Transition To Civilian Life
Coming from a military background often means years of routine. Losing it suddenly can be hurtful for anyone, but especially those who have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Dogs can be trained and take orders well, which is especially helpful for veterans who are used to giving orders. Authoritativeness often doesnt have a place in civilian life, which can be a hard thing for veterans to adjust to. Having a dog to train can give veterans an opportunity to use their command skills in a constructive way.
The relationship with a service dog can often overcome those hurdles and help form the basis of a healthy routine.
How Does A Veteran Get An Emotional Support Dog
A veteran starts by speaking with a mental health professional about their interest in an ESA. If the expert thinks they qualify for an ESA, they’ll receive a letter confirming their qualification. Then, all the veteran needs to do is choose their dog â any breed can be an emotional support animal!
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
This majestic breed little breed is typically seen as a standard lap dog, but it has immense potential for those with PTS. In fact, one of the Spaniels most valuable characteristics is its ability to form an intense bond with its owner. Thats why spaniels are often called velcro dogs! Unlike many other small dog breeds, Spaniels are quiet and collected. They handle high-pressure situations well in comparison. They need proper training like any service dog, but they can become wonderful emotional support pets with the right education.
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Best Service Dog Breeds
There are certain traits that make particular dog breeds really stand out when it comes to helping with various emotional or physical traumas and illnesses. Your specific needs will help you to determine what type of service dog breed is the best fit for you.
Heres our list of the top 10 best service dog breeds, along with their common characteristics and the type of service they typically provide.
Qualities You Should Look For An Emotional Support Dog
Not all dogs can fit for the job as the best service dog breeds for PTSD. As much as many breeds are trainable, it would be easier to look for the dog with the essential qualities of a PTSD service canine.
Here are some of the general traits you should consider:
Intelligent. A dog that has a great command recall and intelligence can be trained for any service dog task, including being an emotional service dog. Also, a sensitive and intelligent dog can respond properly to the situation without losing its concentration.
Calm and friendly. The service dog should be the image of calmness it wants to imbibe to its handler. If the pooch tends to be over-excited or aggressive, you should subject it to further training.
Sociable. A service dog for PTSD shouldnt just be loyal and affectionate to its owners. The doggo should also exhibit positive behavior toward others.
Confident but not imposing. PTSD service dogs will give their handlers assurance, especially during panic attacks. This means that they should be confident enough to be on top of the situation.
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Which Service Dog For Ptsd Is Right For You
All of the above dogs have traits that make them the perfect PTSD service dog, so how do you narrow down your choices and find the right one for you?
Your best bet is to talk to a local service dog organization and have them match you with the ideal breed. Theyre experienced in finding the perfect fit for each situation.
That said, I also think the most prominent symptom of and reason behind your PTSD plays a role in helping you decide. A few examples:
- For veterans coping with severe PTSD, one of the dogs that excels in picking up subtle cues would be an ideal choice, since they can help avoid triggers before you head into one.
- Women dealing with PTSD after a traumatic assault may do best with a powerful-looking dog like the GSD, Rottie, or Doberman. Basically, breeds that make us feel safer.
- If depression is a defining factor of your PTSD, an active dog like the Beagle or Border Collie can be a powerful motivator to get out of bed in the morning.
- For those with allergies, the Poodle, Schnauzer, or Havanese would be the ideal choice.
Like I said, your best bet is to talk to an organization that specializes in matching people with the right service dog.
You may even find that the perfect breed is a totally unexpected dog thats not traditionally used for service dog work!
Do you have any thoughts on service dogs for PTSD list? Any other breeds to add? Share below!
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Start your journey with PAVE by completing the simple contact form.
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Best Service Dog Breeds For Vets
For many brave veterans, the return home after service is simply the beginning of another tough battle. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, more commonly referred to as PTSD, is a clinically diagnosed psychiatric disorder that occurs following the experience of life-threatening events. The brain exists in an almost continuous state of fight or flight, unable to cope with trauma. Those living with PTSD experience flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable intrusive thoughts.
Fortunately, trained service dogs can help their owner handle some of these symptoms. Service dogs reduce stress and anxiety, mitigate depression, and ease social integration. Their unique services help restore confidence and independence in veterans living with PTSD. The decision to work with a PTSD service dog can be a transformational event, extending into all areas of a veterans life.
What Is Ptsd Anyway
More than 8 million US adults get affected by PTSD, including a large number of military veterans. PTSD can occur at any stage in life, even in childhood. Women are more susceptible to have PTSD than men.
The American Psychiatric Association defines PTSD as a psychiatric disorder that develops when a person experiences or witnesses traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.
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These Breeds Will Never Disappoint
A dog is more than just a mans best friend. Dogs can also play a role in treating mental issues such as anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder. No wonder many veterans with PTSD have their four-legged buddies by their side.
Thanks to their loving nature and companionship, dogs can help those with PTSD function and participate in daily life. They create a sense of safety for their owners, snapping them back to reality when traumatic flashbacks arise.
While almost any breed can be a therapy dog, certain breeds seem born for the job. Breeds that are natural protectors may be great guard dogs, but theyre not ideal for vets with PTSD. They tend to be overly reactive to perceived intrusions, which can lead to constant barking that creates more anxiety for the owner.
If you are a veteran looking for a therapy dog, an emotional support dog, a service dog, or just an affectionate dog to keep you company, these six dog breeds for vets with PTSD will never disappoint:
With their intelligence and ability to sense your moods, as well as their loyalty and eagerness to please everyone, it makes perfect sense that golden retrievers are one of the top choices for vets with PTSD.
Their right balance of calm and energetic nature makes them suitable to perform tasks without becoming overly excited. With their great love of the outdoors, Labs can help vets with PTSD shift their focus away from things that trigger anxiety.
Applying For A Ptsd Service Dog
It can be difficult to know how to get a service dog for PTSD or where to get information on applying for a PTSD service dog. This information is available through the Department of Veteran Affairs, who provides guidelines and steps.
Qualifying for a psychiatric service dog requires several steps, including a prescription from a clinician and a formal review by Veteran Affairs. To be considered, a person is required to first register online or at the Health Administration section of a VA medical center. Following registration, a person will be referred to a specialist who can evaluate the need for a service dog.
Each individual case is reviewed based on whether a person is able to care for the dog, whether the animal will truly be able to assist them and whether this assistance cant be achieved through other means or therapy. If approved, Veteran Affairs will provide a referral to an accredited organization who can help a person to find and train a service dog.
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Ptsd: National Center For Ptsd
Available en Español
You may find a dog can lift your mood and be a good companion. There is not enough research to know if dogs help treat PTSD and symptoms. Learn about service dogs and emotional support dogs and the study VA is doing to learn more about dogs and PTSD.
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Owning a dog can lift your mood or help you feel less stressed. Dogs can help people feel better by providing companionship. All dog owners, including those who have posttraumatic stress disorder can experience these benefits.
Currently, there is not enough research to know if dogs help treat PTSD and its symptoms. Evidence-based therapies and medications for PTSD are supported by clinical research. We encourage you to learn more about these treatments because it is difficult to draw strong conclusions from the few studies on dogs and PTSD that have been done.
Benefits Of Psychiatric Service Dogs For Ptsd
Trained psychiatric service dogs offer incredible benefits to those with PTSD, ranging from simple day-to-day emotional support to trigger intervention.
Lets take a look at some of those top benefits. First, though, I really quickly want to go over PTSD itself, including what it is and who it affects.
I wont get too detailed because this isnt a human medical site.
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Ways Service Dogs Help People With Ptsd
The US Department of Veteran Affairs says Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. PTSD is characterized by symptoms grouped into four main categories: intrusion or re-experiencing, avoidance, alteration in mood and cognition, and hyperarousal.
Using Psychiatric service dogs is one way to help people suffering from PTSD. Psychiatric service animals are dogs specifically trained to help people with mental health disabilities like schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. A PTSD service dog is a type of psychiatric service dog trained to do work and complete tasks to help mitigate the symptoms of PTSD.
In this post, we will identify six ways that a service animal can help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and the tasks they perform to do so.
Additional Resources And Organizations
The process of getting a service dog can vary depending on someones location within the country. There are many organizations around the country that can offer more specific information about the process of getting a service dog for PTSD. These organizations can provide information and support to veterans suffering from PTSD and help begin the process of adopting a service dog.
Some PTSD service dog organizations that can provide more information include:
Service dogs can be life-changing for veterans suffering from PTSD and those whose mental health condition prevents them from living their life normally. Although the process of getting a service dog may require patience, it can change the lives and improve the quality of life for those suffering from PTSD.
How To Choose The Best Dog For Veterans With Ptsd: The Buying Guide
How do you choose the dog for veterans with ptsd? You must consider many things, such as the brand name, price, and product quality. In addition, you should also consider whether it is suitable for your needs or not.
So how do you choose the right dog for veterans with ptsd? Here are some tips that you can use to help you find a good product:
What you Should Keep in Mind When Buying dog for veterans with ptsd
When shopping for a dog for veterans with ptsd, there are several things to consider. You need to think about the quality of the product, the price, and even how much it will benefit your life. However, you also need to keep these factors in mind:
Resources For Finding A Service Dog
There are many organizations with a passion for partnering people suffering from PTSD with a companion dog to help accommodate their needs. The following resources provide helpful information on some of the groups that train these special pups and pair them with individuals in need. Additionally, you may benefit from speaking with your psychiatrist or psychologist, and veterans may wish to speak with a local Department of Veterans Affairs chapter, as these resources may have details on city and state programs that can support your effort in obtaining a four-legged friend.
Service Dogs for America trains PTSD service dogs, and has strict criteria for both the dogs and trainers who raise them.
Paws for Veterans matches war veterans with PTSD service dogs, and then trains both parties on how to work together as effective, cooperative teammates.
Dog Wish trains all kinds of service dogs for people of all walks of life. One of the founders of this organization understands the value of dogs in managing PTSD from having personal experience with the condition.
New Horizons Service Dogs provides PTSD service dogs to retired servicemen and servicewomen, as well as others suffering from PTSD.
Additionally, our article on finding your perfect service or therapy dog offers many ways to meet your ideal canine match, and also lists programs for receiving funding for you and your partner pup.
What Does The Paws Grant Cover
The grants provided by the PAWS bill wouldnt just cover the costs of training a dog for veterans with PTSD or TBI. They would also pay for a lifetime of veterinary health insurance for the dog, service dog hardware, and payment for travel expenses needed for the veteran to acquire the dog.
This is a fantastic step forward in helping veterans, says Tom Coleman, Executive Director of Pawsitivity Service Dogs. The VA covers service dogs for vets with other physical disabilities, but at this time, they wont cover service dogs for PTSD.
How Dogs Can Help Veterans Overcome Ptsd
New research finds that mans best friend could be lifesavers for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
Going to the movies was the worst: the crowds, the dark, the whispering.
I would constantly be scanning for who was going to come stab me from behind, says Robert Soliz, a 31-year-old former Army Specialist from San Joaquin, California. He was discharged in 2005 after serving in a heavy artillery quick-reaction force in South Baghdad. But fear, anxiety, depression and substance abuse swept into his life, and Soliz became one of 300,000 U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Isolated, his family deterioratingI couldnt show affection, couldnt hug my kidsSoliz turned to the Palo Alto V.A. Medical Center. One recent morning, he talked about his progress. Hanging from his belt was a container of doggie treats, a link to the treatment he credits with saving his life. Soliz participates in Paws for Purple Hearts, one of four experimental programs nationwide that pair veterans afflicted by PTSD with Labrador and golden retrievers. Launched in 2008 by a social workernamed Rick Yount, the program arranges for a veteran to spend six weeks with a dog, training it to be a mobility-assistance animal for a physically disabled veteran.
Soliz says his life is slowly coming back to him. He now can go to the movies without panickingand hug and kiss his two kids.
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Effect Of Ptsd Severity Veteran
Table 5 displays analyses examining the relationships between PTSD severity, veteran-service dog closeness, and time since service dog placement with importance and frequency outcomes. Among veterans with a service dog, there was no effect of PTSD symptom severity on trained task importance, untrained behavior importance, or frequency of task use. Specifically, veterans PTSD symptom severity did not predict how often they used trained tasks in a given day, nor how important they rated trained and untrained behaviors for their PTSD. Among veterans with a service dog, veteran-service dog closeness was a stronger predictor of perceived importance and reported frequency of PTSD service dog behaviors . Specifically, higher perceived veteran-service dog closeness was associated with higher perceived importance of both trained and untrained behaviors for the veterans PTSD. Veterans who reported higher closeness with their service dogs also reported using the service dogs trained behaviors more often. There was no significant relationship between time since the service dog was placed and perceived trained task importance or untrained behavior importance. However, time since placement was a significant predictor of frequency of task use such that the longer the veteran had the service dog, the less frequently they reported using trained tasks on a daily basis.