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An assistance dog is a dog trained to aid or assist a person with a disability. Many are trained by a specific organization, while others are trained by their handler (sometimes with the help of a professional trainer).
There are three general "types" in which an assistance dog may be further classified. Most assistance dogs will be trained for only one of these, though "combination" dogs do exist.
- Service dogs refers to dogs not specifically trained for visual or hearing impairment, but trained to do other work, such as mobility assistance dogs, seizure alert dogs or other medical alert dogs, and psychiatric service dogs. In the United States, the term "service dog" may be used synonymously with "assistance dog," and is occasionally used for other types of working dogs as well. These dogs can in some instances be dual classified as Therapy Dogs. Also any of the above named dogs "in training" are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act (ADAA, which expanded some legal protections), even if the handler at the time is not "using" the dog in the capacity for which it is being trained. In most of the rest of the world a distinct separation between service dogs and assistance dogs is observed.
See also 
- Assistance animal
- Autism service dog
- Dogs for the Disabled (in the UK)
- Medical response dog
- Mobility assistance dog
- Psychiatric service dog
- Seizure dog
- Service Dogs and More - A large print site about Assistance Dogs
- Assistance Dogs International
- Christy Hill's Assistance Dog page no longer exists, please go to her business page
- Delta Society's National Service Animal Resource Center
- DMOZ Open Directory Project: Service Dogs
- International Association of Assistance Dog Partners
- Service Dog Central (includes guide and hearing dogs as well)
- (Online Registration For Your Dogs)