PTSD Assistance Dogs

A PTSD assistance dog is trained to assist people who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; an anxiety disorder which occurs to children and adults after a serious traumatic episode or scary event. (Life threatening event of a person or a group sexual or physical abuse/assault, "war, soldiers, veterans" loss or death of a loving person, fire, tornado hurricane, or earthquake).

Children and adults dealing with PTSD may have unpleasant and scary memories. They often suffer from:

• flashbacks
• revival of traumatic events
• nightmares
• avoidance of places (public or other places)
• people
• events which remind the traumatic event
• fear of death
• difficulties thinking
• problems breathing
• anger
• panic attacks
• muscular pains
• sweating
• tachycardia
• headaches etc.

The Nina Service Dogs organization can create a customized PTSD assistance/service dog for those who suffer from PTSD. Due to the fact that we work mostly with children or veterans, if we have PTSD assistance dog requests for teenagers or adults, we will only train and provide a service dog to those who will for all intents and purposes never be independent and function more like children. This means that the certified service dog team will consists of the service dog, the partner (person-child with disability) obligatorily and strictly under adult control.

A PTSD assistance dog helps those who suffer from anxiety disorder and provide them with a feeling of security and calmness, help them with depression episodes, provide companionship, help them in their every day life and with their socialization barriers. PTSD dogs can be trained to behavioral disruption and interruption. Parents with children who are dealing with behavioral and emotional issues, who are in danger of injuring themselves or have panic attacks and meltdowns can use a special set of commands, send the dog to interact with their child and disrupt or interrupt the unwanted behavior. Parents with children who have nightmares and are afraid to sleep by themselves, can also find a PTSD dog beneficial if the dog is able to alert them during the night in case the child is having a panic attack or nightmare.  Because anxiety disorders may be in combination with other disabilities such as mobility disability, we can train the dog as a multipurpose dog to help them with both. 

Dogs are able to recognise chemical changes that occur in a human's body during a panic attack or even before that. They are also able to recognize signs of the upcoming panic attack in their partners body language. The interaction with the children or adults who suffers from PTSD will help the dog recognize the scent changes in their partner's body.

A PTSD assistance dog is specifically trained to their partner’s personal needs, based on their medical condition and this is why the training tasks may vary.

PTSD Veteran Assistance Dog

PTSD Veteran Assistance Dog can help a veteran in many ways. Other organizations which provide service dogs to veterans help veterans with disabilities such as brain injuries and loss of sight. The Nina Service Dogs organization assist veterans with mobility problems or hearing loss resulting from combat injuries. Other disabilities may be:

• Loss of a limb
• Balance issues
• Spinal or other injury.

Dogs who assist veterans can help them:

• Stand and brace
• Turn lights on and off
• Open doors
• Push buttons
• Retrieve dropped items or a phone in an emergency
• Pay at a cashier
• Carry items in a backpack
• Hearing ear-signal work and other skills that may help the individual.
*(Post traumatic stress disorder, stress, anxiety, Veteran assistance dogs)
Elena Palagka, Nina Service Dogs