Many people confuse the term Therapy Dog with Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal.

A therapy dog provides affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, people with learning difficulties, and stressful situations, such as disaster areas. Institutions may invite, limit, or prohibit access to therapy dogs. If allowed, these institutions will have their own requirements for therapy animals. But it's important to know that therapy dogs and their handlers have no legal rights.

Therapy dogs are not service animals. A service animal has a skill, which directly reduces the effect of a physical or psychiatric disability and so can legally accompany their disabled handler anywhere they can legally go. In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 legally protect service animals. As therapy dogs do not provide direct assistance they are not protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Additionally therapy dogs are not protected by the laws which grant access to Emotional Support Animals.

Under U.S. law, an emotional support animal is a pet that provides therapeutic benefits to its owner through companionship and affection. Two laws – one for fair housing; the other air travel – grant owners of emotional support animals certain rights to live and travel with their pet. 

Wolfkeeper University does not offer medical or legal advice, and cannot certify whether any given person will meet applicable legal and regulatory definitions. You can learn more about these requirements at FreeMyPaws.com


  1. Your dog needs to be evaluated by Wolfkeeper University. We must determine if you are ready to take the test or do you need to sign up for Group Classes, Private Lessons or Dog Camp in order to pass the test. The cost for this assessment is $200 and takes about 2 hours to complete. 
  2. If your dog can complete the 10 items listed below, then you can take the test and get your Therapy Dog Kit.
  3.  If your dog is not ready to test, you must complete your classes to perfect the necessary skills. 
  4.  Once your dog has passed the test, you'll need to purchase a Therapy Dog Kit. The cost of the kit is $200.00 and Toriano can assist you with the ordering. 
  5.  Once you receive your kit, you're ready to start bringing your dog everywhere in public.

Book Your Therapy Dog Assessment Now



Test 1: Accepting a Friendly Stranger

The dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation.

Test 2: Sitting Politely for Petting

The dog will allow a friendly stranger to pet it while it is out with its handler.

Test 3: Appearance and Grooming

The dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so.

Test 4: Out for a Walk (Walking on a Loose Lead)

The handler/dog team will take a short “walk” to show that the dog is in control while walking on a leash.

Test 5: Walking Through a Crowd

The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three) to demonstrate that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place

The dog will respond to the handler’s commands to 1) sit, 2) down and will 3) remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers).

Test 7: Coming when called

The dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog

Test 8: Reaction to another dog

To demonstrate that the dog can behave politely around other dogs, two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet.

Test 9: Reaction to Distraction

To demonstrate the dog is confident when faced with common distracting situations, the evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane.

Test 10: Supervised Separation

This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, “Would you like me to watch your dog?” and then take hold of the dog’s leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes.


You’ll need to bring your dog’s brush or comb to the Therapy test. In the test, dogs must wear a buckle collar or slip collar.