Posts Tagged ‘psychiatric service dog’

Do you have psychological or emotional disorder that make it difficult to live a normal life? If so, you may qualify for a Psychiatric Service Dog. To learn how to register your dog as a Psychiatric Service Dog, keep reading.

A Psychiatric Service Dog is a type of Service Dog trained to do specific tasks for the individual with a mental or emotional disability. This can include waking up their handler, alerting the handler that a panic attack is coming, and calming their handler when they are experiencing distress.

Based on your personal condition and your disability, you may be able to train and use your current pet as your Psychiatric Service Dog.

In this article, we will review the tasks and training required for your Psychiatric Service Dog, as well as the registration process. Below is a summary of how to register your Psychiatric Service Dog:

How to Register your Psychiatric Service Dog

Step 1 – Behavior Check

A Psychiatric Service Dog (PSD) is a type of service animal and is held to the same standards as other service dogs. Not all dogs have the proper temperament to become a PSD. Make sure your PSD is well mannered and in your control at all times.

Step 2 – Training

Training is essential. Train your dog to provide a service for your mental or emotional disability. Follow this link for tips on how you can train your service dog.  

Step 3 – Registration

Register your Psychiatric Service Dog on Service Dog Certifications. Registering your service dog is not federally mandated and should only be done if you deem it necessary. Especially PSD handlers with invisible disabilities may prefer to carry a Psychiatric Service Dog Identification Card to clearly signal their animal is a Service Dog. It may avoid confrontations and discrimination.

Step 4 – Practice

After you receive your identification card, certificate, and/or vest. Practice informing your friends and family that your animal is a service dog, not a pet. If your service dog is not used to wearing a vest, have them wear it around the house or at the park, so they become accustomed. Once you feel comfortable, try going out in public and see how you do. It’s okay to go slow.

Registering Your Psychiatric Service Dog

Registering your psychiatric service dog can provide a layer of privacy and protection when out in public. The identification card and vest signal to others that your animal is a medical device and should be by your side at all times.

Although it is not a legal requirement, registering your Service Dog can eliminate any confusion you may have in public places.

In addition, although not legally required, you may want to have a letter from your doctor stating your disability and a note from your veterinarian stating your dog is in good health. With this documentation handy, you can feel more confident and calm.

Another option available to you is to register your Psychiatric Service Dog online. You can do this by completing a form, uploading your dog’s picture, and paying a fee. Once your dog is registered, you will be provided with identification in the form of a vest for your dog, a certificate, and an ID card.

Get a Psychiatric Service Dog and Live Your Life

If you have a mental or emotional disability and believe a Psychiatric Service Dog may help you, start the process today. Whether you purchase a dog that has already been trained or you have trained your dog yourself, having a canine supporter can help you live a fulfilling life again.

For a person living with anxiety or depression, even the most trivial tasks can feel exhausting. To deal with their mental illness, some take medication or schedule consistent therapy sessions. But it’s not widely known that anyone with diagnosed anxiety or depression also qualifies for a psychiatric service dog.

What is a psychiatric service dog?

A psychiatric service dog is a dog that assists a person with a mental illness with their everyday activities. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), these dogs perform tasks for their handlers which relate directly to the disability. These dogs typically accompany their handler both inside and outside of their homes and will spend the majority, if not all day, assisting, alerting, and supporting.

Having a service dog does come with some dismay from other individuals who may not understand the handler’s needs. Thus, some handlers decide to also register their Service Dog in order to make the dog’s purpose more transparent.

Who qualifies for a psychiatric service dog?

Potential handlers must undergo a psychiatric evaluation from a healthcare professional. This may be a:

Physician Nurse practitioner Licensed social worker Psychologist Psychiatrist

The professional will discuss the mental experiences and evaluate the particular symptoms. They will provide a diagnosis that is most closely related to what their patient is experiencing.

A person that is diagnosed with a mental illness qualifies for a psychiatric service dog.

The most common mental illnesses that service dogs can assist with are:

Anxiety Depression Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Disordered Eating Panic Disorder Agoraphobia  Service dogs can help overcome diagnosed anxiety or depression. I have anxiety and/or depression. How do I get a psychiatric service dog?

In order to get a psychiatric service dog for anxiety or depression, these steps need to be taken:

1. Get an official diagnosis.

To comply with the ADA, each individual with a disability needs to have a recorded diagnosis from a healthcare professional. Make an appointment with your general practitioner to discuss your symptoms. Your general practitioner may be able to diagnose you, or they may refer you to a mental health professional. If you already see a mental health professional, obtain written proof of your diagnosis and keep it for your records. Common symptoms of anxiety and depression include:

Feelings of helplessness Loss of appetite Loss of interest in daily activities Stressing or obsessing that is out of proportion to the actual event Feeling nervous Increased heart rate Trouble concentrating  2. Obtain your new service dog.

The ADA doesn’t have requirements for where you get your dog. You may purchase a dog from a breeder, from a site that trains service dogs, or you could rescue one from your local shelter.

When selecting a dog, be sure to look for one that has the temperament needed to be a service dog. They must be calm, patient, eager to please, a fast learner, determined, and have no history of aggression. Without these particular traits, your dog may struggle and become distressed and unhappy. 

3. Train your service dog to complete tasks relevant to your particular symptoms.

The ADA requires that all service dogs must be trained to perform tasks that will assist you directly with your mental illness. Service dogs for anxiety and depression may complete the following tasks:

Detecting panic attacks before they happen Providing grounding and physical stimulation during panic attacks  Fetching medication and water   Accompanying their handler outside  Fetching a phone during emergencies  Start your new life

A person with anxiety, depression, or any other mental illness could greatly benefit from a service dog. These dogs can help individuals navigate through their day-to-day lives, and provide the extra support needed for them to feel more comfortable. With the support of a psychiatric service dog, a person has the potential to live a happier, more fulfilled life.

If you have a physical, emotional, or mental disorder, then you will most likely qualify for a service dog. Below are the laws and a list of mental, emotional, and physical disabilities that may qualify you for a service dog.Read more →