Assistance dog

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File:RovingRebel door.jpg
An assistance dog pressing a button to open an automatic door.

An assistance dog is a dog trained to aid or assist a person with a disability. Many are trained by a specific organization, others by their handler, sometimes with the help of a professional trainer.



Assistance dogs fall into three general types: Guide, Hearing, and Service.[1] Most will be trained for only one specialty, though "combination" dogs do exist.

Assistance Dog at food court at shopping mall.
Mobility assistance dog helping his handler stand up.

In the United States, the term "service dog" may be used synonymously with "assistance dog," and is occasionally used for other types of working dogs as well. These dogs can in some instances be dual classified as therapy dogs. Also any of the above named dogs "in training" are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act (ADAA, which expanded some legal protections), even if the handler at the time is not "using" the dog in the capacity for which it is being trained. In most of the rest of the world a distinct separation between service dogs and assistance dogs is observed.

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