Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing or witnessing it – that affects millions of people every year. The symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks, nightmares, social isolation, and severe emotional distress, as well as disturbing thoughts and feelings about the traumatic event.
In recent years, PTSD Service Dogs have been shown to provide life-altering advantages to those who struggle with PTSD symptoms.
How effective are PTSD Service Dogs at treating PTSD?
PTSD service dogs are a type of psychiatric service dog. Psychiatric service dogs are just as legitimate as any other type of service dog, such as a guide dog, a hearing dog, a mobility assistance dog, or a seizure alert dog. These dogs have full public access rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
A PTSD dog is mainly trained to provide relief from emotional overload. But when a PTSD sufferer cares for a PTSD dog, he can also become more confident and consistent in everyday life, which then acts as a buffer against low mental energy levels.
With the help of PTSD Service Dogs, their partners:
• report feeling protected and loved unconditionally
• often return to work or school
• are more capable of caring for family and friends
• start to think better about themselves, others, and the world
• are learning ways to cope if any symptoms arise again
• have the risk of violence, alcoholism, and drug abuse reduced
• increase their ability to manage daily living
What are PTSD Service Dogs trained to do?
PTSD service dogs have a wide variety of abilities that can benefit people who deal with post-traumatic stress disorder on a daily basis. Their PTSD service dogs can be trained to perform any number of PTSD-mitigating tasks, including:
Assistance in a medical crisis
• Retrieve medication and beverages
• Fetch a phone in an emergency
• Answer doorbell
• Open and close doors
• Carry medical supplies
• Remind partners to take medication on time
• Help in coping with medication side effects
• Alert to an emergency such as a smoke alarm
• Wake up partners from flashbacks and nightmares by licking, nudging, or pawing
Support in dealing with emotional overload
• Provide tactile stimulation to disrupt overload
• Wake up for work or school
• Prevent panic in the public
Security enhancement tasks
• Support in coping with the fear of an intruder
• Lighting up a dark room
How to Get a Service Dog for PTSD
As you probably know, getting a service dog can be expensive. The average cost of a service dog is between $15,000 and $60,000. For many individuals in need of a PTSD service dog, these costs can be way out of their budget. Fortunately, there are several options to make a service dog more affordable, and many organizations provide service dogs to qualified veterans and children for free or at low cost.
Option 1 Programs that provide complete or partial financial assistance
Programs for veterans [Non-profit]
Retrieving Freedom, Inc.
Canine Companions for Independence
Programs for children [Non-profit]
PTSD Dogs are not just for veterans. PTSD Service dogs can provide companionship and physical assistance to children with the symptoms.
Can Do Canines
Canine Partners of the Rockies
Paws With a Cause
Retrieving Freedom, Inc.
Option 2 Fundraising
There are online fundraising platforms like GoFundMe. These platforms help you get donations by sharing your personal story across the world.
Options 3 Train your own PTSD Service Dog
It is possible to train your own PTSD Service Dog! Some PTSD sufferers are too traumatized to trust a service dog right away. In this case, training your own service animal ensures a successful relationship between you and the dog.
Training your own PTSD Service Dog can take thousands of hours if you do not have the skills to properly train a service dog. It is a good choice to enlist the help of an experienced, recognized individual or agency for training service dogs. Typically, costs start at $150/hour and it can take more than ten thousand dollars to finish the training.
If you have a limited budget, and still decide to train your PTSD dog by yourself, the Certified Intensive Service Dog Training Course may be your best choice. This online course consists of 8 distinct modules. These engaging home study units have been designed to teach you everything you need to get your Service Dog Training started. On successful completion of this service dog training course, you will
– have a very well-behaved service dog
– get your dog a registered service dog ID
– receive trained Service Dog Certificate issued by the Service Dog Training School International:
PTSD can be a devastating diagnosis. However, with a better understanding of its underlying causes and symptoms over the past few years, there is no need to try to handle the burden of PTSD on your own. Thanks to the inspiring studies on dogs aiding PTSD patients, a new world of possibilities has opened up for those wishing to regain a sense of control over life.