What Do Ptsd Service Dogs Do

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that affects people who have experienced or witnessed traumatic events. It’s characterized by symptoms such as anxiety, depression, flashbacks, and nightmares. PTSD service dogs are trained to assist individuals with the condition by providing emotional support and helping them cope with daily life.

What Do PTSD Service Dogs Do?

PTSD service dogs are specially trained to provide comfort and support to individuals living with PTSD. They help their handlers by performing tasks that alleviate symptoms of PTSD, such as:

1. Alerting their handler when they sense an oncoming panic attack: PTSD service dogs can detect changes in their handler’s breathing and heart rate, which are indicators of a panic attack. When they sense these changes, they will alert their handler to take action before the attack becomes too severe.

2. Providing physical contact and comfort: Many individuals with PTSD find it difficult to connect with others or feel safe in social situations. PTSD service dogs provide their handlers with physical contact that helps them feel grounded and connected.

3. Interrupting negative thoughts or behaviors: PTSD service dogs are trained to recognize signs of distress in their handlers and interrupt negative thoughts or behaviors before they escalate.

4. Accompanying their handler in public places: Many individuals with PTSD find it difficult to go out in public due to anxiety or fear of triggers. PTSD service dogs accompany their handlers in public places, providing a sense of safety and security.

5. Retrieving medication or other items: Some individuals with PTSD may have difficulty completing everyday tasks due to anxiety or depression. PTSD service dogs can retrieve medication or other necessary items for their handlers.

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How Are PTSD Service Dogs Trained?

PTSD service dogs undergo extensive training to learn how to perform the tasks required of them. The training process involves several stages:

1. Basic obedience training: All service dogs must have basic obedience training, including commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.”

2. Socialization training: PTSD service dogs must be comfortable in a variety of social situations, including crowded places and around other animals.

3. Task-specific training: PTSD service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks that assist their handlers with symptoms of PTSD.

4. Public access training: Service dogs must know how to behave appropriately in public places, including restaurants, stores, and other establishments.

5. Handler-specific training: PTSD service dogs are trained to respond to the specific needs of their handlers, including detecting panic attacks and interrupting negative thoughts or behaviors.


PTSD service dogs provide invaluable support to individuals living with PTSD. They are trained to detect changes in their handler’s behavior and provide physical contact and comfort when needed. They also help their handlers complete everyday tasks and accompany them in public places. If you or someone you know is living with PTSD, consider exploring the option of getting a PTSD service dog.