the plane with them. Emotional support dogs play an important role in individuals with emotional or psychiatric disabilities. However, they do not service animals and are therefore not permitted in some areas though you will still enjoy some rights and exceptions.

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Peter Newman

Peter Newman is the owner and editor for Puppy Leader. He has two dogs and loves to train them daily. Every day, Peter takes his dogs to the park and lets them run around and play together. He also trains them each day with different commands and tricks.