How to Get a Service Dog for Anxiety: It isn’t surprising to see dogs wearing a “Best Companion” medal all around the pet world, and why not?
They make great playmates, help track lost items and people, detect drugs and explosives, control massive sheep herds, protect homes, and more.
However, not too many people know that service dogs can help relieve stress and anxiety.
Wondering how to get a service dog for anxiety?
We have the answers for you, as well as some information about service dogs.
What Are Service Dogs?
As a companion, service dog provides support to people with disabilities.
Trained specifically to be what they are, service dogs are different from the other pet breeds we often see in our homes.
These dogs help people with visual impairments, physical health problems, or even emotional instability.
The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) authorizes these disabled people to keep a service dog all the time, be it during a flight, a road trip, a cruise, a stay at the beach, or anything else.
How to Get a Service Dog for Anxiety
If you’re dealing with any permanent disability, you can get a service dog.
Just follow the following simple steps to experience the memorable companionship of this amazing dog breed:
Step One: Choose the Right Kind of Dog
First of all, you must know the right breed of dogs that align with your requirements.
Generally, when you choose a puppy to get it trained, here are the qualities you should see in it:
- Eager to be held
- Joyful and reacts when called upon
- Does not possess any aggressive behavior
Although pretty basic ones, these qualities will help minimize complications in the training process.
The smoother the training becomes, the friendlier the dog will be.
Step Two: Bond With Your Puppy
Secondly, and obviously, after choosing the puppy, make sure you interact and spend time with the little one as much as you can.
Show your puppy that you love it. Transfer all the good feelings, your love, sympathy, care, and emotional attachment, to your puppy.
This interaction and attachment will go a long, long way to build trust and companionship and secretly communicate your limitations, as well.
Your puppy should be able to read your behavior and detect signs of happiness, sadness, and anxiety.
Once you observe that your service dog has mastered the art of mind and face reading, it’s time to move out!
Step Three: Expose Your Puppy
Normally, puppies with a breeder like to socialize with people.
This simply means that the puppy has got a fair bit of training in terms of interacting with other people.
So, outdoor exposure won’t be too much of a problem for your dog.
Still, ensure safety! You need to do that for the dog, as well as the people it’ll meet.
That’s because you have no idea how the puppy was trained earlier, what kind of training it was, how many people your puppy has interacted with, and whether it remembers that old training.
There are plenty of doubts, so you need to ensure that the puppy enjoys your company outdoors and acknowledges other people open-heartedly.
To do that, keep up with the socializing, and expose your puppy to all those situations that you encounter on a day-to-day basis.
Step Four: Provide Basic Training
You need to ensure your dog is trained on how to behave publically. These include well mannerism, following your instructions, and not barking at strangers.
If you cannot do that yourself, please seek a professional trainer’s help.
Step Five: Individual Response
Initially, it can be hard to train a dog for anxiety. You need to be calm and compose.
As mentioned, if there is a close bond between you two, the dog will pick up the changes in your mood, behavior, and your responses.
If you ever go through the feeling of anxiety, we recommend you to cuddle or hug your dog.
This will not only ease out your stress hormones but will also train your dog to give you more attention every time it is being loved.
Hence, once again, it is essential to pick up a breed that sees and picks up signs of anxiety or stress.
Why Should You Get a Service Dog?
Once you know how to get a service dog for anxiety, the next question is why?
There are multiple roles that a service dog can do for you, such as:
- It will detect any changes in your behavior, even before an anxiety attack.
- In case of any problem, it will go seek and bring help.
- Do multiple safety checks on and off.
- Help you calm down in stressful situations.
- Play around with you, neutralizing your mood.
- Cuddle with you, helping you have a more peaceful mind and better sleeping habits.
- Remind you to take medicines at the right time.
However, we need to remember that these dogs are different from the pet dogs who, too, provide emotional support.
These service dogs for anxiety are trained from the very beginning to act differently in such situations as discussed above.
The main purpose of these dogs is to provide comfort and support to their owners.
How Easy Is It to Get a Trained Service Dog?
Getting an already trained service dog can be both expensive and time-consuming.
If you wish to get free training done from a reputable organization, it may take you years to get noticed.
This means it is not as easy as it sounds to get a service dog.
Hence, we advise you to adopt a friendly puppy that you can train by yourself.
If needed, you may take your dog to training sessions once in a while.
This way, the attachment level will be higher, and it will not cost you fortunes.
How Else Can You Cope With Anxiety?
There are different coping mechanisms for different people.
In case getting a service dog is not an option for you, we have other alternatives that might help you cope with anxiety.
- Go out on a walk. Walking increases blood circulation, allowing your body cells to breathe. This will regulate your mood and divert your mind.
- Improve your sleeping habits. There are high chances that you get these anxiety attacks due to improper sleep schedule. We advise you to get proper full night’s sleep so that you have a healthier lifestyle.
- Exercise. Regular exercise also regulates blood and oxygen levels, which enlightens your mood and keeps you engaged.
Getting a service dog for anxiety is a cheaper option than getting full flesh medical treatments or psychologist appointments.
You also are getting a lifelong friend who is forever ready to play with you and provide comfort to you whenever needed.
That said, there are other options for dealing with anxiety apart from getting a dog.
In case neither of these options seems suitable to you, please reach out to someone.
Everyone has a different coping mechanism, and we highly recommend you to see a therapist or a mental health professional.