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With a therapy dog in training vest, would she be allowed in?

Question by laughing: With a therapy dog in training vest, would she be allowed in?

My girl is in training to be a therapy dog, and obviously it takes a lot of socialization. She’s well-mannered in public, we take her wherever we can, but she’ll be able to come more places with us if we prove that she IS a therapy dog, although she isn’t taking the test for a few more months, so she doesn’t have her I.D.

If we get her a vest with “therapy dog in training” on it, would she be allowed? Or do you need the actual I.D.? Because she really needs to get experience in busy places, not just at PetSmart or Home Depot.

Oh no, I’m not talking about WalMart or things with groceries. Only service dogs are allowed there. I’m talking about malls, and stores without food. They say they allow therapy dogs, for socialization, but I don’t know if they need the I.D. or if an in-training vest will do.
I think many of you are confused. I already have permission, but only if I have proof that she really is. Therefore I’m not “confusing the public” or wanting a “novelty” pet. I’m wanting to take her to see distractions, mass people, business, etc.

Best answer:

Answer by More Bored Collie
Therapy Dogs are NOT granted public access without an appointment!
A therapy dog is not permitted into a wal-mart, grocery store, mall or any other places that do not allow pets.
Therapy Dogs can ONLY go to places such as hospitals, care centres and schools when trained and certified and only when invited into the facility on an appointment.

Therapy Dog in training vest is worth jack all when trying to get into places she isn’t allowed it. Heck even a therapy dog ID will be useless

Service Dogs are granted public access, therapy dogs are not.

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  • I think the law only requires admission of dogs actually on duty but this is a good question for the folks you are training with.

  • I would think a phone call to the store manager for prior approval would be needed to help train, and you could always be outside a store with a dog, there are websites that sell the vests which maybe a headache saver for you.

  • Unfortunately vests can be bought by anyone. Not meaning you are not doing the actual training with your dog, but as someone else said, there is a website where you can order one. So, anyone can order.
    As for other places to take your dog…..Bass Pro allows pets. I have taken my Rottweilers in there many times. And, often seen other dogs, some very poorly mannered dogs in there, so…
    If mine did not have a good temperament, I would never consider taking them out in public. Unfortunately, some people don’t think of that.

    But, therapy dogs are different from service dogs, and therefore may not be allowed in the kind of places you want to take yours.

  • Woerden, just a minor correction. A service dog, per US federal law, MUST be allowed into every establishment in the country and this trumps any local laws. It’s a bit insane, but we had a case of a service horse being in a grocery store and that’s when I read the actual law. If someone has a GSD service dog and they want to take it into a small candle shop on the boardwalk, the owner must allow it. Insane but true.

    I do agree therapy dogs are a different status. In most places, as far as I know, they’re permitted entry only in cases where any dog is allowed.

    EDIT: Woerden, I don’t understand your comments. I clearly differentiated between service dogs and therapy dogs, correct? So why did you feel the need to “clear this up”?

  • Owners of therapy dogs, including therapy dogs in training, have no more rights to take their pets to places where pets aren’t permitted than anyone else. You’re confusing a therapy dog with a service dog, something entirely different.

    Many thousands of people socialize dogs just fine without passing them off as something they aren’t to get into places that don’t permit pets.

    Are you planning on doing therapy visits at the grocery store? Socialization is about meeting people and other animals,. not about going to as many places as possible. That, btw, is called habituation and is done so the dog learns to ignore distractions, including people so the dog will stay on task and perform tasks reliably.

    Slapping a cape on a pet to take it into stores where pets are not permitted in order to socialize it (get lots and lots of people to pet it), does a huge disservice to the people who actually do have the right to be accompanied by a dog in “no pets” places, ie disabled people using service animals. Why? Because you would be teaching the public to pester real service dog teams about wanting to pet their dog because that other person with a dog in a vest was really friendly and encouraged petting. You would be increasing the risks to people who depend on their dogs to ignore distractions and trust me, also making daily life harder for them. The number of people who toss tantrums at me because I ask them to leave my dog alone is sickening.

    You can get all the socializing you need at places where pets are permitted or where you have made arrangements ahead of time to visit with permission from the management. Do the right thing.


    Most stores, including malls, do not permit pets. If pets are not permitted, then therapy dogs are not permitted without prior permission from the business owner or manager. Simple answer: call and ask for permission. No need to confuse others on the differences between therapy dogs and service dogs by putting a vest on a dog you’d like to some day become a therapy dog.

    Why are registered therapy dogs permitted by some hospitals and nursing homes to visit? Because 1. They’ve proven their training and temperament though an independent, nationally standardized test, and 2. They carry $ 1 million in liability coverage in case something does go wrong. A therapy dog in training has neither of those things. And therapy dogs have no need to visit “no pet” places where they won’t even be working. Sit outside the mall. Everyone going in or out has to pass through the entrance/exit. If you really want to socialize and aren’t just looking for the novelty of taking a pet everywhere, then that’s the place to be.

    Therapy dog partners are supposed to be in it to help people. Please don’t hurt people by confusing the public about how to act around real service dogs.

  • Therapy dogs do not have the same rights as service dogs do, by federal law service dogs can go anywhere their owner is no matter what the breed I might add. Therapy dogs are not covered under that law. So no you can’t take the dog to those places, other than places that allow dogs. Therapy dogs are allowed in nursing homes, hospitals and other places that therapy is needed, that’s it.

  • where do you plan on taking her?

    Therapy dogs are NOT “service dogs” and are NOT allowed in restraunts, stores, etc.. vest or no vest. Therapy dogs are ONLY allowed in places like hospitals and nursing homes, and only during scheduled visits. Therapy dogs are still nothing more than pets.

    Talk to the local therapy dog group in your area, they may allow to come with them during scheduled visits to socialize.

    Otherwise, the only place your dog can socialize at is the same places you’d socialize any other pet dog.

  • hahahaha…Messykat… Ever thought of answering the asker’s question instead of commenting on other people’s comments? Not very nice when it happens to you, huh? No wonder you have so many thumbs down and so few Best Answers.

  • No. A “therapy dog” is legally classified as a pet and all pet laws still have to be followed. If, however, the establishment will allow one to bring in their well mannered pet, then you may do so. The best thing to do is to ask the establishment if you would be allowed to bring in your pet on an individual basis in order to train. Many may say “yes” while others may say “no”. If you have already asked and gotten permission, then the issue of a “vest” or “ID” becomes a moot point anyway…..they are already letting you do so without it.

    In reality, all the training a therapy dog needs can be done in places that are already dog friendly, with a little ingenuity and adaptation.

    But a “vest” or “ID” or whatever does not give a pet handler carte blanche to ignore the law.

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