How To Train Your Dog To Be An Emotional Support Animal?
There is no denying that pets, especially dogs, are naturally blessed to comfort and support their owners. For that very reason, dogs are the first choice among humans as emotional support animals.
But there is a common dilemma among dog parents, What makes a dog an Emotional Support Animal? Do they require emotional support dog training? If yes, how to train a dog?
Check out this complete article till the end for complete information.
How to make a dog an Emotional Support Dog?
As such, a dog doesn’t require special training or skills to be an Emotional Support Animal. Your medical condition must be qualified to certify a dog as an emotional support dog.
If your medical condition is appropriate for an emotional support dog’s assistance, your mental health professional can write an ESA Letter for you. Just an ESA recommendation letter is enough proof that a dog is an ESA dog.
All the illnesses mentioned in DSM-V can qualify you to have an emotional support dog. Some of these illnesses are mentioned as follows:
- Panic Attacks
- ADHD- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder
- Substance-related disorder (alcohol, drugs)
- OCD- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- PTSD-Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Acute Stress Disorder
- Eating Disorders
- Learning Disorders
- Personality Disorders
- Bipolar Disorder
- Sexual disorder
- Developmental coordination disorder
- Autism and many more.
What emotional support do ESA Dogs provide?
As we have described, ESA dogs provide emotional support to humans. To understand it more profoundly, check out the following points:
- Reduce anxiety: Where anxious thoughts limit the person from engaging in any social situation, petting an emotional support animal will give you the security and confidence to interact in social gatherings.
- Eliminate Stress: Studies have shown that having a pet by your side releases Oxytocin and Endorphin, that in turn reduce cortisol and stress levels. It is somewhat similar to doing exercise daily.
- Cure Depression: It is common to have depression these days that creates the feeling of lethargy and kills the motivation to do anything. However, an emotional support dog will set you a routine and motivate you to do your daily tasks.
- Create a Feeling of Safety: Only a mentally and emotionally ill person can understand how lonely it feels even after being surrounded by the crowd. An emotional support dog will act as a companion to trust and rely on in difficult situations.
- Positivity: Emotional support dogs carry unique energy and a positive vibe. They will help you to get rid of all the negative thoughts and think positive in life.
- Training: You can train emotional support dogs to be therapy animals by giving ESA training. These animals can calm the nerves in harrowing situations.
What breed can be the best Emotional Support Dog?
As we know, almost any animal can be an emotional support animal; similar to that; any dog can be your emotional support dog. So you can choose practically any dog breed to be your emotional support animal. In case you already have a pet dog, you don’t need to get a new one as your dog can be your emotional support dog.
If you are looking for a pooch to be your emotional support dog, we have listed some of the common emotional support dogs along with their features:
- German shepherds: Clever and easy to befriend
- Corgis: Loving and Sociable
- Labrador retrievers: Happily follow commands
- Collies: Sense emotions easily
- Poodles: Easy to train due to smartness
- Pomeranians: Cuddly and loving
- Golden retrievers: Comforting and loves to snuggle
These are just a few of them. You can check and compare the 20 Best Emotional Support Dog Breeds to choose from.
While selecting a dog to be an ESA, make sure that it has the following features:
- The dog should not be too naughty or too energetic, as such dogs are hard to handle. These dogs are hard to train, and spending time with them can be nerve-racking instead of calming.
- The dog should not bark all the time and be too noisy as it would be too stressful for you and your family.
- The dog should be sociable and knows how to behave in a crowd.
- The dog should easily understand basic commands like sit, stand, etc.
- The dog shouldn’t be too shy. Of course, some dogs might take time to open up, but they need to sense your emotions and fondle their love when you need them.
How do I train my dog to be ESA?
It is true that emotional support dogs, unlike service dogs, don’t require training to be ESAs. However, you can give your dog some basic obedience training or special emotional support animal training to handle critical situations.
If you are just adopting a dog to be your ESA, it would be best if you choose a puppy. It is because of this reason that the puppies are easy to train and can be handled easily. With proper technique and planning, you can also give ESA dog training to an adult ESA dog.
It is the most basic obedience training you as a doggo parent need to teach to your dog. Of course, no one wants to be in the spotlight in the shameful scenario when your dog poops in a public place.
The tip is to use a reward or treat. Teach it to poop in a similar spot every day and take it to that spot during potty breaks. You can add meal timings and potty breaks to your dog routine to train them.
Until your dog isn’t adequately trained to poop, ensure to limit its access to the whole house. Once your dog gets potty trained, you can slowly allow it to other rooms of your home.
It would be unimpressive if your dog didn’t respond to your recall. If you are a dog parent, it is evident that your doggo should respond to your call and come toward you on calling. It is essential, especially when you are somewhere outside with your dog. You can save your dog from getting into serious problems by a recall.
Just like recall, the stop command can also save your dog from getting in a dangerous situation. Not only for your dog but if your dog gets violent and starts causing trouble, stopping it with a “Stop” command can save others too.
This command is necessary to master for aggressive, emotional support dog breeds.
Leave it command is beneficial in case your dog brings or fetches a dangerous item for it or others. Just by saving “Leave it,” doggo gets the impression that its master will be angry if it won’t leave the object. This command is a savior if your dog puts something poisonous in its mouth.
Dogs are masters of their own will. They like to sit and lay in a position they feel comfortable. However, by the “Sit” command, you can teach your dog to sit in a proper position. You can use this command with other orders to teach the dog to behave a certain way.
A practical example of instructing a dog to sit could be using a treat. While your dog is in a standing position, take a treat, and move it back so that your dog sits. While doing that, affirm the command “Sit,” slowly use a single hand during this action. With time the dog will understand the command and act accordingly.
Similarly to “sit,” you can use the treats to teach your dog the “Down” command. Here, move the treat down the floor so the dog will bend forward and practice the down position. Use the affirmation “Down” and give a gesture while doing so.
When your dog is in a playing mood and disturbs you from doing your work, you can use the “Settle” command to instruct your dog to sit. You can teach this trick to your dog with a treat. By holding a treat, add your own cue and affirm your dog to settle down. It might take some time, but once your dog gets it, trust us, it will be too beneficial.
Use the 3Ds
A basic 3D formula is something every dog parent should know if they want to self-train their dog. It is as follows:
- Duration – It represents time. A dog parent should teach their dog to hold the command for the time till they order the dog to stop. You can start with a time interval of a few seconds and slowly train your dog to hold the position for longer.
- Distance – It represents the space between you and your dog. When you give a command to your dog, you will move backward and train your dog to hold the position until you return to your prior commanding position.
- Distraction – It represents the focus of your dog. You should teach your dog to follow the commands even if you are in a distracting atmosphere. You can start to practice it in a park. In the real world, your dog will be surrounded by distractions, and your coaching would be considered accurate if the dog behaves as you wish, even in a distracting atmosphere.
What is the best way to train a dog for anxiety?
There is a solo exercise named “DEEP PRESSURE THERAPY” that not only trains your dog to treat anxiety but also for other illnesses like autism, depression, stress, self-harming behaviors, etc.
This training makes your dog a perfect replacement for any synthetic medicine used to treat serious mental disorders. Some health professionals consider this therapy to be even better than synthetic drugs.
This therapy works on the principle of pressure application method by your dog on your chest or some harmed area. Small dogs can directly lie on your upper body, while large dog breeds need to put their head or paws on your chest or some hurt area.
You can follow the following steps for emotional support animal training to teach Deep Pressure Therapy:
The first and foremost step to teaching your dog Deep Pressure Therapy is to get it on the Sofa firstly. This practice will prepare the dog for anxiety and other critical situations. For that, you can use treats to lure your dog. Start by moving the treat to take it back to the Sofa and affirming the “paws up” command.
While using the command, instruct your dog to settle on your upper body near the chest. The former scenario is possible if your dog is small enough, but if it is big, of course, it won’t be possible for you to endure its weight. For large breeds, teach them to put their front paws or face on your chest.
Once your dog follows you, it needs practice. Use this technique several times. Repeat it gradually without using any treats. Treat or not, your dog should know to step up on your “paws up” command.
It is the next step after your dog follows the “Paw Up” command and holds it for a while. You should affirm the “Paws Off” command in a similar manner using the treat. This step also needs a lot of practice, just like the former ones.
Laying on Sofa
Professionals suggest practicing DPT with small lap dogs or medium-sized dogs like coolie. However, that doesn’t mean you can not teach big dogs for DPT. If you follow the proper procedure, you can also coach it to your big pooch. As mentioned earlier, use “paw-up” and “paw-down” steps to guide its upper paws on your chest.
It seems like practical training, but dogs are filled with emotions. Even without so much training, the dogs naturally know how to calm you when you are mentally stressed.
It is the last level of your Dog training. You need to mimic anxious behavior and check if your dog follows the commands or not. It is critical for your dog to properly follow the DPT for an actual situation when you will be anxious in real life and need its support.
Dog training is not difficult but actually something that you can enjoy doing with your dog. However, if you think you don’t have that much patience and time to train your dog, you can also look out for ESA dog training near me.
Training for emotional support dogs is not mandatory, but it is worthwhile. We highly suggest you train your dog for difficult situations.
Our Simple 3 Step Process For Your ESA Evaluation
2. Get Evaluated by a Licensed Professional.
3. Get Approved, and Receive Your ESA Letter Instantly via E-mail.
Looking To Apply For An Emotional Support Animal Letter?
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Are dogs trained to be emotional support?
No, dogs don’t need any training to be emotional support dogs. Even no animal needs special training to be an ESA, as long as its owner has an ESA Letter as proof of its mental illness.
However, you can still teach your dog some basic ESA training, i.e., “DEEP PRESSURE THERAPY,” which can help you in case of your anxiety attacks.