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Aside from being a loyal companion, dogs also serve important roles in helping humans cope with emotional and psychiatric challenges. Their presence brings joy and comfort for owners suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, and other related conditions. Also, the best dog breeds for psychiatric service dogs can be trained to perform various tasks to help humans.
What are psychiatric service dogs?
The best dog breeds for psychiatric service dogs are canines that can be attuned to their owners’ emotion. They provide company, reassurance, and emotional support to the person suffering from a psychiatric condition.
You probably saw war veterans with companion dogs. There’s a possibility that these individuals have post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. When a person encounters a trigger, psychiatric service dogs will provide physical and emotional reassurance to prevent the person from succumbing to an attack.
With this, psychiatric dogs are trained to paw, lick, and cushion their owner’s body if need be. This is to protect the person from physical and emotional harm.
Still, not all dogs are suitable for the psychiatric job. Only the smartest, trainable, and emotionally attuned breeds will make the cut.
In this video, Dr. Lauren Salvatore Farkas tells us more about the role animals, specifically, dogs, play in the healing of psychiatric patients:
5 Best Dog Breeds for Psychiatric Service Dogs
Poodles are the quintessential psychiatric dogs. This intelligent, energetic, and affectionate canine is well-attuned to their owners’ feelings. They are so loving that they can’t tolerate being left alone. This Velcro attitude makes them an ideal psychiatric dog for those with serious emotional and mental challenges.
Also, Poodle dogs are very easy to train due to their stellar brilliance. This makes them one of the top choices for therapy dogs and even service dogs. Their willingness to please their owners and become good companions is everything you’ll ever look for a psychiatric canine.
In addition, Poodles can be emotionally attuned to their owners. They can sense a change in mood and they will try to prevent potential attacks or episodes.
Moreover, Poodles shed a little, which earned them the spot for the best hypoallergenic breeds.
Havanese dogs could be small, but they have a big heart for their owners. Their outgoing personality and playful attitude help a person with a psychiatric condition to prevent triggers. And since they have a vibrant and friendly attitude, they can improve their owners stay occupied.
Also, Havanese dogs have a very regal look, pleading eyes, and a contagious smile. They are also notorious Velcro dogs that will follow you around wherever you go.
Although this breed is small, they can be a handful at times, especially the young ones. Nevertheless, they are smart dogs that are a joy to train. Also, they can thrive in an apartment setting as long as they are given enough playtime.
Havanese are sensitive dogs that will detect if their owner is having a breakdown or on the verge of an episode.
3. Labrador Retriever
Labrador Retrievers are the most famous dog breed in America both as a family pet and a working canine. Its intelligence, amiable behavior, and loyalty are one for the books. Their iconic personality makes them one of the best dog breeds for psychiatric service dogs.
Like Poodles, Labs used to be retrievers for waterfowls. They love working alongside humans and they are always eager to please their masters.
Also, Labs are highly trainable and they can be taught to suit every situation. Be it for children with autism, persons with PTSD, or individuals battling depression, these doggos will be a ray of hope.
Since Labs are large canines, their presence offers reassurance for those who need their help. They can also use their size to prevent a person from having a panic attack and other similar episodes.
4. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
These gentle doggos has nothing but love and devotion to their owners. The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is a ball of energy that will encourage their owners to stay active. And when they are not out playing, they will be at your side giving reassuring cuddles.
As a lapdog, these Spaniel canines won’t leave your side. They are so sweet and they always want to keep their owners happy.
Most dogs under this breed are calm and not usually nippy. Nevertheless, any negative behavior can be fixed since the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is intelligent and very trainable.
A big bonus here is the flowy coat that gives them an ethereal look. And even though you’re a new dog owner, this breed will suit you well. With enough playtime and proper care, these Spaniels will be with you for long.
5. German Shepherd
German Shepherds are one of the most recognizable service dog breeds. They have been in a lot of work, including sniffing bombs, saving people, tracking criminals, and other dangerous tasks. As a versatile canine, they can also be an amazing psychiatric dog.
Moreover, GSDs are one of the smartest canines. They also have guarding abilities, which makes them an all-around doggo.
With enough training, German Shepherd dogs will be keenly disciplined and focused on its job. They can be trained to interrupt unwanted behavior of their owners through pawing and licking. This helps someone with mental conditions to fight off attacks and their triggers.
Many dog experts say that GSDs have human-like intelligence. They tend to be attuned to the emotions and habits of their owners. And aside from adults, they also make great emotional support dog for children with autism.
Mental and emotional conditions are challenging, but with the best dog breeds for psychiatric service dogs, the battle becomes more bearable. Aside from offering their reassuring presence, these doggos can be trained to be your guardian. Also, they will be there to stop you from having an episode or an attack.
Still, any psychiatric dog breed requires rigorous training to become an amazing companion. Once these doggos have acquired the skills they need, they will become incomparable friends that will be your wingman on your battle.
What do you think of these breeds? Let us know below!