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Psychiatric Service Dog Training

PTSD, Panic Disorders, Autism, and a host of other mental health issues can benefit from having a service dog.

A psychiatric service dog is a specific type of service dog trained to assist their handler with a psychiatric disability or a mental disability, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. 

Medical Alert: Just as a dog can be trained to alert to seizures and other medical conditions, a dog can also be trained to sense the changes in a person’s body when they are beginning to have a panic attack, flash back, anxiety attack, or other psychiatric conditions.

Destructive Behavior: The dog is able to paw at the leg of their disabled recipient and interrupt what would otherwise be a debilitating and destructive behavior for the individual. This helps the handler to refocus on their dog and work through the problem.

Deep Pressure Therapy: Just as medical wraps are used to alleviate anxiety in persons with psychiatric conditions, dogs can be trained to put the pressure of their body weight on their handler’s lap and abdomen to physically, and then mentally, relieve anxiety and induce a sense of calm.

Boundary Control: When the individual suffers from anxiety due to the close proximity of others, or due to the claustrophobia in a crowded room, the dog can be trained to stand in between their handler and others to gain more personal space. The dog is not being protective, but is simply following a simple cue from their handler to move their body into the space surrounding their handler.

Corners: A frequent problem for those suffering from PTSD is to negotiate corners without the fear of what is waiting on the other side. Our dogs can be trained to go around corners in front of their handler and the alert their handler if there is someone waiting on the other side. The dog can also be trained to enter the house first and search the house to see if there are any intruders.

Signal Alert: There are many situations when a recipient will need to excuse themselves from a classroom or meeting due to person psychiatric concerns. With a discrete signal to the dog, the handler can command his dog to paw at the leg, making it look like the dog is seeking attention. The handler is then able to comfortably leave the situation with the excuse that his dog needs to relieve itself.

2760 N Haskell Dr
Tucson, AZ 85716

Email: jamie@accesstoservice.org
Phone: 727-686-4246

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