Psychiatric service dogs (PSDs) are dogs who are trained to help those who suffer from mental disabilities such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, autism, or OCD. They differ from emotional support animals in that they are trained to perform specific actions which help the individual function better in day-to-day life. Emotional support animals, on the other hand, bring comfort to their owners simply by their presence. In order to qualify for a psychiatric service dog, you must have a mental health condition that is debilitating and actively affects your everyday life. If you and your mental health professional agree that you would benefit from a psychiatric service dog, the next step is to adopt one or train your dog to be a PSD. Here is a quick guide to the traits you want in PSD and the best breeds for service.
Here are the most important traits to look for in a good psychiatric service dog.
You will be taking your service dog out in public with you, and it will often be around complete strangers. To navigate this, you need a dog who is always friendly and will allow complete strangers to pet it. If your dog tries to growl or bite someone, this could be cause for you and your dog to be removed from a location.
Service dogs must undergo extensive, in-depth training. Many dogs do not make it through this training successfully. In fact, 50-70% of dogs fail, which is part of the reason service dogs are so expensive.
Since you will depend on your service dog to help you function on a daily basis, you want to make sure you have a dog that is reliable and consistent no matter what.
You will frequently bring your PSD with you into unfamiliar, sometimes chaotic places, and you need a dog that will stay calm and composed even under stress. You don’t want a PSD that will panic when you take it to the airport or other crowded place.
PSDs have to work very hard and pay attention to your behavior and need 24/7. It is critical to pick a dog who can perform consistently without tiring.
Here are some of the breeds of dogs that make the best psychiatric service animals:
Poodles are known for being highly trainable and intelligent. They are also very alert and active, as well as loyal partners.
Labs are known for their very friendly, laid-back disposition. They are both outgoing and extremely intelligent, making them ideal service dogs.
These dogs are very gentle, responsive, and intelligent, the perfect combination for an effective PSD.
These small but fierce-looking dogs are obedient, spirited, and intelligent. With this personality type, they will be able to help navigate the world around you.
German Shepherds are known to be watchful, courageous, confident, and alert, which might be exactly what you need in a PSD.
Clearly, choosing to get a psychiatric service dog is a big decision. They take time and energy to train and can often be very expensive. However, a PSD could drastically improve your life, allowing you to experience freedom and joy you would not be able to otherwise. When adopting a psychiatric service dog, consider the traits you need your new service dog to have and look at the best breeds with these personality traits. You will also need to have a letter of certification for your psychiatric service dog. Here at United Support Animal, we can help you get you to register your psychiatric service dog in no time. Contact us today.