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. Most will be trained for only one specialty, though "combination" dogs do exist.
- Service dogs are not specifically trained for visual or hearing impairment, but may have specific roles such as mobility assistance dogs, medical alert dogs, and psychiatric service dogs.
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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- Assistance animal
- Autism service dog
- Dogs for the Disabled (in the UK)
- Medical response dog
- Mobility assistance dog
- Psychiatric service dog
- Seizure dog
- Therapy dog
- Working dog
- Service Dogs and More - A large print site about Assistance Dogs
- Assistance Dogs International
- Delta Society's National Service Animal Resource Center
- DMOZ Open Directory Project: Service Dogs
- International Association of Assistance Dog Partners
- Service Dog Central (includes guide and hearing dogs as well)
- Please Don't Pat Me Australia (information about Australian Assistance Dogs including guide, hearing, medical, psychiatric assistance dogs and the relevant laws and minimum training standards required)