Your team’s toolkit for working, assistance, and therapy dogs
Working dogs aren’t your average patients. When dogs with special jobs and their handlers enter your practice, they require special consideration.
It can be hard to know where to start, so AAHA created the 2021 AAHA Working, Assistance, and Therapy Dogs Guidelines toolkit, which includes a simple breakdown of the types of working dogs—for example, what distinguishes a service dog from an emotional support or therapy dog—and tips for technicians and CSRs to make working dog visits as seamless and stress-free as possible for everyone.
Here’s a peek at what your team can get out of the toolkit:
Learn the difference between types of working, assistance, and therapy dogs
Terms like “working dog” and “therapy dog” get thrown around a lot, but does your team know the difference? The toolkit features a handy guide with pictures and short descriptions to get everyone on the same page.
Get tips for techs
When one person on your team becomes a champion for working, assistance, and therapy dogs, they can share that wisdom with the rest of the staff and offer guidance when one of these special dogs comes in for an appointment. The toolkit and full guidelines include things the team might not think of immediately—for example, the risk of using olfaction-affecting medications in detection dogs.
Have a plan for working with “working” dogs
You may not need to train your team on how to handle all types of working, assistance, and therapy dogs, but you never know when your practice might get a call or have one of them show up unexpectedly in need of care. The toolkit can get you started on a contingency plan.
2021 AAHA Working, Assistance, and Therapy Dogs Guidelines toolkit (PDF)
2021 AAHA Working, Assistance, and Therapy Dogs Guidelines
AAHA Working Dogs History Checklist (PDF)
Healthcare Recommendations for Protection, Detection, Assistance, and Therapy Dogs (PDF)
Graphics courtesy of AAHA
The 2021 AAHA Working, Assistance, and Therapy Dog Guidelines toolkit is made possible with generous support from Merck Animal Health.
Disclaimer: The views expressed, and topics discussed, in any NEWStat column or article are intended to inform, educate, or entertain, and do not represent an official position by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) or its Board of Directors.