PTSD Service Dog

A PTSD Service Dog is a specially trained fog that helps people who had experienced a traumatic event and are exhibiting aftereffects like flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as repetitive thoughts about the event. These symptoms may constitute severe impediments to a person’s daily life at home, in school, at work, and in public spaces. Clinical data shows PTSD can be triggered months and even years after the traumatic event has occurred.

How can a PTSD Service Dog help me?

A service dog candidate can be trained to recognize symptoms of PTSD and behave in a manner that helps alleviate these symptoms. This can include nudging, licks to the face, body pressure, barking, and pawing. It is important to pair the needed behavior to the right person with PTSD. A well-trained service dog can be an invaluable aid in improving your personal life, your work life, social life, and relationships.

What can I expect?

PTSD Service Dogs are a subsection of the Psychiatric Service Dogs and their main distinguishing feature is that they are trained to respond to nightmares, severe anxiety, and flashbacks. Studies like “Nudging them back to reality” from 2013, “Stigma, barriers to care, and use of mental health services among active duty and National Guard soldiers after combat” from 2010, and “Preliminary efficacy of service dogs as a complementary treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder in military members and veterans” 2018 prove that PTSD Service Dogs contribute to living with lower PTSD symptoms, a better quality of life, and better social functioning in addition to more regulated production of the stress hormone cortisol. Many PTSD Service Dog users also report complementary effects like lowered depression levels and anxiety levels. The companionship and social support that a PTSD service dog provides can have been seen to have a significant emotional and therapeutic value.

Can I train my own PTSD Service Dog?

Although PTSD Service Dogs are predominantly used by army veterans and police officers who are engaged in high-risk situations you can train your own PTSD Service Dog. This type of dog falls under the category of Psychiatric Service Dogs and a good starting point for your training could be the course here: