Emotional support dogs are pets that doctors often recommend for individuals with different mental problems. It hasn’t to be a strongly trained animal with tens of commands in its reserve. But despite the absence of excessively stringent requirements, such a dog must have some qualities, and it is still impossible to do without training.
The emotional support animal is a loyal and helpful companion, which can reduce mental problems, improve the overall inner state, and just help to go through a difficult life period. It can have a positive effect on people suffering from depression, anxiety, melancholy, loneliness, or even PTSD.
With preliminary preparation and a number of exercises, a dog will provide a higher level of support and positive influence.
There are no hard and fast rules about that matter. You can start training either a young dog or an adult animal. There will be a benefit in any case. However, it would be desirable to start training as early as possible – because the younger a dog, the easier it can learn commands and anchor the desired behavior in its subconscious.
It is also important to stick to the chosen training method and not change it in the middle. Otherwise, it will strongly complicate the learning process. Also, make a workout schedule and stick to it. Such an approach is going to help you in creating a new habit for yourself and your dog.
If you have a puppy, keep your workouts short, up to 5 minutes. Puppies are able to concentrate for a small amount of time, and too long training will cause dislike and even rejection of such activities. That rule can be learned during almost any training classes.
Dog training for emotional support can be roughly divided into several stages.
The first one is the obedience training. This is the basis for further development: without submission, a dog will never be able to provide good emotional support. This includes training in basic commands (sit, come, down, etc.) and socialization outside your house, which helps to prevent some anti-social things like unexpected barking, unreasonable rushing, and others.
Having finished with the above things, you can start basic training. At this stage, you should teach your dog the main techniques for emotional support. Let’s take a closer look at each of these techniques:
Some studies show that a dog’s presence calms people and helps to fight against stress and anxiety. For example, an appropriately trained dog can slightly pressure the owners’ body, chest, or other body parts, causing a calming effect. Here are the exact steps to teach your dog such a command:
It is a very useful command that will make your dog get calm when it is necessary. Simply put, your dog will start to control its emotions and impulses. How to teach:
This command takes its name from “deep pressure therapy”. It is similar to “Hug” order but may be applied in a sitting position. This order makes your dog to drop its paws and head on your knees and freeze in that position.
It is very important that your dog learns to recognize your anxiety on its own. After all, you will not always be able to call her and give commands. Sometimes there is neither strength nor desire for this. Therefore, the dog itself must come and help to cope with mental problems. Here’s how to teach it:
You can definitely teach your dog to be an ESA yourself. But if you want to speed up the training of your dog, it would be best to contact a specialist. Search for a center – just google “Emotional Support training near me” and scroll through the results.
An emotional support dog is an excellent helper in dealing with all kinds of mental problems. In addition, the very process of learning can dispel boredom and even temporarily protect against anxiety and depression. Isn’t it great?
Click on a star to rate it!
Let us improve this post!
Thanks for your feedback!