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Day 68: Benefits of Owning a PTSD Service Dog
Dogs with a degree in PTSD service receive comprehensive training by specialists who are familiar with the many obstacles posed by this disorder. Living with this unique service animal offers a variety of benefits. The following resources provide insight on the wide array of services this special dog has to offer.
Therapy dogs are trained to calm someone having an anxiety or panic attack.These remarkable animals have been educated to look for indicators of an impending meltdown, such as crying, incessant fidgeting or twitching, or stomping. The dog takes action to comfort and soothe her owner by “hugging” or nestling up on him, or even using her paws or head to block the individual from hitting or harming himself.
Dogs can help ensure that their partners are taking medication. PTSD is a complex disorder that is often treated with both therapy and medication. Therapy dogs are trained to retrieve medication and bring it to owners in bite-proof containers.
A dog is trained to alert her owner to sounds that may go unnoticed in the event of a panic attack.For example, if a smoke detector goes off in the middle of an episode, and the PTSD sufferer is too distraught to notice it, the dog may bark in addition to taking action to calm the person down to indicate they need to evacuate the building. They are also trained to lead their human out of the house by gently biting onto a sleeve or pant leg and guiding the handler to safety.
Therapy dogs can help prevent future issues like substance abuse. This resource points out that having emotional support is crucial for individuals suffering from mental health issues like PTSD. While this aid can come from fellow humans, having the unconditional love and assistance of a trained service dog can keep emotional issues at bay and help thwart drug or alcohol dependencies that some people may turn to as a way of coping.
They give PTSD sufferers the confidence to live their lives more independently. Because PTSD can often leave people with unprovoked feelings of devastation or fear, sometimes just getting out of bed in the morning can seem like too much to handle.
Day 68: Because of the nonjudgmental nature of dogs,they are biologically equipped to help humans emerge from the protective walls that may have been emotionally constructed as a result of PTSD. Although this is an innate quality in dogs, trainers work to hone these skills in their pooch trainees, so that even the most closed-off individual will feel more inspired to be more social and open with family and friends.
Dogs are inherently protective of their pack. In your dog’s eyes, you are the pack leader – it is her responsibility to secure your welfare. A good PTSD service dog carries out her duties to defend you in a nonviolent and nonthreatening way, so you will constantly be reminded that there is a special somebody who always has your best interests at heart.
What PTSD Service Dogs are Trained to Do
Dogs can be trained as service dogs or provide emotional support as therapy dogs. The main difference between these two breeds of dogs are the kind of assistance they provide to their owners, and what kind of rights they’ll have in public. According to the ADA, a service dog is one that has been trained to help someone with an emotional or physical disability that impacts one or more major life activities. If you have been diagnosed with PTSD, you and your certifiably trained service dog may be protected under this act. Emotionally supportive therapy dogs, although life-changing companions, are usually not protected by the ADA, because they haven’t been formally trained to assist in aiding you in your daily tasks, such as taking medication or overcoming anxiety issues. Whatever education your dog receives, there are several important functions she will perform to help ensure your wellbeing.
Service dogs must have a primary focus on their owner. Although the bond between dog and human is strong and loving, the dog is still on the clock full-time to be alert to cues that indicate her owner is in danger. Even in a social setting where there may be a lot of distractions, the dog must be able to drop everything should her owner suddenly find himself in the midst of a panic attack.
Dogs are trained to watch over you around the clock.
Day 68: How Service and Therapy Dogs are Helping PTSD Victims
Post-traumatic stress disorder, more commonly referred to as PTSD, is an epidemic impacting millions
Men, women and even children can fall prey to this mental health affliction, usually after experiencing a traumatic event or witnessing a loved one endure a hardship. PTSD can become a burden by affecting people with panic attacks, sudden mood swings, difficulty in social settings, and an overall inability to return to life as it was before the distressing event occurred.
However, there’s good news: In recent years, man’s favorite four-legged accomplice—the dog, of course—has been shown to provide life-altering advantages to those who struggle with PTSD symptoms. Service and therapy dogs have been expanding their skills over the last few decades, and although research supporting service dogs who specialize in assisting those with PTSD is relatively new, many people are finding their experience working with their dog to be nothing short of incredible.
Characteristics of a Quality PTSD Service Dog
Generally speaking, dogs are very loving, devoted creatures whose essence has made them man’s best friend for centuries. There are many assets dogs seem to be born with that enable them to support those with PTSD, but there are also specific merits that trainers look for when considering a dog for this important role. The following resources provide information on some of these “purebred” qualities.
The very act of pet parenthood has mental health benefits, according to the American Psychological Association. Although these service dogs are trained to care for their handlers in many capacities, the owner is also responsible for the wellbeing of his animal. The dog’s role in instilling a nurturing ability in her owner will make him feel accomplished in his role as a pet parent.
Because service dogs must have the right personality and qualities in order to care for someone with PTSD, many dogs are considered for the job. Some of the most important qualities a dog must demonstrate are sociability with other people and animals, the intuition to anticipate her owner’s needs.