Susan W asked in HealthMental Health · 10 years ago

How would a service dog help a person with panic attacks?

I read yesterday that service dogs are used to help people with panic attacks, but I'm not sure how. If anyone knows, I'd love to hear the answer. Thank you.

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  • 10 years ago
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    That would depend on how the panic attacks affect the person's ability to perform major life activities. Service dogs don't come off the shelf based on diagnosis, but are individually trained for specific needs.

    In order to qualify, it must be a condition severe enough to qualify as a disability. Most people with a mental disorder (including panic attacks) will not be disabled by their condition. Approximately one in four are. They are disabled when the condition has a significant impact on a person's ability to perform major life activities, such as seeing, hearing, breathing, thinking, learning, walking or using their hands.

    Whichever major life activities are substantially limited by the condition are what the dog is trained to mitigate. So if a person can't see because of their condition, the dog might be trained to guide them around obstacles. If the person can't hear, the dog can be trained to signal for certain sounds, and so on.

    What a service dog for a person disabled by mental illness is trained to do is as individual as the person themselves.

    Please note that, "Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being are not service animals." (from the U.S. Department of Justice, which administers the ADA). So being there to comfort the person would not qualify a dog as a service dog. The dog must be trained to actually do something the person cannot do for themselves.

    Source(s): I'm a service dog trainer.
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  • 10 years ago

    Stephen....you are incorrect. Service dogs are for anyone who meets the ADA definition of disabled. The disability does not matter. There are many types of service animals, including: guide dogs, hearing alert dogs, medical alert dogs, medical response dogs, autism support dogs, psychiatric service dogs, mobility dogs.

    Most people with a psychiatric condition are not legally disabled by it, but many are. A PSD for a person with a disabling panic condition may alert the person to an oncoming panic attack. Many times, a person experiencing a panic attack isn't aware that its coming on until its too late, but a dog can be trained to pick up on changes that precede the attack such as tachycardia, sweating, clinching, etc... The dog can also be trained to find an exit to take the person out of the situation. Also, they can go get help if need be. They can remind the person to take their medication and retrieve the medication if necessary. There are other things that PSDs do, but these are some of the most common examples.

    Source(s): I am a disabled handler of an owner trained medical alert dog with several friends who have psychiatric service dogs.
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  • 10 years ago

    Service dogs can definitely help with panic attacks! Imagine terrified, heart pounding, and unable to hardly breath. That service dog would be like panic disorder therapy. Nudging the owner until she or he felt like they were in a familiar, safe environment. The dog could even seek medical help for the owner. Which is of course a huge help!

    If you or someone in your family is suffering from panic disorder attacks or anxiety, then you need to find a solution. Why live everyday as less than yourself, confused and wondering it will ever end. Panic attacks are definitely treatable but only if you know the right steps to take. But the advice not be something everyone wants to hear or do. It is only for people who truly want to cure there panic attacks.

    You can learn more about panic attacks here http://cure-panic-disorder-attacks.com/download

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  • 5 years ago

    I started having panic attacks and I told my dr. that my dog was causing them. She lays across my feet right before I have a panic attack. I was so upset that I was going to have to get rid of her. My Dr. (Psychiatrist) chuckled and asked me to explain further. When I did she told me was more likely the dog was warning me that an attach was coming on. I also could not go into any situation that might get crowed or noisy. I took her for training and she now leads me out of a store or any situation necessary and can actually lead me to my van. She has also woke me up during an anxiety attach I was having. She will also retrieve my purse for my medication during an attack. II was told that she can tell by physical things that happen to me.

    She is considered a Service Dog.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Find what motivates your dog. Some dogs do anything for food. Some dogs do anything for Toys. Some do anything for a good petting. Some do anything for only one type of food, like cheese, or hotdog. Some only have interest in training for 5 minutes at a time, and others can go for an hour. Figure out what your dog is willing to work for, and then work with her in sessions that are no longer than she can tolerate. How to train your dog properly https://tr.im/0U29A

    Sign up for a dog obedience training class. It will not train your dog. It will give you training on how you can train your dog. Most people understand the idea of training, but there is a right and a wrong way to do it, and there is good and bad technique. Timing and consistency is very important, and it helps to have feedback of someone watching you who can help you improve your technique to get more efficient results with your dog.

    However, she may be somewhat anxious around other dogs, sort of like the shy kid on the playground. She will benefit from continuing what you are doing as far as asking her to sit before entering, but there are more things along those lines that will help her to calmly go in and out of the dog park. She may also benefit from going in short bursts, or only when fewer dogs are present, or avoiding times when other dogs that make her nervous are present. Maybe she just plays loud - my brother's dog is this way - or maybe she is a dogpark bully - sorry it is possible. But more likely she is just a little anxious around new dogs and she wants to play but just doesn't quite know how to do that and still feel comfortable. Don't be surprised if your dog does not actually like the dog park, and maybe she would get more enjoyment and less stress out of simply going for a good walk somewhere else.

    A wagging tail does not mean that your dog is happy or even comfortable with the situation. It means your dog is emotionally aroused. This could be a happy arousal, or it could be a nervous arousal, or it could be an aggressive arousal. Go youtube it, there are plenty of videos of 'vicious' dogs who are throwing a very aggressive fit of barking and snarling while their tail is wagging vigorously. Even police dogs who are not let off the leash to chase down a suspect can be lunging and barking and snarling, and their tails are still going.

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  • Nancy
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I think you need to actually be diagnosed by a doctor and go through those channels to see if you actually qualify for a service dog. It's a lengthy process. You don't decide that on your own and then just pick one up.

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  • 5 years ago

    were do I get a sevice dog I am 31 years old

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  • 10 years ago

    maybe a therapy dog

    don't know what a service dog could do

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  • 10 years ago

    Service dogs are legally only addressed for the needs of people who are legally blind. That means you couldn't take your pooch into a federal building or anywhere for that matter, except for a walk until the law provides such provisions for a service dog to accompany people with panic attacks, which would be considered a case precedent for that to occur.

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