Training program for PTSD service dogs
PTSD dogs for Veterans are trained for 18-24 months. They’re taught approximately 120 commands and about 15 tasks before they’re ready to be matched with a veteran. These skills include alerting their veteran of flashbacks, grounding them when they have anxiety attacks, and waking them if they have nightmares.
It can cost up to $30,000 to train a PTSD service dog; that doesn’t even include the expenses once the dogs are paired with veterans. However, learn more about how the Department of Veteran Affairs is moving to help out with these training programs.
PTSD service dogs can help with the stress of everyday life.
While a service dog can help you bring a sense of peace into your home, they are also trained to provide support in public spaces. They can help you stay calm and focused in grocery stores, banks, movie theaters, and other places with crowds or noise.
Your service dog will act as an anchor when you feel your stress levels rising. PTSD service dogs can also help by performing specific tasks that prevent panic attacks or alert you to their onset.
They might do this by interrupting repetitive and harmful thoughts, waking you up when you’re having nightmares, or simply providing the companionship that comes with knowing there is a loyal animal nearby who cares about your well-being.
How Veterans can get a PTSD service dog
Getting a PTSD service dog can be a long process, but it’s worth it.
Step 1: Apply for a Dog
Several organizations provide dogs for veterans with PTSD. If you have a dog you’re thinking about turning into a service dog. You’ll need to make sure that the organization is willing to work with your existing pet. Some organizations will only give out dogs trained by them.
Step 2: Get the Dog and Train It
Training can take up to two years, but some organizations offer in-house training and will train the dog and then deliver it to you when it’s ready.
There are several things your dog will need to learn to be certified as a PTSD service dog:
- It needs to learn basic obedience skills like sitting, staying, fetching, and coming when called.
- You’ll need to teach the specific behaviors required for your PTSD, like waking you up if you’re having a nightmare or acting as an “anchor” if you experience anxiety.
- Your dog needs to learn public access skills like not barking or jumping on people so that they can go out into public with you and do their job.
Step 3: Get Certified
When your service dog is trained, it will need to be officially certified by an organization like the International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP). This will allow your service dog to accompany you in public places like restaurants and stores, typically off-limits for canine companions.
PTSD Dogs for Veterans help.
Veterans who have experienced PTSD are turning to their furry friends to help them cope, and it’s making a huge difference in their daily lives.
These highly-trained dogs can perform everyday tasks that improve the lives of veterans struggling with PTSD: from fetching needed objects and alerting others when help is required to reducing stress and helping veterans feel safe in public. These canines are making a real impact by assisting veterans in feeling more confident, calm, and secure.
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Your VA disability rating is important—it determines the benefits you get for your service. When you’re looking for a new rating or want to upgrade your current one, you deserve an advocate who can help you get what you need.
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