Austin PTSD Dog Training
A service dog can transform a person’s life. We’ve been privileged to see how special this bond can be between a working dog and their handler. Please learn more about our program below and feel free to contact us with any questions.
“Austin Dog Zone has helped save my life. That may sound dramatic, but it’s true.
I approached ADZ when I decided to look into getting a service dog. I have multiple psychiatric disorders, including PTSD. My quality of life had been going downhill fast. I couldn’t work, and I had terrible agoraphobia which prevented me from doing simple things like going to the grocery store. As a single woman, I didn’t have anyone to help me on a daily basis.
I initially emailed Laura after looking at the ADZ website. I can’t tell you how remarkable she has been. Laura listened to my problems and answered all my questions with patience and understanding. I decided to go ahead and start the process. I was a bit terrified, having never had a dog, but reassurance from Laura helped make me comfortable. ADZ started the process of finding a suitable service dog for me. As they initially stated, it took several weeks for them to find the right match. I was in the bathtub one night when my phone rang. It was Laura telling me they had found the perfect dog! I cried and cried. The next morning, Caitlin brought my dear Kincaid to my apartment. I don’t think I have ever been that happy and relieved.
Caitlin is the most amazing trainer. She has turned my wonderful boy from a stray- with not much interest in following commands- into a real service dog who loves his work. Kincaid ADORES her. He gets so incredibly happy when he sees her coming for our training sessions. Her patience and experience in training comes through at every session. Kincaid has come SO far in such a short period of time. Kincaid now helps me go to the store and other errands, he catches me when I fall, brings me back to the present when I am in a bad place and best of all…. we just got a new job!!!!!!!! I could go on and on, but I’ll just say that ADZ not only changed my life, but also the life of a stray who now has a forever home and a job to do. We couldn’t thank them enough!”–Leigh
What is PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood.
These feelings of anxiety, confusion, fear and anger may not go away and can directly interfere with a person’s daily life and activities.
PTSD Service Dog Training
A trained service dog can provide a sense of security and independence for a person with PTSD. They are trained to provide comfort, reduce anxiety and are able to assist in a medical crisis.
- help adjust serotonin levels
- help lower blood pressure with episodes of depression and anxiety
- provide companionship
- provide medication reminders
- calm their handler before and during panic attacks
- prevent people from crowding around or rushing up on their handler
How does your program work?
Our program is different than other service dog training programs. We do not have a wait list. We do not begin the search for your future dog until we interview and learn about your lifestyle and skills a dog needs to help you with, it is a not a “cookie cutter” approach where we send you the dog, give you a few sessions and you are on your own. We offer much more support, enabling you to become the trainer for a minimum of three months of training together, once approved into our program. It empowers our clients and we have been privileged to see amazing transformations with these handler and dog matches.
First, we have an initial, free consultation with you by phone or email. It is important that the person suffering from PTSD is fully committed to their service dog candidate we find and choose for them. This typically requires a minimum of training for 3-6 months or more with one of our certified trainers, twice a week. The dog is living with their handler after the match is found. Our time together is dependent on the progress of the client and their handling skills with their new partner. Our goal is to make each match as successful as possible and that is a team effort from all participants. This has been extremely successful in creating the proper bond needed to move forward as a team on your own into the future. **If you cannot or will not commit to the required training time frame, we are not the program for you. We do not have a ‘one size fits all’ training protocol for service work and train each dog to fit each person’s specific, individual needs. Clients must provide references that they are able to care for a dog and also fully engage in the training sessions before being accepted into the program.**
Can I have my current dog trained to be my service dog?
Yes, sometimes a pet dog can become a working animal with the right training. We have successfully completed this process and have seen good results in the right circumstances. However, we require an evaluation of the dog’s temperament and abilities prior to starting. Temperament is crucial. Most pet dogs will not be able to successfully do this work for their handler at no fault of their own. Pet dogs often have some sort of “quirk” that may include: shyness, reactivity, fearfulness, aggression towards specific animals, over arousal issues and more. They often can be great pets but do not have what it takes to be a working dog. And that’s ok. 🙂 If you are interested in seeing if your current pet dog may be a candidate, we can start with an evaluation. Please inquire for more details.
Where do you find a match?
We partner up with local rescues and shelters in Austin and also have reputable breeder connections for young, adult dogs. We typically search for dogs that are medium to large in size with excellent temperaments. The breeds we have chosen successfully in the past include: German Shepherds, Shepherd mixes, Labs, and All-American mutts that have successfully fit our requirements. Breed(s) of dog is not the priority in our search, but temperament is the number one factor. Finding the right match for you is the most crucial, challenging part of this process. Dogs are heavily screened, taken through Public Access work and have a foundation of training before matching.
Interested in learning more? Please Email, or call, 512.537.2364 for details.