“The ADA defines a person with a disability as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity.” To qualify for a service dog, you must be diagnosed with a disability. Depression, stress, or anxiety are only considered a disability if they limit what you can do. For instance, some people cannot go to the store on their own. Others can’t leave their homes, can’t work, or go to public places when it’s crowded. If you have depression or anxiety but are still able to go through your day without limitations, you do not qualify for a service dog under the ADA.
The dog must allow you to go places and face situations that you would not be able to without a service dog.
What are Psychiatric Service Dogs trained to do?
Trained tasks for psychiatric service dogs
- Wake up his/her person
- Provide tactile stimulation
- Facilitate social interactions and reduce fears associated with being around people
- Serve as a buffer to help the person cope with being in a crowd
- Help the person calm down when agitated
- Wake up a person having nightmares
- Grounding a person dealing with fears and anxiety and helping him/her get back to the here & now
- Help create a safe personal space
- Get medication and water when the person cannot
- Get help
- Provide balance assistance
- Remind a person to take medication and nag until it’s done
- Disrupt emotional overload.
What does science say?
Enhancing Lives: The Benefits of Psychiatric Service Dogs
Psychiatric service dogs (PSD) offer a multitude of benefits to individuals seeking assistance with mental health conditions. These remarkable canines not only provide invaluable support but also promote personal growth and improved well-being.
One of the significant advantages of having a PSD is the encouragement they provide. These dogs offer a reason to start the day, motivating individuals to be more active, go for walks, and engage in social interactions. By assisting in maintaining a routine, PSDs contribute to a sense of structure and purpose in daily life.
Beyond addressing clinical symptoms, studies have shown that PSDs have a profound impact on emotional well-being. For individuals with conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or anxiety disorders, a PSD can help alleviate feelings of loneliness, sadness, and isolation. They have the remarkable ability to calm racing thoughts and irritability, while also reducing aggression and agitation.
Our PSDs undergo comprehensive training, including the mastery of behaviors required to pass the Public Access Test and surpass the minimum standards set by the International Association of Assistance Dogs Partners (IAADP). This means that you can confidently and reliably bring your service dog to various settings, such as work, school, malls, and restaurants, knowing they have the necessary skills to navigate public spaces safely.
With their invaluable assistance and unwavering companionship, PSDs can significantly enhance the lives of individuals facing mental health challenges. Experience the transformative benefits of a psychiatric service dog and embrace a brighter, more fulfilling journey towards improved emotional well-being.