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West Los Angeles is the primary area of service for our Dog Obedience
Training School,
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Private Lessons,
Behavior Modification

We offer our dog training and puppy training services throughout the
Los Angeles area from San Fernando Valley to South Bay.

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What's the difference between a Service Dog, Therapy Dog, and Emotional Support Dog?


Many people confuse the terms "therapy dog" and "service dog." Christy Hill has written an article on this and graciously allowed Doggie Manners to publish it here.

Please note that
Doggie Manners can help you in *training* your dog.
We do not certify dogs.

***Please DO NOT CALL
with any questions about certification
or any legal issues
other than training your dog.

Doggie Manners does NOT certify dogs.
Contact Christy Hill,
whose contact information is at the end of this article
for additional information.

Click here for the new ADA
(Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements.


California Penal Code:
365.7. (a) Any person who knowingly and fraudulently represents himself or herself, through verbal or written notice, to be the owner or trainer of any canine licensed as, to be qualified as, or identified as, a guide, signal, or service dog, as defined in subdivisions (d), (e), and (f) of Section 365.5 and paragraph (6) of subdivision (b) of Section 54.1 of the Civil Code, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars($1,000), or by both that fine and imprisonment.

provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, or mental instutions. They are certified through various programs like Delta Society www.deltasociety.org, Therapy Dog International www.tdi-dog.org, and TherapyDog Inc. www.therapydogs.com. These organizations have certifiers throughout the country. Therapy dogs need to take and pass a certifying test and then can be approved to go to a hospital, nursing home, etc. where they visit patients or residents.

But -- Therapy Dogs also are used in therapy. Like physical therapy for someone that needs to use their hands more and can brush the dog or throw balls for movement etc. In addition, once a dog is certified, that doesn't mean a hospital will automatically accept them. Some hosptials have their own interview process.

A Service Dog (also called an Assistance Dog) is a dog that is individually task trained to assist a disabled person who has a legal and qualifying disability -- blind, deaf, mobility, etc. A Service dog is an accommodation under law for the disabled person. Under the American's with Disabilities Act, a disabled person has the legal right to bring an individually trained service dog into public.

Service dogs are NOT Therapy Dogs and Therapy Dogs are NOT Service Dogs. However a Service Dog can be a Therapy Dog if the handler chooses to do that type of work. A Therapy dog is NOT a dog that is trained to do service dog tasks for one individual that is disabled. If a Therapy Dog handler is not disabled under the American's with Disabilities Act, they do not have any legal rights to take their dog into public.

If a dog is being trained as a service dog, puppy raisers and trainers for service dogs can bring these dogs into public places under STATE law. Not all states allow dogs in training or trainers to bring service dogs into public. The ADA only covers disabled individuals -- NOT trainers.

IF someone is disabled under the ADA and wants to train their own dog, there are some programs that will help people train their own dogs along with some private trainers. The key is the person not going through a program will have to take meticulous records of their dog's training because in case they ever have to go to court, they will have to prove their dog is individually trained. They also have to prove in court they are disabled.

There is no certification for assistance dogs other than what a program gives their graduates. Certification is not required by law. This was to give the disabled commuity freedom to have their service dog and not be bothered by being interviewed every store, restaurant or public place. Unfortuately, this freedom has given a loophole for many non-disabled people to fake that they have a disability and bring their pet dog into public. They may think this is just an innocent act but do not realize the trouble that it has caused many disabled, especially those disabled
individuals who have a hidden disability. Those with psychiatric disabilities now have to
disclose their status because of people pretending to have a disability.

Many assistance dog partners fear that it will become mandatoroy for all assistance dog handlers to get certified through some body that has yet to be developed. This will cause a huge hardship on those who choose not to get a program dog.

Even though this contradicts the federal Ameican's with Disabilities Act, California has passed a law that assistance dogs must get a service dog tag. This was initiated by businesses that couldn't tell the difference between someone passing their dog off as a service dog and someone who had a hidden disability and had a service dog.

Housing is a different matter depending as they accept Emotional Support Dogs. ADA does NOT accept emotional support dogs.

By definition, an Emotional Support Dog is not a service dog and is only supported under Fair Housing Laws. They do not get public access with the ADA. The airlines do recognize emotional support dogs, but you have to have a doctor's note for the airlines.

Emotional support is not a task-trained dog. They just emotionally support the person. They are essentially "comfort" dogs. They provide support for those who may have a psychiatric disability.

For guidelines for evaluating only public access, The Assistance Dog International www.assistancedoginternational.org. has the PAT (Public Access Test).

Christy Hill, Founder of San Diego Assistance Dog Support Club,
can give you information on assistance dogs.
Please email her at

If you would like to certify your dog as a Service Dog, then please read this article first

If you would like to learn more about Service Dogs and Housing, read this article.

You may also be interested in this Yahoo Discussion group.

Just a reminder --

Doggie Manners can help you in *training* your dog.
We do not certify dogs.

***Please DO NOT CALL
with any questions about certification
or any legal issues
other than training your dog.

Contact Christy Hill. Thank you!


Training is easy when you do it right©
Start with a phone call to 1-877-7-DOGGIE today.
(1-877-736-4443 toll free)

All material and code on this site is copyrighted.
Please respect the copyright of Doggie Manners Los Angeles Dog & Puppy Training.
© Caryl Wolff 2001-2010



Caryl Wolff

is the *only*
dog trainer
in the world who is concurrently certified or endorsed by these organizations, having passed their examination requirements.

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants

iaabc certified dog trainer member


National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors

National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors


Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers

Certification Council for Pet Dog Trainers


American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Evaluator

Certified Dogs & Storks Presenter

Puppy Evaluator

akc star puppy



She also is a professional member of these dog training organizations.

Association of
Pet Dog Trainers

Association of Pet Dog Trainers


International Association of Canine Professionals

IACP professional dog trainer


Association of
Animal Behavior Professionals

Association of Animal Behavior Professionals