A service dog operates in a different capacity than an emotional support dog. While typically a service dog may assist with physical tasks, the role of an emotional support dog is to support their owners in an emotional capacity. Unlike is required for a service dog, a dog doesn’t need any kind of specific training to be an ESA dog. However, they do need to be well-disciplined and behaved. Therefore, the kind of dog breed chosen can have a great effect on the handler’s experience with their ESA dog. So, to make your experience with your ESA dog a joyful and successful one, here are some tips for training an emotional support dog.

The Dog’s Temperament

Do you already own a dog, that you would like to begin to operate as an emotional support dog? If so, then you must begin by analyzing the dog’s temperament. Is the dog shy? Does the dog have issues with anxiety? One key trait that your ESA dog must have to be successful, is that it must be a social dog. Your dog must be able to get along well with other dogs and people. If it doesn’t, then this can make it hard for the dog to operate in a capacity of emotional support for you, as a dog that doesn’t get along well with other dogs or humans can create stressful situations. For example, the dog may lose its head and go on a barking tirade at other humans or dogs, or even attempt to jump or lunge at them. While the dog may still make a great pet, you maybe should consider getting another dog for emotional support, or having the current dog trained to be more well-behaved.

Deep Pressure Therapy Training

If you are purchasing a dog, keep in mind, that the earlier the dog is trained, the better. It is great if you could get a puppy. Either the puppy or dog should already be trained in the basic commands of sit, stay, etc. or you should teach them. Starting with the basic commands is a must, as it is hard for the dog to act as emotional support for you, if they are stressing you out and not even listening to you.

Now, you can begin to train them in Deep Pressure Therapy, which is a great way for your dog to provide you with mental and emotional relief, by applying a gentle amount of pressure to an area of your body, like your chest. A small dog can use his whole body. Once the emotional support dog can get on and off the sofa at your command, then you can train them on how to lay their body to apply pressure to a particular area of yours.

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