How Can I Prepare My Dog to Serve as an Emotional Support Animal?

How Can I Prepare My Dog to Serve as an Emotional Support Animal?
2 min read
28 December 2023

While emotional support dogs don't require formal training like service dogs, there are ways to help your dog handle various situations and support you better.

If you're considering adopting a dog as your ESA, selecting a puppy might be advantageous due to their ease of training. However, it's possible to train an adult dog for this role with the right techniques and planning. Teaching your dog basic obedience commands and specific skills can be beneficial:

  1. Training Recall: Teach your dog to come when called by using positive reinforcement. Call their name and offer treats and praise when they respond. Consistency and positivity will reinforce this behaviour.

  2. Bite Inhibition: Puppies tend to nip or bite during their growth stages. Discourage this behaviour by vocalizing a yelp or ignoring it when it bites. Consistency in your response helps them understand boundaries.

  3. Teaching Sit or Stay: Commands like "sit" or "stay" can aid in controlling your dog, especially when guests visit. Encourage this behaviour with treats and gradually increase the duration of the command before rewarding them.

  4. Socialization: Expose your dog to various environments, people, and other dogs early on to build confidence and familiarity. This helps in shaping a polite and well-mannered dog outside the home.

  5. Bathroom Training: Establishing clear bathroom rules is crucial. Set consistent times for walks to reinforce where and when they should relieve themselves.

  6. Training for Alone Time: Help your dog adapt to being alone gradually by using a crate or exercise pen. Offer toys and food to keep them occupied. Reward calm behaviour when alone and slowly increase the duration of separation.

Training your dog for emotional support doesn't have strict guidelines like service dog training, but these basic commands and behaviours can enhance their ability to support you emotionally. Always approach training with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement.

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Josaph Lara 2
I'm a pet lover with two dogs and one cat. When I'm free, I love to create content related to pet care.
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