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Old 03-20-2014, 08:02 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Stress Relief Dog

I am not sure how to go about asking this. But my dog has been a wonderful stress and anxiety relief dog for me. I would like to get my dog registered to be a stress relief dog for me. I have not been to the Dr. for this but plan on going. How easy or how difficult is it to have your Dr. prescribe your dog to you as a stress relief dog.

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Old 03-20-2014, 09:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There are a lot of factors without being a fake SD (which is illegal).

You have to have a condition serious enough that the dog will be actually DOING something to prevent self-harm or harm to others, not just kind of making you feel better by being around. That is between you and your doctor to establish.

THEN -- once it is established you do indeed have PTSD or another condition that can be mitigated by the presence of a dog. . . .

Your dog or another such dog must be of the personality 1000% safe in public, trained in more than just basic manners and skills, the CGC is preferred to be obtained though not required (yet), AND the dog must be specifically trained in tasks to help with your disability.

It is a HUGE liability to take your dog with you. Are you willing to lose everything over taking the dog should it bite or damage something or misbehave and a business owner pursue it? Lots of business owners are fed up with fake or marginally/minimally trained SD's and they are willing to risk a little to stop it.

Are you and your dog willing to deal with what the public will do to you? There are instances of people really being awful to SD's -- touching them, sending their children to touch them, kicking them, knocking the owner dowm and laughing, giving food to the dog, claiming the dog bit them when it didn't, hitting the dog with a shopping cart, etc. Is the dog flexible enough to handle any situation flawlessly and calmly? How about jury duty? Stores with food? Large crowds? Public tranportation? Would your dog EVER bark, lunge, potty, growl, or freak out for ANY reason? It is A LOT to ask of a dog. Most dogs cannot do it. Even ones bred for it and trained from puppyhood by families who are supported by dog trainers and very detailed methods a high percentage wash out of the program.

If your doctor indeed deems a SD as right for your condition, do work with a trainer intensely to evaluate and train your dog. Sure it helps a lot to have a dog with you but it can also be a huge pain and even a risk so you must weigh all aspects.
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Old 03-20-2014, 10:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It sounds like you are talking about getting your dog recognized as an Emotional Support Animal. Might want to start with the basics: Emotional support animal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It might also be good to read up on the difference between Emotional Support Animals and Service Dogs: Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals | VAntage Point

Usually the purpose of getting a dog a letter saying they are an ESA is to secure housing privileges. It does not give them any access rights. Is this your goal, to make it easier to rent with a GSD? If so, then I would suggest taking the Canine Good Citizen class and test with your dog. It won't guarantee housing, but there are some insurance companies that require it, and some housing that bans GSDs will make an exception if they have a CGC. Plus it's training that every dog should have.

Beware of any online services offering to register your dog as a service dog or ESA. Misrepresentation is illegal and these companies are scams.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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In the U.S. the proper term is Emotional Support Animal or Emotional Support Dog in your case. If you live in your own home then there is no reason to worry about working through a doctor.

Quote from SDC:
An Emotional Support Animal is a dog or other common domestic animal that provides theraputic support to a disabled or elderly owner through companionship, non-judgmental positive regard, affection, and a focus in life. If a doctor determines that a patient with a disabling mental illness would benefit from the companionship of an emotional support animal, the doctor write letters supporting a request by the patient to keep the ESA in "no pets" housing or to travel with the ESA in the cabin of an aircraft.

Emotional Support Animals | Service Dog Central

As you can see the only benefit to going through the process is if you want to keep your dog in no-pet housing or to fly in cabin with you. An ESA is not able to go anywhere else with the owner/handler where other pets are not allowed. An ESA is NOT a Service Dog and as such the owner does not have the Department of Justice Public Access Rights to take their dog with them as would a handler with a disability with their disability mitigating task trained dog.
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Last edited by ILGHAUS; 03-21-2014 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 03-21-2014, 06:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If you plan on moving into a no-pet rental, you may be interested in the information that can be found at

Emotional Support Animals in Housing | Service Dog Central
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