When several military officers and veterans come back from war, more than 5 – 20% are known to suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can arise in people who have experienced and witnessed a stressful or traumatic event sometime during their life. Having PTSD can also result in negative and unhealthy emotions and habits such as smoking, drinking, drug misuse, etc. There are no obvious solutions that can help. In fact, more than 40% of veterans who have PTSD deny and refuse to seek treatment from professionals. Still, a recent technique that is inexpensive and simple has continued to change the lives of suffering veterans. This solution comes with four paws, a moist nose and years’ worth of experience training: a service dog.
Lowering PTSD Four Paws at A Time
Veterans who own a service dog are said to report lower levels of depression, anger and anxiety according to research. There are several heroes out there with two legs, but some also have four. For veterans, a specialised and hard-working dog might be their greatest joy in life. These dogs are not only experienced in help veterans but also assisting in being a friend, partner and pet. Service dogs are usually trained to help reduce things like suicidal thoughts going through a veteran’s head. Medical bills that might consist of medication and psychiatric costs, mental breakdowns due to a build-up of stressful emotions or feelings and drug misuses, resulting in an unhealthy habit or an overdose (OD). These dogs have specially been trained for several years to help veterans that have PTSD. They show significant amounts of emotional support towards their owner.
The Characteristics of A Service Dog
Just like marines, soldiers and sailors, these dogs have a job that they were trained to do. Service dogs undergo intense training for 16-20 weeks at a stretch. They learn commands such as Watch Me (dog looks at you), Sit (dog sits), Down (lies down), Stand (stand on four legs), Come (come to you and sit), Wait (Stop moving Forwards), Release (Done working), etc. These dogs will always remain calm unless commanded by veterans otherwise. Finding the perfect match for a veteran sometimes can be very difficult as it involves extensive testing and behavioural changes.
They help in establishing routines and schedules through their walking and feeding times. There are two primary requirements that every veteran must have to own a service dog – The veteran must have a diagnosed disability or medical condition, and the veteran must only own a dog that has obtained the correct training, one that would work to lessen the effects of the veteran’s condition. The law allows a choice for veterans to self-train their own dogs. There is no necessary paperwork needed for service dogs. However, the basic behavioural and training skills need to be met before the dog can be allowed public. Typically a doctor’s certificate and proof of military service should be provided to the organisation that trains service dogs. There might or might not be a cost for the service dog. For several veterans, life after service dogs is majorly different from their life before. They enjoy things like family, hobbies and activities that bring them great joy.