There are a lot of misconceptions about emotional support animals, but training one is not as complicated or complex as many people make it out to be. Here’s what you need to know before getting an ESA.

The “how to train an emotional support dog for anxiety” is a guide that will teach you the basics of training your dog. It includes information on how to get started, what kind of training you should do, and what kind of food to feed your new friend.

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Anyone who owns a dog in their life understands the emotional stability they may give.

While most dog owners will benefit from this, certain persons with mental or emotional disorders may find that having a dog as a friend is vital to their health and stability.

As a result, therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists have begun to include Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) in their treatment plans.

Cats, birds, and other animals, in addition to dogs, are often employed as ESAs because to their devotion and trainability.

How to train an emotional support dog: the basics - Golden Retriever puppy in a down-stay wearing light blue training vestEmotional Support Dog Training – The Basics of Emotional Support Dog Training

Service dogs, such as those employed by the blind or hearing handicapped, are not ESA dogs.

Service dogs, in instance, are granted special permission to accompany their owners almost anywhere, including restaurants and shopping malls, but ESA dogs do not have this privilege.

Furthermore, Service Dogs are trained specifically for their owners’ requirements, such as guiding a blind person around an item or alerting a deaf person to an alarm sound.

While ESA dogs need training as well, it is far less specialized.

Any dog with the correct temperament may be taught to be an ESA dog, and we will cover the following topics in this article:

  • The fundamentals of why you may need an ESA
  • What breeds of dogs make excellent ESAs?
  • What is the best way to teach your dog to be an ESA?
  • How to Apply for an ESA

Basically, you’ll learn everything you need to know about training your dog to play this important function for you or someone else who needs a little help.

What Types Of Emotional Support Can A Dog Offer?

Dogs are a beneficial emotional influence in their families’ life in general, but what are the extra advantages and arguments for owning an ESA dog?

  • Having a dog may help you relax physically because it generates endorphins and oxytocin, which both help to decrease stress and contribute to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels. Exercise has a similar impact on the body, and frequently walking your dog may add to this advantage.
  • In social contexts, many mental and emotional problems cause individuals to feel alone or worried. A dog’s company and devotion may help alleviate feelings of loneliness, and their presence can offer their owner confidence and security during social situations.
  • A dog may help alleviate anxiety by providing a feeling of comfort and familiarity, particularly when entering unfamiliar or uncertain settings.
  • Dogs may give a diversion from negative thoughts, reducing the stress that a person may feel as a result of excessively negative internal commentary.
  • Lethargy and a lack of motivation are common symptoms of various illnesses, such as Depression. Caring for a dog may establish a routine that provides structure to a person’s life and encourages them to engage in physical exercise.

ESA dogs may also be trained to do specialized stress-reduction activities, such as Deep Pressure Therapy (more on that later!).

Psychiatric Service Dogs vs. Emotional Support Dogs

Psychiatric Service Dogs, on the other hand, need more particular training and are often allocated to persons whose mental or emotional state makes it difficult for them to accomplish day-to-day chores. 

A Psychiatric Service Animal, for example, may be assigned to someone whose mental handicap causes them to get confused and roam.

Their service dogs will have received special training to draw their owners’ attention away from risky circumstances, such as walking into a busy road.

ESA dogs are not legally required to be trained, but they must be well-behaved so that they do not create a nuisance to neighbors or the general public.

This is particularly necessary if a person will be requesting special permission to fly with their ESA or living in a no-pet zone.

Is it possible for my dog to become an ESA dog?

The presence of an ESA dog must be prescribed by a doctor or mental health expert in order to be formally labeled as such.

However, any dog may be taught to do this function or to offer unofficial emotional support to someone.

While any dog may be taught to be an ESA, they must have a calm and pleasant disposition, which implies that certain breeds are more suited to the job than others.

Some breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, and German Shepherds, should be avoided, but Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Poodles, and German Shepherds are all excellent choices.

However, these are not hard and fast guidelines, and a dog’s breed alone will not determine whether or not it is fit.

When considering whether or not your dog might make a suitable ESA, consider the following characteristics:

  • Your dog should not be extremely excited or rowdy, since this may make them difficult to teach, and this sort of behavior can add to the stress level.
  • Your dog should not be so fearful of you that he or she is unable to connect with you while you are going through a difficult time.
  • Your dog should be sociable and know how to behave with other dogs as well as humans.
  • They should be familiar with the fundamental commands of sit, stay, down, and heel.
  • Selecting a dog that barks excessively or jumps or lunges at humans should be avoided.

Of course, if you already have an emotional bond with a dog, this may be quite important and may outweigh some of the other considerations. It may be worthwhile to put in the additional work required to successfully train them.

If you want a new dog, rather than a dog with whom you already have a relationship, you should opt for a one-year-old puppy. The dog is still highly trainable at this age, but you can learn a lot more about their personality than you can with a puppy. 

They should have a peaceful and laid-back demeanor, and you should sense a strong bond with the animal right away.

It’s frequently difficult to explain why we connect with certain animals but not others, and sometimes you simply have to trust your instincts.

What is the best way to teach your dog to be an ESA??

Simply having a dog around may help you relax – as long as they aren’t ruining your furniture or barking till three a.m.; this is why not just any dog will suffice.

A well-behaved dog, on the other hand, may help give their owner a focus and rhythm to their day that they would not otherwise have, can offer company in times of loneliness, and can be a warm body to snuggle when you’re feeling vulnerable emotionally.

This implies that ESA dogs should be well-trained in general, reducing their chances of engaging in stress-inducing behavior.

Dog training may be done in a variety of methods, many of which are beneficial. The goal is to choose a strategy and adhere to it, as well as to maintain a consistent training routine.

There’s no getting around the reality that training takes time, and giving your dog two or three 10-to-15 minute training sessions each day is likely to provide the best results.

Positive reinforcement, which rewards excellent conduct, should always be used in training, while punishment should never be used.

Punishment may result in the development of new layers of undesirable conduct.

If you penalize your dog for peeing inside the house rather than teaching them where not to urinate, they may learn when not to urinate and simply respond to nature’s call while you are not there.

Positive reinforcement, which clearly encourages excellent conduct, does not cause the same uncertainty.

After you’ve taught your pet a desired behavior, use the three Ds: Duration, Distance, and Distraction to further entrench the habit. This entails: 

  1. Duration – Teaching your dog to hold or sustain an activity for a long time until you tell him to stop. Start with three seconds and work your way up to far longer lengths of time.
  2. Distance – Teach your dog to react even if you are a long way away. Giving your dog the order and then gradually moving away while needing them to retain the command is what this entails. You then return to the beginning to let them go.
  3. Distraction – Teaching your dog to obey your directions while being surrounded by distractions. During training sessions, you may incorporate other people chatting or even other animals in the area to pose as distractions. This allows you to train your dog to concentrate on your orders.

Dog owners are often urged to retain their feeling of calm and authority when directing their dogs, since canines are better at picking up on body language than the spoken word, and your current mood might undercut your spoken instruction.

This may be a challenge for ESA dog owners, since they often require the most control of their dogs at times of distress.

This is why it’s critical that ESA dogs be well-trained so that their rewarded behavior shows up even when their owners are under a lot of emotional stress.

Anxiety Techniques with a Focus

ESA dogs may also be taught a variety of skills aimed at reducing stress and anxiety in stressful situations. 

Deep Pressure Therapy is one of the most prevalent methods taught to ESA dogs (DPT).

This is the practice of Putting Pressure On on certain parts of your body, such as your chest, in order to alleviate emotional and mental suffering.

Larger varieties will lay their head and paws on you, whereas little ESA dogs will sit on top of you in a suitable area.

They must also be trained to be calm and docile at this period, since this will help you feel the same way.

When you need a few seconds to unwind, the last thing you want is them licking your face and barking for attention.

To teach your dog this skill, you’ll need to go through a few steps.

Taking A Seat On The Sofa

Assuming you’ll need to sit someplace comfy while getting DPT, such as your couch, you’ll need to educate your dog to join you on the sofa as well as when it’s time to get down.

You should use instructions like “paws up” and “paws down” for these activities. 

Then, like with any behavior, it’s a question of teaching your dog what is anticipated by delivering the order, demonstrating them the action, and rewarding them when they answer appropriately, as is customary.

You’ll want to keep practicing this behavior with them, depending only on praise as a reward, eliminating the need for additional sorts of rewards like as snacks.

Putting Pressure On

You’ll need to educate your dog how to place themselves right on your body and apply pressure while staying calm after they’ve learnt to join you on the couch.

This will need the same procedure of demonstrating the desired position and linking it with a command word, as well as having a command word to end the combat.

You’ll want to keep them in the position for a few minutes after you’ve gotten them there, keeping a calm demeanor.

If you have a little dog that will sit on top of you, there should be no issue putting enough pressure.

Larger dogs that are merely laying their heads and paws on you may need to be taught to apply more weight, but if they are comfortable, they will naturally shift their weight to you.

Anxiety Symptoms

Now that your dog understands what to do when you’re concerned, you’ll need to educate them how to recognize anxiety signs and give stress relief.

This entails simulating the sort of anxious that you often exhibit, then utilizing the command and reward system, followed by practice without reward, to train your dog to perform DPT in this circumstance.

Your dog should eventually be able to recognize anxious indicators as cues to this behavior, as well as your established instructions.

Is it necessary for my dog to get certified as an ESA?

While your dog does not require a license to offer you with emotional support, getting an ESA license for your dog has several advantages.

You will be allowed to live with your dog even in areas that have a no-pet policy, such as hotels.

You may also travel with your dog if you notify your airline of the circumstance at least 48 hours ahead of time so that they can appropriately accommodate you.

Laws change on a regular basis. Make sure you’re familiar with the current regulations for traveling with your Emotional Support Animal and the regulations for dwelling with your ESA.

Obtaining an ESA license for your dog is more about you than it is about your pet.

You’ll need to have a valid diagnosis of the disease that necessitates the use of an ESA from a certified mental health practitioner, who will then be allowed to write you an ESA prescription.

They must next present you with an ESA letter that is on their official letterhead, including their professional details, including their license number, and is less than one year old.

The following are some of the conditions that are often acknowledged to benefit from the presence of an ESA:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism
  • Bipolar
  • Cognitive Disturbance
  • Depression
  • Anxiety Disorder in General
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a kind of anxiety disorder
  • Anxiety that is severe

There is no legal necessity for ESA dogs to wear official identifiers, but if they will be with you on a regular basis, it may be a good idea to invest in an identifying vest so that people know your dog is there in a particular function and queries regarding their presence are limited.

The Final Word

Dogs are wonderful Emotional Support Animals because they have the ability to relieve tension and anxiety in their owners.

While just owning a dog may offer a person with the emotional support they need to get through difficult times, having an ESA dog can provide another layer of assistance. 

ESA dogs should be well-trained so that they are simple to direct in high-stress circumstances and serve as a source of comfort rather than worry.

ESA dogs may also be taught to participate in particular activities that relieve anxiety, such as Deep Pressure Therapy.

While anybody may teach their dog to be an Emotional Support Animal, it is a good idea to register as requiring an ESA if you qualify.

This will enable you to live with your pet in non-pet homes and fly with them at no additional expense.

Knowing that you can have your dog with you during these crucial times can help alleviate worry.

People impersonating Emotional Support Animals and Service Dogs is one of our top pet peeves. Please do not bring your own dog and claim it to be an ESA or Service Dog if you do not need one of these specialist canines.

It might be challenging to train your dog in any capacity, from basic to advanced. Please contact a licensed professional dog trainer if you want help.

If you have an Emotional Support Animal, please share some of the training techniques you utilized in the comments area below.

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How to train an emotional support dog the basics - Golden Retriever puppy in down position on the floor wearing light blue vest.Working with a little Golden Retriever to become an Emotional Support Dog

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The “petco emotional support dog training” is a guide that will teach you how to train your emotional support dog. This guide will teach you the basics of training an emotional support dog, such as what type of food to feed it and what types of exercises are best for them.

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