Psychiatric Service Dogs

Psychiatric service dogs are a specific type of service dog that is trained to assist their handler with a psychiatric disability or a mental disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and more.

Psychiatric service dogs are a true service animal and much more than just a pet. Service animals are highly trained to help their owner with tasks that they cannot do themselves that are considered life-limiting. A psychiatric service dog is a service animal that is trained to aid its owner with everyday tasks and to limit certain behaviors associated with a mental illness.

Psychiatric service dogs, like all service animals, are trained to help with day-to-day activities. In addition, they can be trained to detect the onset of psychiatric episodes and perform certain actions to lessen the severity of an episode, shorten its duration, or seek help when necessary.

Some of the functions and tasks that psychiatric service dogs perform include, but are not limited to:

  • Interrupt harmful behaviors such as self-injury or nervous habits such as pulling out hair
  • Remind owners when it is time to take a medication
  • Retrieve items needed for their owner to take medication or feel comforted
  • Guide owners out of situations where they are triggered or feel unsafe
  • Serve as a brace if the owner becomes dizzy or disoriented
  • Ground the owner during a panic attack by physically comforting them
  • Accompany the owner into strange or difficult situations
  • Provide a link to reality for owners suffering from hallucinations or paranoid delusions

The primary job of a psychiatric service dog is to support and help their owner as needed. Through a psychiatric service dog, those with mental health issues can have a greater sense of security, maintain control, and enjoy more independence.

All of us at Collaborate Counseling are here to help you learn more about the benefits of a psychiatric service dog and to work through any issues that trouble you. Contact us today to learn more or to set up an appointment.

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