Monday, April 8, 2024

How To Get A Service Dog For Anxiety And Ptsd

Don't Miss

The Different Types Of Support Animals

It is important to note that since the process for obtaining a service dog has a tendency to get drawn out having an idea of what support animal is precisely right for your individual circumstances goes a long way. For example, if you are deaf there is absolutely no question a service dog is required. However, if you are suffering from a mental disorder a therapy dog is a more appropriate solution. There are many instances where people, unfortunately, confuse the different types of support animals. Service dogs sound practical so they expect one even though the condition may get partially alleviated through another source. Let’s examine the different types of service animals:

Finding the right type of support animal for your individual circumstances is crucial. A service dog may or may not represent the most appropriate animal for you.

Possible Alternatives To Service Dogs For Anxiety

Service dogs or emotional support animals can be a wonderful and versatile solution to anxiety. But they can also be expensive and require quite a bit of care. For these reasons, they may not be the best solution for everyone.

Some potential alternatives to service dogs for anxiety:

Stuffed Animal for AnxietySome people may find it comforting to carry around a stuffed animal for anxiety. A stuffed animal can become a comfort item for some, potentially helping them to soothe their stress and calm down during an anxiety attack. People often attach significant emotional and sentimental value to stuffed animals, and may even start to personify them. Having something soft and available to hold, such as a stuffed animal, might offer comfort in a way similar to emotional support animals. 

Weighted Blanket for AnxietyOne useful trick that psychiatric service dogs are often taught is deep pressure therapy. This can involve laying across their owner to provide a sense of comfort and security through tactile stimulation. If a service animal is not an option for you, a weighted blanket may be able to offer similar benefits to you to help decrease your stress and anxiety. Many people who use weighted blankets for anxiety report feeling less stressed and nervous under them. You can check out the most popular weighted blankets .

Loved this? Spread the word

Do You Need A Service Dog For Social Anxiety

You do not need a service dog if you have social anxiety, but it can help. Remember that your mental health professional will have to evaluate your anxiety symptoms and provide medical documentation so you can get an ADA-approved therapy dog. Emotional support dogs do not have the same legal protections.

Pin and share with other dog owners:

Importance Of Trained Tasks And Frequency Of Task Use

Table 2 displays descriptive statistics of perceived importance and frequency of use of service dog trained tasks. Overall, participants with a service dog reported using a trained task an average of 3.16 times a day . Veterans with a service dog rated calm/comfort to anxiety as both the most important task and the most frequently used task. Similarly, cover and interrupt/alert to anxiety were rated as the second and third most important and most frequently used tasks, respectively. Block to create space and block to guard/protect were rated nearly identically for both importance and frequency. Veterans rated the service dog’s social greeting task as the least important behavior for their PTSD and the second least frequently used task. Perceived importance of the social greeting task had the largest variance among veterans with a service dog, indicating the most individual variability in responses. The least frequently used service dog task from veterans was wake up from nightmare. It is notable that even the lowest-rated tasks were still perceived on average as “moderately” important for veterans’ PTSD. Overall, waitlist expectations of importance and frequency of use of trained tasks tended to be higher than what was experienced among veterans with service dogs .

Table 2. Means, standard deviations and group comparisons of the expected and experienced importance of trained tasks for PTSD symptoms and frequency of trained task use per day.

Ptsd Symptom Specificity Of Trained Tasks

ANXIETY Service Dog Tasks

Table 4 contains descriptive statistics regarding the perceived helpfulness of each trained task for individual PTSD symptoms as reported by veterans with a service dog. For each trained task, veterans were asked to indicate which PTSD symptoms they were helpful for . Across the seven trained tasks, there was considerable variability in the number of PTSD symptoms helped. However, the most widely relevant service dog task for veterans’ PTSD symptoms was calm/comfort to anxiety, with veterans reporting this task to help an average of 12.73 of the 20 PTSD symptoms. This task was perceived as applicable to symptoms across all four symptom clusters. The second most widely relevant task was interrupt/alert anxiety, helping an average of 6.80 of the 20 PTSD symptoms. Most veterans perceived this task as being helpful to several intrusion symptoms as well as symptoms regarding alterations in arousal and reactivity. The task that veterans reported to help the least amount of PTSD symptoms on average was social greeting, helping an average of 1.14 PTSD symptoms. Wake from nightmares was also reported to help only 1.76 PTSD symptoms on average a majority of veterans reporting this task to help with intrusive dreams.

Table 4. Means, standard deviations, and population percentages of the PTSD symptom specificity of trained behaviors.

What Training Methods Work Best For Service Dogs

Errorless and stress-free dog training


A service dog candidate needs to have a high food drive. Different trainers have different training philosophies. Some trainers use devices such as choke chains, prong collars or shock collars as a means to control the dogs’ impulses and keep them calm and focused. At Medical Mutts, however, we believe that such devices are unnecessary and even harmful – harmful to the dog because they are unpleasant, sometimes painful and less efficient, as many studies have shown. They are also damaging to the relationship.

Repeated punishment will increase the dog’s cortisol levels and it’s been shown that stress affects the animal’s ability to learn. Punishment can also discourage the dogs from taking initiatives, which can be problematic for a service dog that often needs to make decisions on his/her own. Lastly, elevated stress levels also set the dog up to react or snap much sooner than when he/she is feeling safe and calm.


Our goal is to build the dog’s confidence and desire to work. In fact, if training feels like work for us, it’s all fun for the dog. We want to see enthusiasm when we ask the dog to come, to press a button, to poke when alerting, etc. The way that we achieve this is by rewarding the dog for doing what we asked for. A dog that shows a strong desire to work for treats will be much easier to train.

How Much Does A Service Dog For Anxiety Cost

If you decide to buy a pre-trained service dog for anxiety, it will likely cost somewhere between $20,000-30,000. This seems to be the average cost once temperament testing, veterinarian expenses, food, and service training are all accounted for.

It’s also important to keep in mind that just because your doctor or mental health professional has cleared you for a service dog, you are not necessarily guaranteed to be sold one. There are various companies online that you can apply for a service dog through, and each one will put you through their own sort of application process.

These companies typically vet all potential clients to make sure the dog is going to a safe and happy home. These criteria can vary from company to company, but typically they want to see that you are able to provide a safe, stable, and loving environment for the dog, and that you have the finances to care for the dog over the next 12 years or so. Some of these companies will specialize in certain types of training; others may have age requirements or other pre-requisites you must meet before obtaining a psychiatric service dog from them.

Best Service Dog Breeds

There are certain traits that make particular dog breeds really stand out when it comes to helping with various emotional or physical traumas and illnesses. Your specific needs will help you to determine what type of service dog breed is the best fit for you.

Here’s our list of the top 10 best service dog breeds, along with their common characteristics and the type of service they typically provide.

The Abilities Of Landlords Pertaining To Esa

Under the laws of the Fair Housing Act, landlords are not permitted to perform certain actions including the following:

  • They cannot ask the tenant to pay any pet fees since the animal is not considered as a pet

  • They cannot request that the emotional support animal have any training to be considered as an animal

  • They cannot require the ESA to wear an identifying harness

  • They cannot ask specific questions pertaining to the person’s disability or ask for their medical records

  • They cannot refuse accommodations due to insurance policies

  • They cannot use the fear of a specific breed as a way to deny the applicant’s need for said animal

Where To Get A Service Dog For Anxiety

Psychiatric Service Dogs need to be specially trained to assist a person with debilitating anxiety in order to detect when their handlers will need assistance. These dogs can be trained independently by the owner or can be bought through an organization that raises and trains dogs to support people with mental health needs. Some organizations train all types of Service Dogs, while others specifically produce Psychiatric Service Dogs.

At this time, it is not necessary to register a dog as a Service Dog. However, certain organizations have national registries that can provide documentation and identification for the dog. 

Where Do You Get A Service Dog

Service dogs are obtained via a number of professional organizations. If the handler is skilled enough there is also the option to train a pet you already have in your possession. However, the latter is fairly rare because the training is so extensive and challenging. Unfortunately, receiving a service dog can sometimes take years. So is there any way you can speed up the process? What should you know that can help get you an insider’s edge?

Verifying A Psychiatric Service Dog

If you’re out in public or in an establishment and a staff person wants to verify that your canine is a psychiatric service dog, they are allowed to ask two questions under the ADA: is the dog a psychiatric service dog required because of a disability? and what work or task has the PSD been trained to perform? You do not have to identify your disability or demonstrate the task your PSD has been trained to do. 

If you’re flying with your psychiatric service dog, airlines starting on January 11th, 2021 can ask you to submit a certification form. The form requires the PSD owner to make various certifications on a federal form. This includes certifying that their PSD has been trained to perform tasks and behave in public settings. Airplane and airport staff can also ask the two questions above to verify a dog is a PSD.

In addition, the DOT has stated that airlines can observe the behavior of the dog to see whether it remains under the control of its handler. If the dog is being disruptive or out of control, that may be evidence the dog has not yet been successfully trained to be in public. 

Keeping Anxiety In Check

How Do You Get A Service Dog For Ptsd

K9s For Warriors, the nation’s largest provider of Service Dogs to military veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury and/or Military Sexual Trauma based in Florida helped support this study. The study was conducted in preparation for an ongoing large-scale clinical trial studying veterans with and without service dogs over an extended period of time.

The findings show, on average, the dog’s training to both alert the veteran to any increasing anxiety and provide physical contact during anxiety episodes is the most important and the most often used in a typical day. Veterans with a service dog also rated all of the service dog’s trained tasks as “moderately” to “quite a bit” important for their PTSD.

Some trained tasks include picking up on cues veterans display when experiencing distress or anxiety and consequently nudging, pawing, or licking them to encourage the veteran to focus on the dog. Trainers also teach the service dogs to notice when veterans experience anxiety at night and will actively wake the person up from nightmares.

The dogs also learn to perform tasks in public—such as looking the opposite way in a crowded room or store to provide a sense of security for the veteran.

Veterans use trained service dog tasks an average 3.16 times per day, with individual tasks ranging from an average of 1.36 to 5.05 times per day.

Common Treatments And Coping Mechanisms For Anxiety

As more and more people seek holistic alternatives when developing their treatment plans, the use of assistance animals such as psychiatric service dogs is becoming more commonplace.

In the past, people with anxiety symptoms were directed to stay active, avoid drug and alcohol use, and get help from a mental health provider as soon as possible – as there is no real way to predict what will cause someone to develop an anxiety disorder, or when. The end result of a doctor’s evaluation would typically consist of mental health counseling and medication treatments.

To evolve with these times, CertaPet has made the process for this revolutionary service completely digital, not to mention easy to navigate. We provide a free, confidential screening test which takes less than 5 minutes to determine your candidacy. From there, you will be matched with a licensed mental health professional in your state and contacted to set up your telehealth appointment. The final step is our therapist’s recommendation, which includes a treatment plan with your particular service dog, and an official ESA letter if you qualify.

And that’s all you will need to obtain either a psychiatric service dog or an emotional support animal, based on your situation. Whether you receive a therapy dog, emotional support animal, or any other type of service animal, you’ll be taking the safer, more beneficial route that only modern holistic alternatives can provide.

Acquiring A Service Dog For Anxiety

There are significant benefits to having a service dog if you suffer from anxiety. If you are looking for a way to feel a bit more independent, a service dog is a major step in the right direction. Additionally, service dogs can perform vital tasks such as retrieving items, alerting others in the event of an emergency, and perhaps most importantly, providing companionship and emotional support.

That said, not everyone who has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder will qualify for a service dog. You will first need to consult with a physician who is familiar with your condition to determine if a service dog is the right treatment option for you. If not, you might also consider an emotional support animal, as they can provide similar assistance, without the high costs and training process.

If you and your doctor agree that a service dog or emotional support animal could benefit you and help alleviate some of the suffering caused by your anxiety, then you can continue the process of obtaining your animal. That’s where we come in. The experts at know how much a service dog or ESA can mean to someone in need. Additionally, we understand the legal process that you must go through to qualify for one of these animals, and we can help you every step of the way. To learn more about qualifying for a service dog or emotional support animal, or if you simply have questions about how these animals can benefit you or a loved one, feel free to contact us directly at this link.

Best Service Dog Breeds For Anxiety

Certain dog breeds exhibit specific traits that are beneficial for Service Dogs. For example, dogs are easier to train if they’re naturally intelligent. They should be calm and even-tempered in order to stay focused and on task at home and in public. They should be eager to please and happy to work for their handler. Not all dog breeds fit these prerequisites, but the ones that do excel as Psychiatric Service Dog.

Among the more suitable Psychiatric Service Dog breeds are:

With patience and proper training, a dog can be taught to become the Service Dog a person with anxiety needs. Having a properly trained Psychiatric Service Dog will allow the individual to live their lives without having to worry about being limited by anxiety. 

How To Get A Ptsd Service Dog

Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn

Additional studies are necessary to learn precisely how relationships with dogs remove the emotional discomfort that many feel because of PTSD, but preliminary research shows that service dogs are effective in easing PTSD symptoms.

At this time, only a small number of organizations train and provide PTSD dogs. As more positive research comes forth, perhaps such service dog training organizations will increase.

The breed of dog can make a difference in whether a service dog will be successful in its duties. Some dogs were bred for work and need a job to be happy. People living with PTSD form a special relationship with their service dog. Before getting a service dog, owners need to learn how their dogs can be trained to help them, which means owners need to take training as well.

Is There Evidence That PTSD Service Dogs Are Effective?

  • Lower overall symptoms of post-traumatic stress
  • Lower degrees of depression
  • Higher degrees of life satisfaction
  • Higher overall psychological wellbeing
  • Lower degrees of social isolation and greater ability to participate in social activities
  • Higher degrees of resilience
  • Higher degrees of companionship
  • Less absenteeism from work because of health issues among those who were employed

How To Get A Service Dog For PTSD

What Characteristics Should Dogs Have To Be Companions For People Living With PTSD?

What Tasks Can PTSD Dogs Do For People Living With PTSD?

The Psychiatric Service Dog

According to the ADA , “A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability… The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.

Here’s a simple example to illustrate this:

Individuals suffering from extreme anxiety or depression may be unable to leave their homes to do something as simple as picking up their medication, which helps mediate their anxiety or depression symptoms.

In this instance, a psychiatric service dog can “assist handler in creating a safe personal space in public, serving as a physical buffer to calm handler and reduce feelings of emotional distress in crowded places.” . This allows their handler to pick up their medication.

How Do You Qualify For A Service Dog

The first step is to get qualified which is very straightforward. All you need to do is receive written documentation from a healthcare provider that you have a disability and request further assistance. You can speak to your primary care physician or another specialist about the precise type of documentation you will need to provide. The healthcare provider will then sign off in agreement that you are receiving treatment for an emotional or psychiatric disorder or disability, and that you require the support and assistance of an animal. Once you receive the necessary paperwork it is time to begin your search for finding a good service dog.

Who Is Eligible To Get A Service Dog In Florida

Anyone with a disability, which the Americans with Disabilities Act defines as someone who has a physical or mental impairment that significantly limits one or more major life activities. One can have a record of such an impairment, or be regarded by others as having one. It is then up to the individual to seek out an organization and follow the application process.

Defining The Ptsd Service Dog Intervention: Perceived Importance Usage And Symptom Specificity Of Psychiatric Service Dogs For Military Veterans

Veteran with PTSD says her service dog didn

  • 1Center for the Human-Animal Bond, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States
  • 2Department of Comparative Pathobiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States
  • 3Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agriculture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States
  • 4Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • 5Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States

Specific Tasks Service Dogs Can Perform To Support Their Owner

The various types of anxiety disorders carry with them many similarities between them but also some distinct differences in how they arise and affect the afflicted handler.

We have several articles on our website’s blog page to help gain greater understanding about the lengths service dogs can go towards improving your well being. Here’s a particularly good one.

Here are just some of the many ways that a PSD can help their owner:

Service dogs and therapy dogs, of the appropriate, desired breed, require training to hone their natural gifts, to best serve their owners during all points of their lives. Thankfully, there are a few options when it comes to training a service animal or service animals.

  • Self Training – The ADA and DOT provide specific guidelines for those in need of a service dog, allowing owners to train the service animal themselves. However, many who require the services of a PSD understandably may not have the time, energy, or desire to research training methods and best practices specific to PSDs in order to best teach their new assistance animal.
  • Adopt from a Service Animal Organization – This option removes the burden of the training of service animals from the owner and places it in the capable hands of certified service dog trainers. The only downside is the cost, which can reach upwards of $30,000.
  • Can Younger Clients Take Service Dogs To School

    Although the ADA technically permits service dogs to go wherever their partner goes, in practice, different schools have different policies regarding service dogs.

    Usually, a student in Florida requires an or a 504 plan in order to have a service dog with them. If another student in the classroom is allergic to dogs, consideration will typically be made to mitigate the circumstances.  Proof of shot records and health records may be required by individual school districts.

    Other than this, there are no definitive federal guidelines, and clients should reach out to the school or school district in question to determine what their policies are regarding assistance dogs.

    Misconceptions About Psychiatric Service Dogs

    While some breeds, such as Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, commonly work as service dogs, dogs of all breeds, as well as mixed breeds, can be service dogs. Dogs can be bred purposefully to become service dogs, but they can also be rescue dogs.

    Most important is the dog’s and training, as well as the tasks a disabled person needs assistance with. People with disabilities who need a service dog to perform mobility tasks will be matched with a large breed dog, while people who have hearing dogs or psychiatric service dogs might choose to work with a dog of any size, including small dogs. My service dog is a 12-pound mix.

    Under the law, psychiatric service dogs are protected the same as guide dogs and other types of service dogs. According to the Americans With Disabilities Act, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for an individual with a disability. The task the dog performs must be directly related to the person’s disability. Service dogs are allowed by law to accompany their handler anywhere, from restaurants and amusement parks to doctor’s offices and shopping centers.

    There is no single national registration or certification that service dogs must pass. Service dogs can be trained by specialized programs or by individual handlers .

    More articles

    Popular Articles