There is a huge "grey area" about the difference between
a mobility service dog and a psychiatric service dog.
The truth is that
there is no difference between the two.

Both are considered service dogs as long as they perform at least
physical task for their partner. So, the only difference between
a mobility dog and a psych dog is the tasks they perform
to mitigate a person's disability whether mental or physical.

The law is clear about service dogs having to perform at least
1 physical task that helps their partner.
It does not recognize dogs who just make you "feel good".

Even if your doctor,  psychiatrist or therapist says a dog can help you
with your disorder,
it does not make your dog legal under the law.

The Rx Pharmdogs project  is a study that explores this
"feel good" phenomena that the law does not recognize.

More and more therapists and psychiatrists are beginning to ""prescribe"
(so to speak) dogs for their patients.
But these dogs are not legal unless they
perform a physical task to mitigate the person's disorder or disability.
Not to mention they need to be properly trained and be able to
pass the AKC canine good citizen test and the public access test  
to be a truly reliable working dog in all public places.

As a professional Service Dog Trainer I am well versed in the laws.
I believe this " feel good" phenomena that
some people experience from
interacting with a dog has something to do with brain and hormone chemicals,
such as Oxytocin and Cortisol effecting the body and mind as it reacts to
this canine intervention.

Here is why I call these type of psych dogs Rx Pharmdogs.

1. A prescription
for medicine or a
medical appliance.

When prescribed by a Therapist or Doctor as a remedy, cure or solution for a
disorder or problem, these dogs should also be considered service dogs.
The task being that the dog's intervention is part of the persons
wellness plan just like pharmaceuticals and group therapy are.
And in the eyes of the law an assistance dog is a medical appliance.

Psychiatric Service Dogs / Rx Pharmdogs Project
is a ground breaking concept exploring the mental health connection and effects
canine intervention has on the
human mind.
2. A remedy, cure,
or solution for a
disorder or problem
Definition of:  Rx (är'eks')
It is widely known and accepted by assistance dog users and training
agencies everywhere that dogs such as guides, hearing and mobility
service dog tasks are not the only benefit to the assistance dog user.
The effects of these canine helpers goes far beyond the physical tasks they
perform.  Ask any assistance dog user and they will tell you that the mental
health benefits of having an assistance dog is often more important
to them then the tasks their dogs perform.  
Margie Cantwell, Founder of, is a professional dog trainer
who specializes in public access and task training of service dogs