Top Service Dog Breeds For People with PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
While many of us equate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with military service, according to the US National Institute of Health, at any given time 24.4 million people or approximately 8% of the US population have PTSD. To put that into perspective, that’s equal to the entire population of Texas. And, it can develop at any age, including childhood.
Our canine companions are not new to helping us with our needs and have once again stepped up, helping us to cope with the feelings of fear and lack of control brought on by PTSD.
“Gumbo realizes that Eric is upset, even before Eric realizes it. Amazing instinct and the power to stop panic attacks and tackle PTSD.”
Today, we’re going to get to know these PTSD Service Dog breeds.
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We’ll get to the top dog breeds in a bit, but first, let’s look at Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how these service dogs help us to cope with a world of uncertainty.
PTSD is recognized as a psychobiological mental disorder than can affect survivors not only of combat experience, but also terrorist attacks, natural disasters, serious accidents, assault or abuse, or even sudden and major emotional losses.
“His whole nervous system gets highjacked and he is no longer here psychologically. He’s back someplace else where there’s danger.”
After the event, you may feel scared, confused, or angry. In PTSD, these symptoms don’t just simply go away. They may disrupt your life, making it hard to continue with your daily activities. Some cases may be delayed, with only subtle symptoms showing up initially and more severe symptoms emerging months after the traumatic event.
According to Canines for Hope, A Specially Trained PTSD Dog can provide a sense of security, calming effects, and physical exercise that can make a positive difference in the lives of those that suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Like all assistance dogs, a psychiatric service dog is individually trained to do work or perform tasks that mitigate his handler’s disability.
“Kisses from Frankie bring Allen back to the present.”
“Good kisses, good kisses.”
A trained PTSD Service Dogs can help adjust serotonin levels, help lower blood pressure, help with episodes of depression, help with feeling loved, provide companionship, calm his handler, and prevent people from crowding around or rushing up on his handler.
“A year ago, I couldn’t even walk to a 7-11 and get a pack of gum.”
Combine these with the other proven benefits to mental health of owning a dog and you’ll see why many are turning to our best friend for help.
So what are we looking for in a PTSD service dog candidate? According to thisableveteran.org, “Temperament is key. Our dogs must be steady in every situation, must never display aggression, must have a high level of self-control, and be physically able to perform the duties we ask of them. And, each PTSD service dogs must be seen as approachable to the general public.”
In the psychiatric dog field, there are two types of dog. One is the service dog and the other is the emotional support dog. While emotional support dogs are pets who do not need training other than perhaps basic obedience, service dogs are professionally trained to do specific tasks that help their handlers cope with a disability.
So which breeds are we turning to? Let’s find out. If you’ve watched our other videos about service dogs, you’ll see a few familiar faces in this list, but you’ll find a few new ones as well.
“He calls Axel a prescription on two legs.”
Once again, we’re starting off with the Labrador Retriever. The Lab is going to lead most lists of service dogs, and for good reason.
“Joe is 5 years old. He’s a black and tan lab.”
Due to his superior intelligence and gentle disposition, this easy-to-train pooch is the perfect candidate to be a service dog of any type, especially Psychiatric Service Dog, as a Lab is well-known known for his friendliness, sociability, and loving nature.
“The amazing thing about training service dogs for veterans is the ability to affect the way that these people live on a day to day basis. To be able to change the life of another human being.”
Likewise, the Golden Retriever will also always rise to the top of service dog candidates. He has the superior intelligence of the Labrador, as well as the disposition and trainability, required for a service dog, as well as a docile, safe and adaptable personality. And, he possesses an innate intuition as to the emotional state of his handler.
These two breeds are often mixed for service dog work, combining the distinct qualities that make the breeds superior service dogs. This mix, called a Goldador in most circles, is intelligent, highly trainable, and combines the tolerance of the Lab with the intuition of the Golden.
“No matter how you may feel about yourself, your dog loves you anyway.”
The brightest of the bright, this showy dog is easily trainable given his exceptional level of intelligence and eager-to-please personality. Affectionate and good natured, he excels in obedience training and makes for a wonderful, loyal companion and psychiatric service dog.
He easily excels in the job of a service dog and is widely noted for being low shedding and hypoallergenic. An added advantage is that his coat allows for some really cool hairdos.
Known as an exceptional guardian, military and service dog, the Dobie is also a trustworthy and affectionate breed whose commanding presence makes him a great fit for those suffering from PTSD and related panic attacks. When simple tasks such as a walk to the corner store are too daunting, the presence of this loyal friend can help deliver a sense of safety and security.
“They want to go to grocery stores. They wanna go to their daughter or son’s school and watch ‘em in a play.”
Easily one of the most intelligent breeds around, this working dog is devoted, friendly and intelligent, and his sole focus in life is to please his owner. Because Psychiatric Service dogs are intended to ground their owner during panic attacks by providing physical comfort, this pooch’s highly intuitive personality makes him a great fit for those prone to panic attacks. It might be noted that he is a high-energy dog and should likely be paired with an active handler.
Should you get a dog for your PTSD? Well, that’s beyond the scope of this video and should be discussed with both your doctor and family. But, I’ll provide a link to a good article from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as any resources I find below.
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