A service dog is not only a close friend, but also an indispensable assistant for someone with physical or mental problems. One of the best known service dogs is the guide dog for the visually impaired. The service dogs that help people with mental disorders are called psychiatric service dogs. They are specially trained to provide a sense of calm, alleviate depression and improve the symptoms of anxiety. In this article, you will find further benefits of the anxiety service dog and a list of the best breeds for your information.
1. What rights do psychiatric service dogs have?
Unlike the service dog for someone with a physical disorder, psychiatric service dogs are always considered a “fake service dog” because their handlers appear to have no disability. Actually, in addition to serving a person with a physical disability, service dogs also provide practical help and mental comfort to people with mental disorders. These dogs are known as psychiatric service dogs. These dogs have to accept special training to deal with various mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
All service dogs are approved by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This means that psychiatric service dogs are equal to other service dogs. They also have the right to go anywhere with their handlers, from stores to planes. However, we recommend that you carry documents that can verify the authenticity of your service dog, such as service dog certification.
2. What are the best breeds for psychiatric service dogs?
People can get a service dog from some specialized organizations. However, a service dog can be expensive because of the high cost of service dog training. Normally, each service dog receives on average at least 600 hours of training, which costs $30000 to $40000 per dog. Because of these high expenses, people often prefer to train the dog themselves or with the help of a certified trainer. This option is less expensive, but you may need to spend a lot of time.
Regarding which breed is best for service dogs, people always find it hard to make a decision here. Based on past experience, it has been found that the following breeds always serve well:
• German Shepherds
• Labrador Retrievers
You can choose one from this list or other breeds or mixed breeds, but the most important factors depend on the dog’s temperament, stature, or ability to complete the tasks.
3. How do psychiatric service dogs cope with anxiety?
The emotional support animals that provide you with mental comfort do not need special training. However, psychiatric service dogs will not only comfort the handlers but will also provide them with practical assistance in an emergency. People who have severe mental health problems and live alone require the help of service dogs. You can train a service dog depending on your needs. Tasks carried out by anxiety service dogs include:
• Recognizing signs of social anxiety or depression before they manifest
• Warning the owner to leave the situation after noticing the early signs
• Fetching medication box or water before or during an anxiety attack
• Using its body to build a gap between crowded people
• Calming the owner during the anxiety attack by licking his face or caressing him with its paws
• Offering pressure therapy to alleviate the symptoms
• Finding someone to help in an emergency
• Supporting the owner’s head when dizziness occurs
Apart from these tasks, anxiety service dogs can bring other benefits to the owners by accompanying them every day. For example, walking a dog can encourage people to spend more time outdoors, which could have been difficult for them before they had a service dog. Many cases suggest that spending time outdoors can improve people’s mental health and mood by increasing their intake of Vitamin D. In addition, the company of service dogs brings people love and friendship, which helps to reduce the feeling of isolation and loneliness.