IACP Definitions Regarding Therapy Dogs

Animal-Assisted Interaction (AAI)

May also be referred to as Animal Assisted Intervention. A term used to refer to any or collectively to all the types of therapy team functions, i.e. AAA, AAT, PAT, crisis response.

Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) or Visitation

These are visits provided by a therapy animal team to clients or recipients but are not measured by a credentialed professional, such as a teacher, doctor, social worker, etc.

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT)

This utilizes the human/animal bond in goal-directed interventions as an integral part of the treatment process. A credentialed professional, working within the scope of practice of his/her practice, sets therapeutic goals, guides the interaction between patient and animal, measures progress toward meeting therapy goals, and evaluates the process. Please be aware that not all therapy dog group registrations include animal-assisted therapy. At the time of this writing, Therapy Dogs International and Therapy Dogs, Incorporated provide registration for visitation only.

Personal Assistance Therapy (PAT)

This modality introduces patients with disabilities to the benefits of service animals and the application process for obtaining a service animal. No longer limited to guiding people with visual impairments, service animals/service dogs perform a wide variety of tasks suitable as intervention for an equally wide assortment of limitations.

Therapy Dog Team

The handler and the dog have been trained to provide interactions such as visiting patients in hospitals and nursing homes, working with incarcerated individuals, assisting those in reading programs. These animals are considered pets and are not provided public access under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). T

Therapy Team Handler

This person has received training with the dog to provide animal assisted interactions.

Therapy Team Dog

The dog has received training with its handler to provide animal assisted interactions.

Emotional Support Dog

These dogs provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or promote emotional well-being. Emotional Support Animals do not have access to public areas as per ADA. However, this animal can get on an airplane with its handler as long as the handler provides FAA-required documentation and the animal is in its emotional support role for the flight and do have access to housing.

Service Dog In Training

These animals are in training to provide tasks for people with disabilities. These animals do not have access to public areas as per the federal ADA, but may have access defined under the laws of the state in which they are being trained. If the service animal in training access interferes with the provision of service or safety to the clients, the animal can be asked to leave, e.g., animal in training pulling to see the other clients in a place of business.

Service Animal

The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) defines a service animal as any dog specifically trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability in completing tasks of daily living. Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him/herself. If the service animal interferes with the provision of service or safety to the clients, the animal can be asked to leave, e.g., service animal growling at clients. Per the ADA, the term, “service animal” refers only to dogs and, in some cases, to miniature horses.

Questions? Please contact the Therapy Dog Committee at tdcmte@canineprofessionals.com.