Animals, especially dogs, have been people’s best friends and helpers since the Stone Age. These days a pet can be trained to provide a person with a disability with the necessary assistance or succor him or her. Dogs, cats, or even birds that console you during some difficult moments are called emotional support animals (ESA). Initially, they have to get through the specific training, and, luckily, almost everyone may handle it on their own.
Should you go for a service dog or an ESA?
An emotional support dog is a canine taught to comfort its owner by physical contact. But do not confuse it with a psychiatric service dog whose aid is essential for mentally unhealthy people. Service dogs have to go through a hard training program to become qualified service animals, while emotional support dog training is a tiny bit easier. Moreover, Americans with Disabilities Act claims that service dogs are strictly regarded as working animals. However, ESA dogs are the working ones and pets at once.
If you have a serious mental disability, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety disorder, you need to take a service dog that would help you at any time. But it also will be good to get an emotional support dog that comforts you.
What are the ways of getting an ESA?
Formally, you ought to get a letter signed by a licensed mental health professional. Then you may get an ESA from one of the USA services. Also, you are free to find a puppy and train it on your own. The law doesn’t prohibit you to undertake the training of an emotional support animal without a legal prescription from a doctor. However, it is better for you to pass a test, which will officially confirm your need to have such a dog. Then it is possible to have an emotional support dog’s certification that will guarantee certain privileges for a pet.
Although an emotional support animal does not have so many permissions as a service dog, the law allows its access to some transport means or dwellings. For instance, according to the Fair Housing Act the owners of emotional support dogs should be supplied with accommodation suitable for living with pets. That’s why you’d better get a letter of recommendation at the hospital.
Choose your future emotional support dog!
First of all, you should search for a well-behaved dog. An animal has to be social and obedient enough, so that it would pass your training program successfully.
As for the age of a dog, people prefer one-year-old or even younger puppies, because it’s better to train their behavior since the very early age.
What about a breed of dog you choose? There are several canine breeds that are considered to be the most suitable for ESA. For example, lots of people choose Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds. Such breed as Poodle is of special popularity too. Anyway, there is no guarantee that any dog will demonstrate proper behavior. That’s why you’d better find a calm canine regardless of its breed.
When you have chosen a pet, begin the dog training.
The process should be started with a dog’s obedience training. Just teach a dog a few basic commands, such as ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, ‘drop it’, and others. Spend at least half an hour per day working with it. Give your canine an award after every successful trial. You know, the best award for a dog is food. If a dog has listened to your command, feed it! And it is the best tactic.
Emotional support animals are supposed to aid their owners every time. Thus, a dog ought to perform any command, despite the distance between it and a handler or the number of distractions. When your ESA has learned basic things properly, teach it to act the same in public places and listen to you from different distances. Train your dog to keep concentrated for a long time by expanding the duration of tasks.
People who suffer from depression or severe anxiety should teach an emotional support animal to notice signs of their bad emotional state. During the training process, they can imitate a bad feeling and show an ESA what to do. Then dogs provide their owners with support at moments of true depression.
There are lots of different techniques for emotional support dogs to be taught. For instance, deep pressure therapy is the method, when a dog consoles a person in a period of anxiety. An emotional support dog has to lie or put its paws on the body of its owner in order to calm him or her down. You may train your furry assistant to do that by imitating such situations.
A dog can become your best friend and assistant just now!
If you have an emotional problem that makes you suffer, try to take or train and register an ESA. Get a letter of recommendation from a psychiatrist, so that your future emotional support animal will be able to accompany you everywhere. Your canine ought to be trained to perform specific tasks, like deep pressure therapy. No doubt, a dog will make your life much better in any case!