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Training Your Service Dog for Anxiety: Steps to Follow

Anxiety disorders are some of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. Millions of people suffer from severe anxiety every year. Thankfully, we’ve recently discovered that trained service dogs can provide a lot of comfort and relief for those who experience regular anxiety or panic attacks. If you believe that you can benefit from having an emotional support dog to help ease your anxiety, you’ve come to the right place! Below is a brief step-by-step guide to help you choose and train your emotional support dog and receive a registered emotional support dog letter.

#1 Choosing the Right Dog for You

You may be a lover of all dog breeds, but there are particular breeds out there that are better fit for comfort and support. It’ll all come down to a dog’s temperament, which is basically a combination of his personality, instinctual behavior, and natural ability to follow instructions. This means that you may want to avoid breeds that are more aggressive or hyper. Experts recommend looking for dogs that are social, alert, focused, and don’t become easily startled. When you meet a new puppy, you’ll most likely know right away if it’s the right service dog for you!

#2 Begin the Bonding Process

It’s important for you and your dog to get to know each other while he’s still a youthful pup! He needs to understand your behavior and personality just as much as you need to understand his. When you start to bond, you can begin to lay the groundwork for his job, which is to detect your rising anxiety levels. The more time you spend together, the more he’ll start to understand this and be able to detect the difference between your relaxed state and your anxious state.

#3 Begin Basic Training

Remember that your service dog will be able to accompany you in public places, so it’s incredibly important for him to be properly trained. He should be able to follow basic commands such as sit, stay, lay down, heel, and come. It’s common for this to be a bit difficult for dog owners, especially if they’ve never trained a dog before. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional dog trainer to help guide you through the basic training process.

#4 Begin Anxiety Response Training

Once you and your dog have had time to bond and perfect basic commands, you can start to target his response to your anxiety. You can do this in a number of different ways, such as cuddling him when anxiety hits or giving him a treat when you feel anxious. He’ll naturally start to pick up on the change in your energy and begin to understand that he should remain close when you’re experiencing anxiety.

#5 Register Your Service Dog

Once you feel your dog is prepared to be an official emotional support dog or service dog, then it’s time to get him registered! Our website has all the information you need to properly register your dog and receive your emotional support dog letter. We also provide therapist referrals, information on housing rights, and even emotional support products for your pup!

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What Dogs Make the Best Service Dogs: An In-Depth Analysis

Service dogs are becoming more common and accepted nowadays. It’s clear that a service dog can offer physical, mental, and emotional support throughout your day. If you’ve been thinking about getting a service dog, it’s important to find the right breed to give you the support that you need. But with all of the different breeds out there, how do you decide what kind of dog would be the right service dog for you? It’s essential to take your time and do your research when it comes to choosing the right service dog. Choosing the wrong kind of dog can be a waste of time and money. It can also be emotionally taxing to attempt to train a dog that’s not the right fit. Here’s an in-depth analysis explaining how to find the right furry pal for you.

Reflect on Your Own Needs

When attempting to find the right service dog for you, it’s important to reflect on what it is that you want out of a service dog. For instance, if you’re facing physical challenges and you don’t feel comfortable leaving the house without some sort of assistance, a bigger breed could be right for you. Larger breeds, like Golden Retrievers or German Shepherds, can offer strength and balance when navigating your neighborhood. If you’re looking for an emotional support dog that can sense anxiety and offer you a sense of calm, be sure to look for breeds that have a gentle temperament. What’s most important at this stage is to know how a service dog can help you personally.

Consider Your Environment and Lifestyle

Once you’re aware of the goals you have with a service dog, then you can start to narrow down your search. Next, it’s important to take your environment and lifestyle into consideration. This can help you to choose the right size dog and one that fits well in your climate. For instance, if you live in a warm climate that’s hot most of the year, it’s important to find a breed that can handle the heat. If your dog is consistently uncomfortable, he or she may not make the best support companion. Also, take your lifestyle into consideration. If you travel often, dogs under 25 pounds are the most convenient to keep by your side when you’re on the go.

Match Your Energy Levels

Remember that different breeds have different energy levels. This is one common mistake that many people make when choosing a support dog. It takes time and energy to train a dog. If a dog is hyper, training stages require more time and energy than you may think. If you want an intelligent dog to help with daily tasks, Border Collies could be an excellent choice. However, it’s important to know that Border Collies also require a lot of attention and exercise. If you suffer from fatigue or other disabilities that keep you stationary, a high-energy dog could end up causing more stress in your life. Before you complete service dog registration, speak to the experts at places like the National Service Animal Registry to explore your options and assure yourself you’ve made the right choice. Contact a representative today!

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How to Make Your Dog an Emotional Support Animal

Animals provide a number of therapeutic benefits for people, from improving their moods to alleviating anxiety. You don’t, however, necessarily need to purchase a specially trained emotional support animal (ESA); you can train your dog to be an ESA and receive all of the same benefits. Making your dog an emotional support animal may actually be easier than most people think it is. Keep reading to learn what you need to do to make your dog an ESA.

Learn What an Emotional Support Animal Is

Emotional support animals are animals that provide comfort and support to people with emotional or mental needs and disabilities. An ESA can be any species of animal, but dogs are among the most common. According to federal law, these animals do not need to have any kind of specialized training. However, they must be well-behaved while in public and around other people. ESAs must be under the handler’s control at all times, too.

Qualify for and Obtain an ESA Letter

Because there is no unique training for emotional support dogs, any pet with the right temperament can qualify as an emotional support animal. To get your current dog recognized as an emotional support animal, you will need to obtain an ESA letter. This is a letter from a mental health professional that states that your dog provides you with the support you need to lead a normal life. ESA letters must also be written on the mental health professional’s letterhead, have their signature, and be dated no later than a year from the ESA approval. National Service Animal Registry is the original and most trusted and referred online provider of ESA prescription letters in the United States, equipped with an extensive network of experienced licensed therapists across the nation who specialize in ESA assessments.Get an ESA Letter

Train Your Dog

Though there is no special training for support dogs, you will need to make sure your dog behaves at all times. Your pups must be friendly and social toward people and other animals anytime you are in public. If your dog does not currently have these skills, it is a good idea to seek help from a professional dog trainer. They can help your dog to stop their inappropriate behavior like excessive barking, jumping on people, and being generally badly behaved. Take some time to find the best dog trainer in your area. Try to find one who has trained emotional support animals in the past and has a proven track record for success. For recommendations, talk to your vet, mental health professional, and other dog owners that you are friendly with.

Register Your Dog

Though it is not a legal requirement, registering your dog as an emotional support animal can provide a few benefits. It adds legitimacy to your ESA, makes them look official, and helps to eliminate any confrontation that you may get when in public with your pet. Register an ESA dog to make life a little bit easier.

To learn more about emotional support animals and to register your dog, contact us at the National Service Animal Registry.

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The Many Benefits of Having an Emotional Support Animal

Emotional support animals (ESAs) are pets (usually dogs and cats) who provide vital assistance to people suffering from a mental illness. While it’s become increasingly acceptable in recent years to talk openly about the struggles of living with a mental illness, not everyone who could qualify for an ESA is taking advantage of the life-changing difference living with an ESA can make. To qualify for an ESA, pet owners need to have a letter from a mental health professional verifying that they’re living with a disability, so there is a process you have to go through in order to have your pet registered as an emotional support animal. Tags can denote your pet’s status, and there are certification costs, but the benefits associated with ESAs far outweigh the cost and effort.

Reducing Stress

One of the principal benefits from living with an ESA is the impact they have on lowering stress levels. If you suffer from anxiety, having your pet present with you in public spaces will diminish the feelings of alienation you may feel. Time spent with your pet releases endorphins which make it easier for you to cope with anxiety, and the mere act of petting your ESA produces a calming feeling that helps you deal with stressful situations.

Increasing Socialization

Dogs are perfect ice breakers. If you feel nervous around strangers and crowds, your ESA will make it easier to engage in conversations in a positive way. Having a pet you can take anywhere encourages you to get out more and go for long walks where you can expect to meet and interact with other people and their pets. This offers the positive reinforcement from meeting and talking to people you might not get without an ESA.

Greater Responsibility Brings Fulfillment

When you’re taking care of a pet, you transfer your attention from yourself to another living being. If you’re afraid of flying for instance, it can be tremendously helpful to comfort your pet and give them the kind of support that someone might give you. Feeding and caring for your ESA helps divert your thoughts away from things that might be troubling you and offers a sense of satisfaction from knowing the love you give your ESA is returned to you tenfold.

Keeping You in the Present

If you tend to dwell on your own insecurities and problems that upset you, ESAs force you concentrate on the moment at hand. Dogs and cats don’t fixate on issues affecting them in the past or future; they’re always present in the now. This is one of the most instructive things about pets. When you’re with them, petting them and talking to them, you’re as present in the moment as they are and less likely to focus on negative thoughts and fears.

If you would like to take advantage of the benefits offered by emotional support animals, contact the National Service Animal Registry. We’ve been providing people with emotional support animal certification since 1995. To certify your ESA, visit our certification page or give us a call at (866) 737-3930. Get your pet registered today!

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Can Cats Be Emotional Support Animals?

Dogs perform a number of jobs in society, including acting as service dogs for many individuals who are deaf, blind, autistic, physically disabled, or otherwise in need of assistance. Dogs are incredibly adept at learning to perform the tasks needed to be a fully certified service animal. But what about emotional support animals? These animals are not required to receive specialized training or to perform specific tasks, so does that mean you can have a different type of ESA animal, like a cat? Or are you limited to only an ESA support dog? Keep reading to find out.

Any Animal Can Be an ESA

The short answer here is yes, a cat can be an emotional support animal. In fact, any animal can be considered an ESA, so long as it provides you with comfort and relief from a mental, physical, or emotional struggle. Many people find their pets to be a comfort in times of difficulty, but for those with persistent anxiety, depression, or even chronic pain, that pet becomes a necessity.

So, if you have a cat that helps to relieve your mental health complications and enables you to live a happier and more fulfilling life, then that cat is qualified to be an emotional support animal.

Not Everyone Is a Dog Person

Not everybody likes dogs. In fact, some people have a deep fear of dogs. This is why it is so important for people to have more than one option when it comes to owning an emotional support animal. Far too many people who genuinely need an ESA will put off getting one because they believe it must be a dog. Once they discover that a cat or other pet can also qualify for ESA registration, they are quick to find a pet that offers them the support that they need.

Benefits of a Support Cat

While any animal can be an ESA, dogs and cats are the two most common options that people choose. In addition to being an excellent option for individuals who may not be entirely comfortable with dogs, having an emotional support cat offers a number of other benefits over their more energetic counterparts.

While dogs are excellent companions, they do require quite a bit more work to care for than cats do. Dogs need to be walked daily, and even lower-energy breeds need regular play and exercise. Cats, on the other hand, are masters at caring for themselves. While they can be loving and playful members of the family, their lower maintenance needs make them a better option for those who simply don’t have the energy to give a dog the care they require.

How Can an ESA Help You?

Emotional support animals can be a great source of relief for many individuals and even be included as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for a number of conditions. ESAs-including dogs, cats, and many other types of animals-help to provide the following benefits to their owners:

  • Relief from anxiety
  • Reduced feelings of depression
  • Coping with PTSD
  • Helping with ADD

Anxiety and depression are the two most common uses for ESAs, and the animal does not have to be a dog to provide relief for those conditions. The presence of a warm, purring, loving cat can be equally relaxing to those who suffer from anxiety or depression.

Registering an ESA

Registering an ESA is a quick and effortless process. However, it’s important to remember that certifying your animal as an ESA is intended only for those who genuinely suffer from mental or emotional health issues. You can register your cat or another animal online on our website in a matter of minutes. Reach out to us if you have any questions about the registration process.

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How an ESA Letter for Your Pet Helps in Managing Anxiety

The number of people with anxiety has significantly increased in the United States, and each person copes with and treats their anxiety differently. If you’re searching for ways to help you with your anxiety, you might want to consider getting an ESA letter for your pet and registering them for emotional support animal certification. How can an ESA letter help with your anxiety? Keep reading to find out.

Official ESA Status for Your Pet

The primary purpose of an ESA letter is to give your pet official ESA status. This lets people know that your animal companion is more than a pet, and having an ESA gives you certain privileges, such as traveling with your ESA without paying pet fares and living with your ESA in any housing without paying pet fees. This allows you to keep the comforting presence of your pet at your side more often, helping you to manage your anxiety more consistently.

Reduce Worry about Pushback

Unfortunately, there’s still a certain stigma about emotional support animals. Many people view them as frivolous and unnecessary and may even think that you’re just claiming your pet is an emotional support animal to avoid additional fees or for the sake of convenience. For people with anxiety, the fear of encountering this pushback (especially when traveling with their ESA) can actually worsen their symptoms of anxiety.

Having an official letter with you can reduce these worries because you know that you have official evidence from a certified medical professional of your ESA’s importance in helping with your medical condition. When you’re able to produce an ESA letter from your doctor and an official certificate of your animal’s status, you won’t receive pushback, and you can continue on your way without additional anxiety about someone trying to separate you and your ESA.

Avoid Separation Anxiety

If you rely on your pet to help calm your feelings of anxiety, being separated from them can be very stressful. When traveling with a pet, you aren’t guaranteed that your pet will be in the cabin with you. They may be placed under the plane, and if they are with you, you likely will have to keep them in a carrier. This separation can cause a lot of stress for those already dealing with anxiety.

When you have an ESA letter, your pet is allowed to stay with you at all times. You no longer have to deal with prolonged feelings of separation anxiety if you and your pet aren’t permitted to be together while traveling; your pet will instead be considered an essential medical treatment for you, and you’ll be allowed to hold them in your lap when traveling.

Reduce Financial Stresses

Money can be a point of worry for anyone, but for those with serious anxiety, financial stress can significantly increase already existing symptoms. A large and sudden expense can cause someone who is managing their anxiety to experience a panic attack, for example. And this is precisely the kind of thing that happens when trying to travel with or live with an animal that is not an ESA. Airlines, apartments, and other entities frequently charge fees if you want to have an animal with you – if they allow it at all – and these expenses can put a lot of strain on you if your finances are already tight.

An ESA letter and certification require one-time fees that you can easily plan for. Then, you no longer have to worry about paying pet fare on airlines or pet fees for housing. This takes some strain off your finances, potentially removing a trigger for your anxiety.

If you want to register your pet as an ESA, contact the National Service Animal Registry. We can provide you with more information, help you with registration, and even help you find an emotional support animal vest for your newly minted ESA companion.

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What Can a Service Dog Do for Anxiety: Everything You Need to Know

Millions of people suffer every day from anxiety. Generalized anxiety disorders, high-stress work environments, and different forms of social stressors can present a lot of problems in our daily lives. Thankfully, service dogs have proven to be incredibly helpful for those dealing with anxiety. This goes way beyond a cute smile and a cuddle from your favorite pup. Service dogs can actually provide a lot of support and relief. Here are some amazing ways service dogs can help you or someone you know in a stressful situation.

Detecting Signs of Anxiety

One of the most amazing things about trained service dogs is their ability to detect an anxiety attack before it happens. If your anxiety tends to creep up on you in certain situations, your service dog can alert you when an anxiety attack is coming on. If your service dog detects rising anxiety levels, you can leave the scene and find a safe and calming space for yourself to recover. Service dogs can help you to stop an anxiety attack before it becomes a debilitating situation.

Lead You to Safety

Service dogs can also lead you to a safe place or alert another person for help. For many people, anxiety can become so overwhelming that it’s hard to find an exit, ask for help, or even find a safe place to sit down. Service dogs are trained to get you out of an uncomfortable situation and lead you to safety.

Stop Others from Coming Too Close

Many people suffer from social phobias that can make them feel highly anxious when out in public or in crowded areas. Having a service dog can create that space between you and the public so you don’t feel suffocated or overwhelmed. A service dog can be trained to stop others from coming too close to you. Service dogs are trained not to react in a vicious or aggressive way. They will simply create a strong presence to protect you from elements that might raise your anxiety levels.

Bring You Medication

Service dogs can also bring people medication when their anxiety symptoms appear. They can act as a reminder to take daily medication, or they can be trained to get medication for you if you’re physically unable to get it yourself. Anxiety can be a paralyzing experience for some individuals. If you are in constant need of help with medications for your anxiety, a service dog can assist you.

Use Distraction to Calm You Down

While service dogs are terrific for protection, keeping up with medications, and seeking help when you need it, they’re also great friends. When your service dog detects your anxiety rising, they can actually help to calm you down by using their awesome personalities. A service dog will provide a friendly paw or a sweet kiss on the face when they know you’re feeling anxious. They have an amazing ability to distract you from the stressful situation and remind you that they’re there to protect you. With proper service dog certification, you and your service dog can conquer the world together. Contact the National Service Animal Registry to learn more about how a service dog can help you today!

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Why You Should Make your Pet an Emotional Support Animal

Do you suffer from emotional or psychological issues? Do you depend on your pet to provide comfort in stressful situations? Have you ever felt unable to cope in a public place because you didn’t have your animal friend to keep you calm?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, have you considered registering your pet as an emotional support animal?

Imagine how much easier life would be if you could be out and about with your emotional support dog, cat, or animal and not have to explain why you need them with you? Imagine having the peace of mind to know you could take them in the cabin of a plane without having to pay extra costs, or that you won’t ever have to justify them to your housing provider.

Maybe you already know that registering your pet as an emotional support animal would make a huge difference in your life, but you’re unfamiliar with or worry about the process.

We want you to know you are not alone. We have been helping people with emotional support animals for over 25 years, and we can use our knowledge and experience to guide you through the entire process. We can help you get the correct documentation, complete a lifetime registration, and even advise you about the equipment you need for your animal friend.

Registering your pet as an emotional support animal (ESA) is quick, easy, and affordable. Let’s start by outlining everything you need to know.

Ready to get started straight away? Click here to register your ESA

What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?

Although an emotional support animal often starts out as a pet (dog, cat, and other domestic animals), for people who are living with an emotional or psychological health condition, they become so much more.

Unlike service animals, ESAs are often not trained to carry out specific tasks like service animals, but they help people with mental health conditions stay calm in a situation that might otherwise be a trigger for their symptoms.

For many people living with emotional or psychological health conditions, the presence of their emotional support animal gives them the support they need to get through daily life.

People with an emotional support dog, cat or other animal sometimes have conditions such as anxiety or depression. Others have emotional problems such as relationship issues that make coping with certain situations or daily life difficult. It could also be as simple as a fear of flying or another phobia that makes going on a trip or doing something related to their phobia unthinkable if they are not accompanied by their furry companion animal.

In order for a pet to become a legally recognized emotional support dog, cat, or animal, they must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional such as a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or a therapist. This means that they are part of the treatment program for this person. Not currently working with a doctor or therapist? You should consider National Service Animal Registry’s a NO-RISK emotional support animal letter assessment.

To qualify, you must be considered emotionally disabled and have a letter from a licensed therapist to prove it. Some airlines and housing companies will accept a letter from a family doctor.

Almost all domesticated animals qualify to become an emotional support animal. The most common are dog and cats, but rabbits, mice, and rats are common too. Animals can be any age; the only requirement is they are manageable in public and don’t create a nuisance in the home.

What are the Benefits of Registering your Emotional Support Animal?

Puppy lying in a camera bag

It isn’t a legal requirement to register your emotional support animal, but there are tremendous benefits, including rights and protections.

  1. You can fly with your emotional support animal in the cabin with you without paying extra costs (The Air Carrier Access Act 49 U.S.C. 41705, Department of Transportation 14 C.F.R. Part 382)
  2. You have the right to live with your emotional support animal in housing where pets are not allowed, without being charged an extra fee (Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988)
  3. Although other public and private establishments (such as hotels, restaurants, taxis, theaters) are not legally required to let you enter with your assistance animal, many are sympathetic if the animal is registered and wears identifying patches or a vest and has an ID card.
  4. For many people, the biggest benefit is the peace of mind to know that their pet is recognized and identifiable as an assistance animal should they need to take advantage of the legal protections in the future, they are covered.

How To Register Your Emotional Support Animal

So, if believe you’d benefit from the advantages of registering your pet as an emotional support animal, you’re probably wondering how to get started. We’ve outlined the process below in three easy steps, but remember you don’t need to do it alone, you can contact us for help and advice at any stage.

Step 1: Get a Letter From a Licensed Therapist

If you don’t have a therapist or your therapist is unwilling to write an animal emotional support letter, National Service Animal Registry (NSAR) offers a NO-RISK emotional support animal letter assessment. National Service Animal Registry is the original and most trusted and referred online provider of ESA prescription letters in the United States, equipped with an extensive network of experienced licensed therapists across the nation who specialize in ESA assessments.

Step 2: Register your Emotional Support Animal
Dog sitting next to a laptop

Although you aren’t required to have your ESA letter before registering, you should register your emotional support animal and get the equipment you need to identify them when you’re out and about. If the registration process feels overwhelming, we can help. We offer three different emotional support animal kits, which we have created based on our experience to cater to people with different needs. We can help you decide which suits you best so you can be sure you make the right decision for your furry friend.

All three kits all include lifetime registration of your ESA as standard – that means you never have to register them again – plus registration in the National Service Dog Register, a frameable embossed certificate, an ESA ID card, and ID card leash clip.

Step 3: Get Out and About Easily with your Emotional Support Animal

Once your emotional support animal is registered and you have your equipment, you’re all set to get out and about together. You’ll be able to relax and have the peace of mind to know you don’t need to explain or justify having your emotional support animal with you, even when you fly. You might well be surprised about the welcome you receive in places that aren’t legally required to allow you to bring them inside, such as cafes and restaurants. And if ever you need to prove your pet is an emotional support animal to your housing provider, you’re all set!

Ready to get started? Click here to register your ESA

Registering Your Emotional Support Animal: Next Steps

We hope this article gave you all the information you need to work out whether registering your pet as an emotional support animal is right for you, and start the registration process.

If you need further help, take a look at our website: National Service Animal Registry. We’ve pulled together all the information you need to guide you through the process of registering your animal.

You can also contact us for further information. We can guide you through the process, provide help and advice about the most appropriate ESA registration kit to suit your emotional support animal and lifestyle, and provide any other help and advice you need.

We’ve helped countless people with emotional support dogs, cats, and animals over the last 25 years. We look forward to helping you too.