Many people use the terms assistance, therapy and emotional support dogs interchangeably. They have very different legal definitions.
Emotional Support dogs: provides comfort, companionship, relieve loneliness and may help with depression, anxiety and getting out of the house. In other words, a pet dog. These dogs do not have specialised training and are not recognised by the law as Assistance Dogs. They do not have public access rights.
Therapy Dogs: provide affection and comfort to other people in designated facilities such as: nursing homes, schools, hospitals, counselling offices and disaster or crisis relief. These dogs must be well trained in obedience, even tempered and socialised to many different settings. The facility must grant the dog and handler special access. These dogs do not have public access rights.
Assistance Dogs (Service Dogs USA): are highly trained for an individual with a diagnosed disability to perform specific tasks in the home AND in public to reduce the symptoms of the disability of the handler. The tasks must be directly related to the person’s disability. In essence, the dog is a disability aid. These dogs do have public access rights under the ‘Disability Discrimination Act 1992’.