Training service dogs for individuals living with Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD) requires very specialized knowledge and skills – in both the
trainer and the dog. These service dogs must possess a perceptive nature, a
courteous, compliant temperament and an intuitive spirit in order to perform their
duties independently when the individual is facing a crisis.
CASH’s training team, Riedel K9, works to identify and evaluate these unique dogs, and then train them to recognize and interrupt the behaviors associated with anxiety, panic attacks and nightmares. CASH’s trainers evaluate both dogs and applicants in order to effectively pair a successful team.
Each dog is trained to a standard, and additional training is customized to the individual needs of the applicant. CASH/Riedel K9 is
committed to working together with the applicant and their service dog as they
learn to work as a team to increase physical, emotional and social self-sufficiency.
The dogs are trained to perform many services including, but not limited to:
- Alleviate anxiety/distress and provide psycho-emotional grounding by nudging, pawing, and leaning.
- Assist a person in waking from night terrors and nightmares.
- Distract a person from an event or specific maladaptive behavior by nudging, pawing, and licking.
- Bring medication to a person on command or when alerted to do so by a timer/alarm.
- Stand in front of or circle an individual in crowded areas in order to create personal space in a non-aggressive manner.
- Lead an individual safely to a building exit when experiencing an anxiety or panic attack.
- Get help by alerting another person or activate an emergency button or alert system.
Please note a trained PTSD service dog is a tool and is not intended to substitute or replace current therapeutic or medication treatment plan.
Are you a veteran in crisis or concerned about one? Connect with the Veterans Crisis Line to reach caring, qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of them are Veterans themselves. Visit www.veteranscrisisline.net to reach a responder.