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How to Train a Psychiatric Service Dog

How to Train a Psychiatric Service Dog

Anup 10 March 22, 2023
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When it comes to training a service dog you basically have 3 options which are listed below; 

Self Training. According to the American Disability Act and the requirements of the Department of Transportation, the law permits owners to self-train their service animals. Psychiatric Service Dog tasks are some of the easiest tasks to train your service dog to perform for your psychiatric needs. The first step would be to pass General Public Access Test, this will  ensure good manners and behavior in your PSD whenever you’re in a public place. However, many who require the services of a Psychiatric Service Dog understandably may not have the time, energy, or desire to research training methods and best practices specific to PSDs in order to best teach their new assistance animal. Fortunately, there are other options available.  

Purchasing from a Service Dog Organization. There are many organizations through which individuals can request a service dog. An animal from one of these service dog organizations will have already received extensive training and will be ready to assist you as soon as you bring your PSD home. However, the average cost of an animal from such an organization can range from $15,000-$30,000.

Working with a Professional Dog Trainer. This is the most popular option and cost effective also. A service dog trainer brings years of experience and knowledge about animal behavior to the table and can quickly train your dog and teach handler how to train service dog when not in class. The trainer will help determine the tasks handler requires service dog to perform and pass the General Public Access Test guidelines. This type of formal and structured training is ideal, considering that the Department of Transportation (DOT) permits airlines the right to ask PSD owners to submit a certification form before departure that includes proof that their PSD has been trained to assist with a disability and is capable of good behavior on a flight. 

Here is a link to national list of trainers that can help you get started

What Training Requirements are Needed for Psychiatric Service Dog?

Service Animals and Psychiatric Service Dogs are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, psychiatric service dogs are entitled to the same federally protected rights as service animals. Psychiatric Service Dogs are granted the same public access rights as service animals where pets or emotional support animals are not allowed. These rights also extend to travel privileges in airline cabins without owners having to pay extra fees as well as fair accommodation in housing–even if the property has a ‘no pets’ policy. 

In order to meet this standard your psychiatric service dog must be suitably trained.

This is because the Department of Transportation allows airlines to require forms attesting to a service animal’s behavior and training before the service dog is cleared to board a flight. The DOT also allows airlines to refuse transportation to service animals that exhibit aggressive behavior.

The training required for a Psychiatric Service Dog serves two purposes: it ensures your service animal displays good manners at all times while in public places, and it also ensures that your service animal is able to perform a specific task or type of work that is directly related to your mental or emotional disability (a requirement for all PSDs). 

There are two components of an effective training regimen for psychiatric service dogs:

  • The General Public Access Test, which instills good manners in service dogs, ensuring that they behave appropriately in public settings  
  • Specialized Task/Work Training, which satisfies the requirement of all PSDs to be able to perform a specific action that’s directly related to their handler’s disability 

Interested in Receiving Psychiatric Service Dog Recommendation Letter Click Here!

10 Replies to “How to Train a Psychiatric Service Dog”

    1. Hi Lee,
      When you book your flight with airline go to their website and in search bar type service animal. This will take you to their service dog page, you will want to fill out the DOT form on that page and email it back to the airline. Choose the self train box on the form. The airline will then issue you a DOT registration number for your service dog for future flights.

  1. I have my service dog in training(myself training) but I need help with him. Duke is registered.
    Registration # 1588435416. Handler, Candice Clark(myself) How can I get us trained together? I don’t have money. I’m disabled. But we both could use professional help. Do y’all have grants or anything to pay for training? Please contact me. He has insurance, up to gate on everything. He is going to be 1 April 25th 2023. Please help. And if you have a location near me would be amazing.

  2. I need help with two issues.

    1. I registered my dog with you as an emotional support animal and issued a number. I saved info, bit I switched phones. I need to get that registration number if possible.

    2. I need to find PSD Trainer in Cleveland, Ohio

  3. I registered my pup and got a register number for him. It looks looks legit but it was free. Is there some database I can check to know if he’s on it?

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