We have recently surveyed many of the hotels in our chain and found an increase in service dogs that stay overall. We thought this a perfect opportunity to look at service dogs and note some of the fine folks that help bring service dogs to our disabled heroes.
The Benefits of a PTSD Service Dog
Service dogs have already made a huge impact on people with different disabilities and disorders. Veterans, especially those from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars of the recent past, are discovering just how impactful PTSD service dogs can be. As it turns out, service dogs trained specifically for PTSD can be real lifesavers. Though veterans are certainly not the only ones diagnosed with PTSD, they do make up the majority of PTSD cases, especially in the United States. The experiences of veterans are not universal amongst the traumatized, but there are a slew of symptoms that service dogs have been trained to alleviate, thus aiding with veterans’ recovery.
What Can a PTSD Service Dog Do to Aid Recovery?
Everyone knows that animals, particularly dogs, have the ability to soothe an aching soul, but there are many benefits to utilizing service dogs for veterans that might be a little less intuitive. Many veterans with PTSD are withdrawn and isolated, but working with these dogs helps them emerge from their shells a bit. Bestowing praise upon the dogs, giving commands, and rewarding positive behaviors all help veterans break away from their debilitating apathy while giving them ways to communicate in an assertive and distinctly non-aggressive manner. From a strictly biological perspective, interacting with dogs in this way can actually increase the level of oxytocin in the body, leading individuals suffering from PTSD to overcome many of their more socially-related symptoms.
How Are Service Dogs for Veterans Trained?
Just because dogs inspire feelings of love and companionship doesn’t mean that’s all there is to it. Service dogs are trained in a variety of ways to specifically help people with PTSD who have tasks that they cannot necessarily accomplish. Veterans with PTSD often suffer from nightmares and anxiety, both of which service dogs can drastically impact. PTSD service dogs are trained to wake up an individual who is incurring a nightmare, and they have specific soothing behaviors for aiding with emotional distress. Beyond that, a PTSD service dog can enable the veteran to participate in otherwise incompatible events, like social outings, grocery runs, and similar circumstances that might trigger debilitating PTSD symptoms. Dogs have also been trained to help with disassociation, which a less common but more impactful symptom of PTSD. Disassociation can be incredibly debilitating in certain cases. Service dogs for veterans have training for a great deal of different symptoms.