Animals are known to help people deal with different things, among them mental disabilities. However, different rules and definitions govern the use of animals and the choice of the animal for use depends on the different daily needs of people with disabilities as well as the circumstances facing them.
Most people assume that service dogs are used when helping people with physical disabilities such as blindness but the truth is that they also help with psychiatric illnesses and medical conditions such as anxiety.
According to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), a service dog can be defined as a dog that has been trained to perform specific tasks or work for people living with different disabilities. The ADA only recognizes miniature horses and dogs as service animals.
Service Dogs and Emotional Support Animals
It is important to note that service dogs are not pets, but working animals. Animals that are kept to provide emotional support and comfort for people with disabilities or people dealing with medical conditions are not recognized as service animals but as emotional support animals.
While psychiatric service dogs are trained in skills that are important when supporting people living with disabilities, emotional support animals are not. People using emotional support animals do not have to go with their animals everywhere they are going, while those with service dogs have to.
In general, a service dog performs specific tasks for people living with disabilities while an emotional support animal provides comfort for people with certain medical conditions.
People living with disabilities are allowed to use their service dogs anywhere they are going and organizations, businesses, and buildings are required to abide by these regulations.
Do Service Dogs Have Special Clothing?
There is no requirement for service dogs to have any special clothing such as harnesses or vests. This is important especially for people suffering from social anxiety since they might find it traumatizing especially when other people ask them about the dogs and why they need them. They are, however, encouraged to talk about the dogs when they feel comfortable.
That notwithstanding, there exist some regulations when it comes to leashes. Service dogs are required to have some sort of a harness or a leash. If this interferes with the work of the animal, then you should be able to use hand signals or voice to control the dog.
How Service Dogs Help with Anxiety
Service dogs help people cope with anxiety in different ways. They are tasked with performing different things, key among them;
- Letting their owners know about situations that might lead to rising anxiety for them to leave before getting overwhelmed.
- Reminding their owners when it is time for them to take any medication that they need.
- Making sure that other people do not get too close to their owners.
- Ensuring that their owners have a seat in case they are about to faint.
- Leading their owners to an exit or a quiet place in case they are overwhelmed by anxiety.
- Through the use of a special rescue phone, calling 911 for help in case their owners need any.
- Bracing their owners physically when they are disoriented or become dizzy.
When performing any of these tasks, people should avoid approaching service dogs even though their owners find it easy to talk to other people when they have the dogs with them.
However, other people are allowed by law to ask service dog owners if they require the service dogs due to a disability and the kind of training that the dog has received. The dog owners can answer any other questions apart from these two if they are free to or when they are ready.
In conclusion, if you would like to get a service dog, you first need to speak with a health professional or a doctor to see if you are suffering from anxiety or health problems related to anxiety.
You should also have the financial muscles to take care of the dog and improve its lifestyle with supplements like CBD as well as pay for it since they are not given for free. You can also consider having your dog trained since the initial acquisition cost of a service dog is quite high.