Nearly everyday, I hear how a teacher or a medical professional would like to train their dog so that they can take their dog to work with them. Therapy dogs are NOT for this purpose. The ONLY dog that has public access is a Service Dog trained specifically for an individual with a disability. Both Facility and Service Dogs are trained by a service dog provider and/or dog training professional. Service Dogs have Public Access to everywhere, Facility Dogs only have access to the public facility that they work in. Facility dogs unlike therapy dogs are trained similarly to service dogs and are often times dogs that did not pass the service dog level of training. Facility dogs can be found in memory care units, nursing homes, schools, funeral homes and as a child advocate in a judicial chamber. Facility dogs are usually owned by an individual and taken to their job every day, remain with their owner at all times and then go home when the owner leaves. Facility dogs are not caged under your desk while you work at your desk all day, they are a working dog and should be treated with the respect they deserve. Facility dogs, like service dogs, work all day.
Therapy dogs on the other hand, do not work all day. If you are taking a class to volunteer with an organization to become a registered therapy dog team, then the most you should volunteer in one day with your dog is two hours! This is because your dog has not been preconditioned to the long term effects of stress from working all day, nor were they chosen to do so. Even a therapy dog needs a break and should take a break every half hour even if it is just to go outside to sniff the air. You probably will need one too.
What to think about before taking your dog to work: Do you have insurance to cover your dog while at your workplace or will your employer cover it? If your dog bites someone or knocks over a piece of expensive equipment who is responsible? Is your dog well-behaved and capable of passing a public access test should you be asked to by your employer? Have you taken the steps to get your dog evaluated by a professional dog trainer for working in public? These are all important and valid questions you should think about before taking your dog to work with you. Canine pets should be comfortable and happy in the environment where they work. If they enjoy their work, you will enjoy the work of helping others too. Be conscious that your dog is more sensitive to the stress around him than you are and be your dogs advocate.
For more information on Assistance Dogs International and Public Access Tests see below. http://www.assistancedogsinternational.org/standards/public-access-test/