Everything You Need To Know About Emotional Support Dog Training


emotional support dog training

Emotional support dog training is not as intense as service dog training. This is a training given to dogs by a licensed therapist or doctor to make them supportive to distressed humans. If you want to give emotional support training to your dog, you need to first figure out whether your dog qualifies to become an emotional support animal.

What Qualities should an Emotional Support Dog Possess?

A dog sitting in the water

Mostly dogs possess a natural tendency to be caring and emotional towards their pet parents. But, if your dog is too over-excitable or boisterous, he/she may not qualify for emotional support training. Even if your dog is too timid to help you in your darkest hour, then too, it will not qualify. Such dogs may need more time and training to qualify as ESA. Sometimes, humans get under severe depression or such other health conditions, that their therapists recommend them to get an ESA to help them with their diagnosis. A calm and laid-back canine is often helpful in such conditions.

Dog Breeds that mostly Qualify for ESA

Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Poodles and Goldendoodles are the preferred choices for ESA. Some other mixed breeds can also become great ESAs. 

Quick Training with Basics

Once you have got  your dog, you can begin training with basics of obedience. Train your dog to sit, stay, come, heel, etc. It is better to start training your dog at an early age to be able to make it into a ESA. You also need to train your dog to be more socialized. Train it not to bark, lunge, jump or beg for food when out in public. If  you do not want to train your dog yourself, you can find a dog trainer as well.

Quick Trick to Teach your Dog to Calm your Anxiety

A woman sitting at a desk looking at a dog

If you often get panic attacks or feel anxious, you can teach your dog a DPT – Deep Pressure Therapy that can calm you immediately. The dog has to apply gentle pressure on your body, chest or any other body part. Smaller dogs can be taught to lie directly across your chest. Here is how you can train your dog DPT:

  • On the Sofa and Paws Up

You can coax your dog on the sofa by giving it some treats. When he gets on the sofa, say the command ‘ Paws Up’. 

  • Practice

Keep on practicing the ‘paws up’ command with treats, until your dog knows that this commands indicates that he has to get on the sofa. 

  • Paws Off

Next, teach your dog the ‘paws off’ command. This is the same as paws on, but in this command, your dog has to learn to get off the sofa. Practice this command too regularly.

  • Laying/Sitting on Sofa

Next, your dog has to learn to lay besides  you. For that, first you need to give it ‘paws up’ command. When your dog gets close to you on the sofa, use the paws off command for him to understand. Repeat this continuously until it understands that it needs to lean into your lap and apply pressure and when you are done, give the ‘paws off’ command for it to get down.

After you have trained your dogs with these basic Deep Pressure Techniques, you can further train it to understand your signs of anxiety. Emotional Support Dogs have a unique way of calming stressed people. Some instinctively pick up your needs, while some may need a little training.

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