Additional Definitions

Working Dogs

These are dogs that help people work and/or complete tasks.

These include dogs used by:

  • Armed Forces
  • Police, Fire, Park, and Security Departments
  • Governmental Agencies such as the FBI, Homeland Security, and TSA (airport)
  • Professional Search and Rescue Groups
  • Persons with Disabilities

Technically, dogs used in sports, therapy, obedience, conformation are not “working dogs.”   

Therapy Dogs

These are dog teams that have been approved by certain schools, libraries, healthcare institutions to help people feel or do better.

These dogs may be vested, but do not have public access under the Department of Justice (DOJ) Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) addressing Americans with Disabilities (ADA).

IMPORTANT: 

The term, “therapy dog” is being used in press and literature to describe dogs that have been trained to provide emotional support to adults and children with disabilities, such as autism, cerebral palsy, etc.  Unless these dogs assist the handler in performing activities of daily living, these dogs do not have access into public areas under federal regulations.

Emotional Support Dogs

Dogs, whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or promote emotional well-being.

These dogs do not have public access under the DOJ CFR for ADA access, but can be approved for housing by following guidelines per Housing and Urban Development and on air flights by adherence to guidelines per Federal Aviation Association.